Saturday, January 2, 2010

Alaska Resident formerly of Saline Valley

Salt Tram history is rapidly disappearing, and we are striving to rediscover the efforts of our forefathers in order to give proper recognition to their hopes, dreams and abundant sweat from an era that is rapidly fading from our memories. We are actively seeking out information about the mining of Salt in Saline Valley between 1903 and the 1950's, including: documents, photos, articles, stories, artifacts, etc. If you can help us out, please email us at the address above - Thank-you! --Tim and Brian Waag, the Waag brothers (aka E. Clampus Waagus).
Caution (PLEASE READ): Climbing around on the tramway is dangerous because its really old and defnitely unsafe, so don't even think about it. Shoot, just getting to it requires some perilous hiking, and if you don't believe me, just take a look at the Zig Zag Access Trail (or what's left of it). Plus, climbing on it weakens it and endangers your life. Also, the Saline Valley Salt Tram is on the National Register of Historic Places and should be treated with the respect that it deserves. What little remains is of great historic value, and should not be disturbed in any way. Heck, its probably against the law to move parts of the tram around, and certainly a crime to take home some of the few bits of it that remain (though you'd have to ask your friendly local BLM agent for details). So please treat it with the respect it deserves, so that future generations can enjoy whats left, without you messing it up. Really. Please. You can see its listing on the National Register of Historic Places at these web links:
National Register of Historic Places 1          National Register of Historic Places 2

 QUESTION1: It appears that salt was "mined" from the Salt Lake of Saline Valley into the 1950's. However, from the time the Salt Tram ceased operation around 1930, a significant amount of equipment and building material has been hauled away from the Salt Tram, starting with the loading station at the Salt Lake, to the 13.5 mile tramway that rises up to the crest of the Inyos, and back down the other side, to the Discharge Station at the former shores of Owens Lake. We are looking for photos that document the "carting off" of the Salt Tram over the decades, in order to document the disappearance of these materials over time. Please help - thank you.

Somebody found me through this website. Somebody who has some special knowledge of the Salt Tram. Somebody that currently lives in Alaska, but lived in Saline Valley in the 1960's as a teenager. This Somebody explored the Saline Valley side of the Salt Tram, and we hope to find out more about what was left of the Salt Tram in the 1960s.

If you were a Salt Tram explorer in any era between the 1930s and the 1990s, we'd like to hear from you. Much has been hauled away from the Salt Tram and we'd like to have a rough idea of when that happened.

In the 1960's, they camped at CS 1 for a week in the winter, and set up housekeeping in the drive motor area, as it had a nice enclosure and shielded from the wind. Was pretty miserable for the week, and had to pack 90 pound coils of copper wire and/or armature bars down one day, and then come back up the next dy with supplies. Weighed only about 130 at the time.

The Loading Station (at the Salt Lake in Saline Valley) and the Discharge Station (near the ghost town of Swansea near the former shores of Owens Lake - now semi-dry) have almost completely disappeared.

More on this contact later.

Brian sez: "armature" bars are copper bars in the electric motor. They are what produce the magnetic field once power is applied.


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