Thursday, April 29, 2010

HSUMD Presentation on Tues. 5/18/10 in Ridgecrest, Cal.

As the years pass, researching the true story of the Salt Tram is getting more difficult, as the abundant photos and written first hand accounts from that era find their way into landfills (instead of museums). We  are striving to rediscover the efforts of those who built and ran the Salt Tram, 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

Update May 2010: Brian and Tim gave an updated version of their 1 hour presentation on the Salt Tram. We don't post the PowerPoint presentation because we have many photos in the presentation that we would prefer would not get onto the internet. Once again, we walk a fine line between sharing information about our Salt Tram exploration (with the hope of finding more sources of information: stories, photos, etc.) and not opening up the area to exploitation and vandalism.

The presentation went well, with what appeared to us as a good turnout, pretty much filling the HSUMD-restored USO Hall (circa 1944). We sold 7 copies of the Henry Clifton Patterson diary at our cost to members in attendance from the HSUMD. If you are interested in a copy, please let us know. We currently have orders for 10 more copies, and are looking for way to get it printed at less expense. We'll let you know when we do.

Before the presentation, we stopped over at the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, where we finally met Sandy Rogers, the author of the "Epsom Salts Monorail" book that Tim picked up on the last visit to the museum. We've been trying to get Sandy more interested in the Salt Tram, as we are always looking for researchers and investigators with useful skills for unearthing more data on the Salt Tram. We had previously helped Sandy out by giving him leads on where to find some of the original elevation architectural plans for the Epsom Salt Monorail, which at 26 or so miles long is a similar monstrosity to the Salt Tram. Unfortunately, the monorail is located primarily on China Lake Naval Base property, and nearly impossible for civilians to visit.

We are seeking a few more photos from this 5/18/10 event, including photos of the audience in attendance, as well as photos of Brian and Tim with Andrew Sound, where we are presenting a copy of the Diary to the HSUMD, as well as a 20" x 30" framed copy of the Salt Tram's famous Zig Zag Trail. Note that before the meeting started, Brian, Laura and I were treated to a wonderful BBQ tri-tip dinner put on by HSUMD. Also in attendance at the meeting was Tracy (Desert Mouse) and Mike, as well as newly acquainted explorer Rick S. and his wife (whose name I don't dare attempt to spell here), and Sam W. and wife of Bishop / Keeler. It was also our first meeting with "RubiBlue" aka as Jim Kenney, who is a leader in the HSUMD - we've have exchanged emails before, but this was our first meeting in person - a pleasure! We were also presented with an honorary membership in the HSUMD for 2010 - 2011, and we thank them for that also.

Here are the 3 photos that we have from the presentation (click to enlarge):

Photo 1: Tim and Brian posing out in front of the USO Building in Ridgecrest. To learn more about the building, or to help with finishing its restoration, please contact HSUMD at their website:

Click to go to Historical Society of Upper Mojave Desert website

Photo 2: Brian starting his part of the presentation, inside the USO Building, in front of the stage:

Photo 3: Tim (on the right) with former Keeler (and current Independence) resident John Huerta. Tim and John met at the McDonalds in Lone Pine in 2006, where John first told Tim that "my Dad worked on the Salt Tram!"

Update May 2010: Ridgecrest "News Review" of May 5, 2010 (Thanks to Tracy for scanning this article):

 Above (click to enlarge): Article about May 18, 2010 presentation in the weekly News Review, dated May 5, 2010. To go to the article, click here.   To go to the News Review website, click here.

After our popular presentation on the Salt Tram for the Friends of the Eastern California Museum on March 13, 2010 in Independence, we have accepted an invitation to give our presentation to the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, aka HSUMD. They tell us that HSUMD is "loosely affililiated" with the Maturango Museum, also in Ridgecrest, if that matters to anyone. We actually don't know what time the presentation will occur or where, but we are hoping they tell us before then - when we know, you'll know! In the meantime, we've provided them with some promo material on our Salt Tram activities, and look forward to buzzing out to Ridgecrest to give the presentation. In the meantime, here's some more info on the HSUMD:

Click to go to Historical Society of Upper Mojave Desert website

Also, since we can't make a post without including a Salt Tram photo, and since there's nothing directly on point for this post, we have picked a random Salt Tram photo (Courtesy Eastern California Museum) from our growing historical collection, and here it is (click to enlarge):

Interestingly enough, this random selection, which we've titled "Just Some Guy", is one of the few photos were we are not sure if it is associated with the Salt Tram or not. Also, like many of our photos, it is out of focus, which is unfortunate. However, given that the HSUMD folks are history buffs, perhaps somebody out there recognizes this person or this location, or perhaps the make, model and year of the automobile off to the right? Anybody?

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