Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where is White Smith's Bishop Home?

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

QUESTION1: Where was White Smith's home in Bishop? (White Smith was President of the Saline Valley Salt Company when it was selling shares in 1911 to build the Salt Tram).

QUESTION2: White Smith's Bishop home was sold in 1913 to the Bishop Presbyterian Church as a parsonage for the Reverend S. S. Patterson, who happened to be Salt Tram Diarist "Cliff" Patterson's father. Coincidence? We think not. Is the home still standing?

QUESTION3: Does it still serve as a parsonage for the Bishop Presbyterian Church?  

According to the Inyo Register, February 13, 1913 edition, White Smith sold his Bishop home and moved to Los Angeles.

In May 2010, Tim was speaking with Roberta Harlan at the Eastern California Museum in Lone Pine. We were talking about various historical topics, and we (once again) were less than amused at the fact that we had no confirmed photo of White Smith [Update! As of May, 2010, we have a confirmed image of White Smith - thanks to Roberta and the ECM!]. I mentioned to Roberta that we recently found out that White (President of the Saline Valley Salt Co.) moved to Los Angeles, as reported in the Inyo Register of February 13, 1913.

See article below (click to enlarge):

We also noted that the March 13, 1913 Inyo Register (see article below) reported selling his residence to the Presbyterian Church to be used as the pastor's residence. Not coincidentally, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church was none other than S. S. Patterson, (Salt Tram Diarist) Cliff Patterson's Father!
In any case, Roberta is going to inquire at the current Presbyterian Church in Bishop
as to whether or not they still have the parsonage. Brian will have to determine
what tract number (from the census or poll records) contained White Smith's home
at that time.

Remember that White Smith did continue to be involved with the Salt Tram through
at least 1927, which is the currently reported year of his passing. Note that in 1913,
White Smith was approximatley 60 years old, having been born in 1853. However,
his daughter Margaret was at that time around 11 years old (in 1913).

Photo below (Courtesy Patterson family of Bishop) shows Rev. S. S. Patterson on left, and "Cliff" Patterson holding his son Fred.


We wish you the best of luck, Roberta, and hope you find out more about the
Presbyterian Church and its parsonage. Brian, do you have info on the lot number
of White Smith's home from the census?

Below is what appears to by the Presbyterian Church's website, including a photo of the church. It is located at: 
585 North Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514
Phone: (760) 872-2261
First Presbyterian Church of Bishop, California 


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