Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Historic Salt: Inyo Register 3/11/10

Friends of the SALINE VALLEY SALT TRAM
SaltTram.blogspot.com   SalineValleySaltTram@gmail.com
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 1940'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:
http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/ca/Inyo/state.html
http://www.noehill.com/inyo/nat1974000514.asp

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Check out the INYO REGISTER

The Inyo Register of Bishop, California ran this article on March 11, 2010 by Eastern California Museum Director Jon Klusmore, former report for the paper. The article was helpful in promoting the Saturday March 13, 2010 Friends of Eastern California Museum Annual Membership Dinner (details to follow).

For more information on the meeting, see also:

March 13, 2010 Friends of ECM Meeting

Click on article so that you can read it in a larger format.



































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Presentation to the Eastern California Museum
March 13, 2010
Friends of the Saline Valley Salt Tram
Below: outline notes of slides from Tim's portion of presentation (basically, the beginning and the ending). We will provide photos to go with the slide descriptions when we can. It was requested that
we post our slide show at our website, and we shall! But for now, you get the outline.

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SLIDE 1: Saline Valley Salt Tram Research Project
(leave this slide up BEFORE presentation begins)

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SLIDE 2: Good Evening & Thanks for Inviting Us!
• we are Brian and Tim Waag
• Thank-You to ECM and Staff (Jon Klusmire, Beth Porter, Roberta, Donna)
• During our presentation, please feel free to ask questions

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SLIDE 3: Friends of Eastern California Museum
Annual Fundraiser Dinner
March 13, 2010
• basic presentation has 3 parts
•Part I – In the Beginning, there was Salt!
•Part II – Exploring the Salt Tram Route
•Part III – Conclusion, Puzzles & Questions
• hard to cram in anything of interest in an hour
• tim: 1st & 3rd part – Brian has the fun part – our 3 day hike of the salt tram route

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SLIDE 4: All Historical Photos Courtesy of the
Eastern California Museum

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SLIDE 5: The Eastern California Museum Association was Formed in 1928
• formed to: Collect, Protect and Preserve Natural and Historic features in Eastern Calif.
• that sums up our interest in the Salt Tram:
• to protect and preserve a significant piece of Eastern Calif. History: the Salt Tram
• For instance, this photo shows one of 2 Temporary Tramways built to build the Salt Tram and now long gone –but we want it’s existence preserved in history through our efforts

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SLIDE 6: What is the Salt Tram?
• The Saline Valley Salt Tram was constructed between 1911 and 1913 by the Saline Valley Salt Company, with the tramway designed by Trenton Iron Works in Trenton, New Jersey, using a patented Trenton-Bleichart tram design of the Continuous, Bicable variety with 5 independent tram sections
• Salt was collected in evaporative ponds at the Salt Lake in Saline Valley, loaded into carrier buckets, and trammed up the east side of the Inyo Mountains to the summit, then down the west side to the Discharge Station near Swansea near the shore of Owens Lake, running a grand total of 13.5 miles
• It is not the longest tram in the world, or the highest, or with the highest capacity, but it is the largest tramway in the world to start at the bottom of a major mountain range and go up to the summit and down the other side!
• One of the most impressive structures every to have been built in the greater Death Valley area

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SLIDE 7: Caution
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974
No Climbing and No Taking!
• The usual disclaimers: The existing tram structures are old and dangerous, as well as protected by law, so don’t climb on them or cart them away (enough of that has been done already)
• The Saline Valley Salt Tram was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, as a Structure with Significance in Architecture, Industry, Engineering, and Transportation, and “We Agree”!
• shown (left): parking brake for the salt tram (screw type designed to apply the brakes S-L-O-W-L-Y!
• shown (right) westside tower – still intact
• The usual disclaimers: The existing tram structures are old and dangerous, as well as protected by law, so don’t climb on them or cart them away (enough of that has been done already)
• The Saline Valley Salt Tram was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, as a Structure with Significance in Architecture, Industry, Engineering, and Transportation, and “We Agree”!

Caution (PLEASE READ): Climbing around on the tramway is dangerous because its really old and definetly 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.

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SLIDE 8: Swansea Grade in 2004
• Brian and I first encountered the Salt Tram on a 4x4 trip to the Inyos in 2004; Driving up the Swansea Grade, we encountered something unexpected: huge wood towers, surely old, but STILL towering above our rugged dirt road; Naturally, we were curious, and got out of our vehicles to investigate; little did we know that day would lead to the “Saline Valley Salt Tram Research Project”!
• We would find out that this mammoth endeavor was rich in history and the struggle of man to overcome environmental obstacles at great cost in money, time, engineering and energy

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SLIDE 9: In the Beginning, There Was Salt!
White Smith at the Conn-Trudo Borax Works
Salt Lake
• shown (Left) We don’t know if any of these men at the Salt Lake are White Smith, since we don’t yet know what he looks like! We need your help!
• shown (Right) Saline Valley and its Salt Lake full of water in the winter and spring
• In the 1880’s, Bishop Attorney White Smith began work as a teamster at the Conn-Trudo Borax Works within a stones throw of Saline Valley’s Salt Lake.

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SLIDE 10: Saline Valley Salt Company –
Early Milestones (1 of 2)
• In 1903, the Saline Valley Salt Company was incorporated in Arizona with L. Borland as President
• Mr. Borland promptly died in 1905, and SVSC came under the leadership of White Smith

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SLIDE 11: Saline Valley Salt Company –
Early Milestones (1 of 2)
• November, 1910, the first in a series of ads appeared in the Inyo Independent offering Stock for Sale
• March 1911 surveys were run and a route selected
• September, 1911, construction of the tram begins
• July, 1913, the first bucket of Salt is trammed over the Inyos
• Advertisement for Attorney of White Smith, which ran regularly in the Inyo Register

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SLIDE 12:
Salt Tram Route Survey (ASCE 1917)

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SLIDE 13:
Salt Tram – Actual Route (National Geographic Topo Software)

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SLIDE 14 - 36:
Part II: Exploring the Salt Tram Route (Brian's slides).

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SLIDE 37: Part 3 of 3: Conclusions and Questions
• San Lucas Canyon: road believed to have been built in 1926 in conjunction with the Sierra Salt Co. and Inyo County. Believe the road was open only until the 1940’s

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SLIDE 38:
The Salt Tram’s Ultimate Demise
• Delay caused by defective friction grips created a mortal wound
• Tram changed ownership multiple times (always in Financial Difficulty)
• Salt is a cheap commodity, and got cheaper during the depression
• Operation and Maintenance of the Salt Tram just too expensive

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SLIDE 39: Saline Valley Salt Tram Research Project Objectives
• Document the remains “on the ground” for the BLM archaeological GPS database
• Enhance Eastern California Museum’s Salt Tram Photo, History & Artifact set (if its not too late already)
• Identify firsthand recollections and photos that still remain
• Product: Salt Tram book
• Product: Salt Tram Research Database

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SLIDE 40: Puzzles Remaining
Research Puzzles
• 100’s of Small Puzzles (Resolving Historical Inconsistencies)
• Go-Devil Route from Summit to Control Station 2
• Locate Surviving Engineering Plans & Drawings
• Missing Photos (Tramway camp, White Smith, Discharge Station Interior, etc.)
• Identify Electricity Source
• Untangling Station Numbers
• Operation of Failed and Replacement Carrier Grips

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SLIDE 41: Puzzles Solved
Research Puzzles
Numerous Research Puzzles Solved
• Location of “Old Charcoal Road”
• Location of “Horse Camp”
• Pack train trail location on the Roadless Eastern Slope
• Dozen’s of Small Puzzles Solved

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SLIDE 42: There is more Salt Tram History Out There!
• example: Power poles from CS 1 to Salt Lake
• example: John from Keeler (Natural Soda Products Company)

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SLIDE 43:
Share or Donate Salt Tram History
…to the Eastern California Museum
• Continuing to discover Salt Tram history – You Can Help
• Photos (including later photos), Stories, Artifacts,
• Example: Henry Clifton Patterson Diary (Courtesy of Patterson Family, Bishop, Calif.)

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SLIDE 44:
Ongoing Salt Tram Research
• “On-the-Ground” Research Trip: May 2010
• www.SaltTram.blogspot.com

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SLIDE 45: Keep up phone presentation is done
• Station 14
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March 13, 2010 Meeting Report:

The meeting was well attended (see photos below), with about 120 people nearly filling up the meeting room at the local school. Our presentation lasted about an hour, with Tim doing the first 15 minutes, Brian doing the middle half hour, and Tim finishing it up and taking numerous questions from the audience. Unfortunately, the screen was small and somewhat blurry for the large crowd, but we did the best that we could. Tim ran into a problem that he had never encountered before - with my glasses on, I could read the PowerPoint slides on the screen, but not my notes, and vice-versa. That caused my to be off my game initially, but then decided to ignore the notes and follow the screen and it went better. Brian did his usual great job of his half hour of the presentation, where he detailed our 3 day end-to-end hike of the Salt Tram for our first time in October of 2006.

We were honored to have the Patterson family in attendance, including Fred Patterson, son of the Salt Tram Diarist, Henry Clifton "Cliff" Patterson (see  Patterson Diary and Patterson Diary Transcription). Tim and Brian presented Jon Klusmire, Director of the Eastern California Museum, with a copy of a printed book of the Salt Tram Diary, at the end of the presentation. As our highlight of the night, we presented Fred Patterson with a copy of his Dad Cliff's diary as well.

Tim poses with  the salt tram diary that was presented at the meeting (click to enlarge):


















A few photos from the 3/13/10 presentation.

Longtime Waag Brothers Tim and Brian, ready to give their presentation (click to enlarge):

















Tim talking in front of a packed house (click to enlarge):








Tim begins the PowerPoint presentation on the Salt Tram (click to enlarge):
 
Patterson Family: son Fred at Far Left (click to enlarge):
 

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