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Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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-abundant supply of saline matter. The various
saline incrustations, however, at various points
on the surrounding shores, indicate clearly that



156



some portion of the earth is saturated with this
ingredient. Still this lake is without any visi-
ble outlet, and with all the great influx of fresh
water, annually, why does it remain so salty?
The inference naturally follows that it washes
some vast bed of rock salt or saline deposit in
the bottom of the lake, hitherto undiscovered.
Without facts, however, even this is a supposi-
tion which may or may not be true. The shores
of this lake, especially toward the city bearing
the same name, have now been settled nearly
thirty years, and it would be strange indeed if
the changes which have been gradually going
on in this lake should not have been noticed.
The elevation of the lake is given at 4,200 feet
above the level of the sea. The elevation of
Salt Lake City is given at 4,351 feet above the
sea difference of 151 feet. The figures here
given as the elevation of the lake, we think, are
based upon observations and calculations made
several years ago, perhaps by Captain Stansbury.
The observation of the old settlers is, that it is
not correct that the lake is from ten to fifteen
feet higher now than it was in 1850, and that in
proportion as the water rises it becomes less
salty. Reliable citizens have informed us that
in 1850, three barrels of water evaporated would
make one of salt ; now, four barrels of water are
required for the same result. This fact leads to
the opinion that the humidity of the atmosphere
in this region of the Continent is increasing in
consequence of which there is less evaporation
evaporation being greater and more rapid in a
dry than in a moist atmosphere and the failure
of evaporation to take up the surplus waters dis-
charged into this lake has not only increased its
volume and extent, but lessened its saline
character. Since the settlement of this Terri-
tory, there has been a great increase of rain-fall,
so much so that it is noticed and remarked upon
by very many of the inhabitants, and the belief
is very generally entertained that the Territory is
gradually undergoing a great climatic change.

Spec illations as to the Result. The
evaporation of the water in the lake growing
gradually less, it will, of course, continue to
rise and overflow its banks in the lowest places,
but no fears need be entertained for the safety
of any considerable portion of the country, or
the inhabitants thereof. Notice the elevation of
Salt Lake City, as herein given, being about 151
feet greater than the lake itself. If the rise
continues it will be slower as the covered surface
of the adjoining land becomes greater, on the
principle that the larger end of a vessel fills more
slowly with the same stream, than the smaller
end. . If it reaches a height of 15 or 20 feet
above its present surface, it' will first overflow a
low, sandy and alkali desert on its western shore,
nearly as large as the lake itself. In this case,
its evaporating capacity will be nearly doubled
in extent a fact which will operate to retard



its rise. But if it continues to rise in th > years
to come until it must have an outlet to the Dcean,
that outlet will be the Humboldt River, and a
cut of 100 feet or less in the low hills of the di-
vide, will give it. When, however, this event
transpires, it will be unless some convulsion of
nature intervenes to hasten it after the last
reader of this book shall have finished his earthly
labors and been quietly laid away to rest.

Boundaries ana Extent. Looking from
Observation Point at the south end of the lake,
to the north, it seems to be pretty well di-
vided. Promontory Mountains on Antelope
Island, those on Stansbury Island and Oquirrh
Mountains are evidently parts of the same
range running from north to south, parallel
with the Wahsatch Range. Their continuity is
only broken by the waters in the lake or sink of
the great basin. Promontory Mountains divide
the northern end of the lake into two parts, or
arms, the eastern being called Bear River Bay,
and the western, Spring Bay the latter being
considerably the largest. The lake has numerous
islands, both large and small. Fremont Island
lies due west of the mouth of W T eber River, and
is plainly visible from the cars of the Utah Cen-
tral Railroad. South of it and nearest to Salt
Lake City, is Antelope Island. West of Ante-
lope, and north-west from Lake Point, is Stans-
bury Island. A little north-west of this, is Car-
rington Island. North of these still, and in the
western part of the lake are Hat, Gunnison and
Dolphin Islands. Nearly south of Gunnison
Island is a high promontory jutting out into the
lake called Strong's Knob ; it is a prominent
landmark on the western shore of the lake.
Travelers on the Central Pacific Road can ob-
tain a fine view of this great inland sea, near
Monument Station. The extreme length of the
lake is about 80 miles, and its extreme width, a
little south of the 41st parallel of latitude, is
about 50 miles. Promontory Mountains project
into the lake from the north about 30 miles.
Nearly all the islands we have named are rich in
minerals, such as copper, silver, gold and iron.
Excellent quarries of slate have also been opened,
but neither it nor the mines have been developed
to any great extent, because of the want of cap-
ital.

Incidents and Curiosities. When Col-
onel Fremont first explored the lake in 1843, it
is related by Jessie, his wife, that when his boat
first touched the shore of Fremont Island, an
oarsman in the bow of the boat was about to
jump ashore, when Kit Carson, the guide, insisted
that Colonel Fremont should first land and
name the island, " Fremont Island."
. Tonic l'ro)H'i'ti< l s. A bath in the water
of the Great Salt Lake, is one of the greatest
delights a tourist can seek. We have per-
sonally indulged in its pleasure, and it is beyond
question a splendid recreation. Upon iU ~



the



157



wharf near Lake Point, is a cozy bathing-house,
wherein are bathing-suits, and large tubs filled
with fresh water ; donning the suits, you descend
the steps and jump into the water. You are
surprised at the buoyancy of it. The most
vigorous effort and plunge will not keep your
body under the surface. Clasping your hands
and feet in the water, you can sit on its bosom
with head and shoulders projecting above the
surface, and even then for but a short period, as
the buoyancy of the water soon has a tendency to
tip you over on your side. It is impossible to
stand erect in the water, no matter how straight
or rigid you place your limbs, in a moment
over goes your head, and up come your feet.
Lying on your back, or side, or face, in any position
still you will always keep at the surface. But
beyond this curious feature of impossibility of
sinking, there is the better quality of the
toning and invigorating properties of the bath.
These are beyond all question, the finest of any
spring along the Overland Route. In some
warm summer day, take your bath in the lake,
spend, say half an hour in its water, and then
returning to your bath-house, cleanse your skin
from all saline material, which may adhere, by
plentiful ablutions of pure water from the tubs,
wash the hair and face thoroughly, then dress
and walk up and down the wharf, or the cool
piazza of the hotel, and you are astonished at
the wonderful amount of strength and invig-
oration given to your system, and with greater
elasticity than ever you have possessed before, it
seems like the commencement of a new life.
Invalids should never fail to visit this lake, and
enjoy its bath. Tourists who omit it, will
leave behind them the greatest curiosity of the
Overland Tour, and it is no great effort of the
imagination to conceive this fully the rival of
the great ocean in all that can contribute to the
attractions of sea-shore life. The cool breeze
and delicious bath are all here.

In the summer time the excursion rates from
Salt Lake City, are $1.50 per ticket, which in-
cludes passage both ways over the Utah Western
Railroad, a ride on the steamer on the lake, and
the privilege of a bath, the cheapest and
most useful enjoyment in the entire Territory.

The only life in or near the lake, is seen in
the summer time by immense masses of little
insects (astemia fertiliso,) which live on the
surface of the lake, and thrive on its brine.
These masses stretch out in curious forms over
the surface. Sometimes, when small, they appear
like a serpent, at other times like rings, globes,
and other irregular figures. A gentle breeze
will never disturb them, for their presence keeps
the water a dead calm as if oil had been poured
upon it. If disturbed by a boat passing through
the mass, millions of little gnats or flies arise
and swarm all over the vessel anything but
agreeable. Professor Spencer M. Baird, of the



Smithsonian Institute, Washington, believes the
lake may yet sustain fish and other, animal life.
There seems to be plenty of insect food al-
ways on the surface, occasionally with high
winds, the surface of the lake is driven into
waves, which dashing against the shore, shower
the sage brushes near with salty incrustations,
which, when dried in the sunlight, give a bright,
glittering and pearly appearance, often furnish-
ing splendid specimens for mineral cabinets.

Atmosphere. The atmosphere which sur-
rounds the lake, is a curiosity, always bluish and
hazy from the effects of the active evaporation,
in decided contrast to the purity and trans-
parency of the air elsewhere. Surveyors say
that it is difficult to use telescopes, and astro-
nomical observations are imperfect.

The solid ingredients of the water have six
and one-half times the density of those of the
ocean, and wherever washed upon the shore, the
salt dried, after evaporation, can be easily
shoveled up into buckets and bags.

Burton describes a beautiful sunset scene upon
the lake. "We turned our faces eastward as
the sun was declining. The view had memo-
rable beauties. From the blue and purple clouds,
gorgeously edged with celestial fire, shot up a
fan of penciled and colored light, extending half-
way to the zenith, while in the south and south-
east lightnings played among the darker mist
masses, which backed the golden and emerald
bench-lands of the farther valley. The splendid
sunset gave a reflex of its loveliness upon the
alkaline ban-ens around us. Opposite rose the
Wahsatch Mountains, vast and voluminous, in
stern and gloomy grandeur, northward the thin
white vapors rising from the hot springs, and
the dark swells of the lake."

The Great Desert West of Salt Lake
City. The overland stage, which traversed
westward, followed a route immediately south of
Salt Lake, and passed for several hundred miles
through a desert, beside which the Humboldt
Valley had no comparison in tediousness and dis-
comfort. Captain Stansbury, an early explorer, in
describing this section, describes large tracts of
land covered with an incrustation of salt :

" The first part of the plains consisted simply
of dried mud, with small crystals of salt scat-
tered thickly over the surface; crossing this, we
came upon another portion of it, three miles in
width, where the ground was entirely covered
with a thin layer of salt in a state of deliques-
cence, and of so soft consistence, that the feet of
our mules sank at every step into the mud be-
neath. But we soon came upon a portion of
the plains where the salt lay in a solid state, in
one unbroken sheet, extending apparently to its
western border. So firm and strong was this
unique and snowy floor, that it sustained the
weight of our entire train without in the least
giving way, or cracking beneath the pressure.



158



Our mules walked upon it as upon a sheet of
solid ice. The whole field was crossed by a net-
work of little ridges, projecting about half an
inch, as if the salt had expanded in the process
of crystallization. I estimated this field to be, at
least, seven miles wide and ten miles in length.
The salt which was very pure and white, aver-
aged from one-half to three-quarters of an inch
in thickness, and was equal in all respects to our
finest specimen for table use. Assuming these
data, the quantity that here lay upon the ground
in one body, exclusive of that already dis-
solved, amounted to over 4,500,000 cubic yards,
or about 100,000,000 bushels," And even this
small area, is but a very little portion of the
whole region, farther northward and westward.

The Wonders of Montana.

This new territory possesses very many re-
markable features of wonderful scenery, agri-
cultural wealth and mineral richness. In a few
years it will be as famous and popular as Col-
orado.

Its Indian name is Tay-a-he-shock-up, or
" Country of the Mountains" To a larger extent
than any Western Territory it is traversed by
great rivers. The Missouri and Columbia with
all their tributaries each possess nearlv 2,000
miles of water, largely navigable within its bor-
ders, and with the Yellowstone, any of them
are larger than the Ohio River at Pittsburgh.
Probably no state in America is as finely
watered. The valleys of these rivers are won-
derfully beautiful, usually a dozen miles in
width or more, and all arable land. Were the
fertile land of Montana placed by itself, it would
form a country four miles wide and 4,000 long.

In addition to these valley lands, the sloping
sides of the mountains are the natural home for
grazing immense herds of cattle. The grass
land and pastures of the Territory, being more
famous in richness than any Territory of the
Union.

The climate is very mild, although never as
warm as in territories farther south, yet far more
even and equable. In winter constant sunshine.
The snow-fall is not as large as Michigan or
Minnesota, and by actual test, the number of
fine days in one year was 291, or 100 more than
the average of Chicago or Philadelphia. The
average winter temperature is from 25 to 44,
which being in a dry climate is equal to that of
35 to 55 in an Eastern State. The average
temperature for a year is 48. The highest ex-
treme of heat for six years was 94 and low-
est 19^ which is less than any Eastern State,
while the spring season opens a month earlier
than at Omaha

These peculiarities of climate are due to the
influence of the mildness of the winds of the
Pacific Ocean, which blow across Oregon, and



up the valley of the Columbia, and so moderate
the climate of this region that, while most
northern in location, yet it is equal in mildness
to one nearly 1,000 miles south. There are
16,000,000 acres of land suited for culture and
less than 500,000 occupied, the last crops bring-
ing about $3,000,000 in value.

The Territory is 550 miles long, east and west,
and 300 miles wide from north to south. It is
three times the size of New York, twice the size
of the whole of New England, and will more
than take Ohio and Indiana together within its
borders.

Stock raising in Montana is attended with the
greatest ease. A $30 Montana steer, costs but
$3 to raise, and while the mines continue to
increase in productiveness, the demand for all
farm and dairy products will be very great.

Montana is filled full with riches of gold, sil-
ver, iron, lead, copper, etc. Coal is extremely
abundant. The entire mineral yield of the Ter-
ritory to the present time is $145,000,000.

The financial condition is extremely lucrative.
The average wealth of the people is $450, for
every man, woman and child the highest of
any Western Territory. Its entire productions
last year were $16,000,000. The freight, etc.,
paid for merchandise passing to and from its
principal cities exceeded $10,000,000. The
transportation business is immense, giving em-
ployment to over 2,500 wagons, 8,500 animals,
1,400 men, and an invested capital of $1,500,000,
and the imports and exports exceed yearly
800,000,003 pounds or 40,000 tons. Employ-
ment is abundant, living cheap, no one is poor
for a Poor Man's Paradise, there is no home like
one in Montana.

The average elevation of the Territory is
4,000 feet above the sea, half that of Colorado.
It is unlike Utah or Nevada, in that the country
is always green, while the others are dry most of
the year.

Helena City, is about 500 miles north from
Ogden, and has a population of 5,000. Its taxa-
ble wealth is $2,000,000 a beautiful city. Its
business is very large. The three banks often
exceed transactions of $300,000 per day. Several
grocery firms each do business of over one mil-
lion dollars per annum, and half a million dollars
are paid for freight coming here.

Virginia City, has about 1,000 inhabi-
tants elevation, 5,713 feet very enterprising.
A beautiful spring upon the mountain side flows
through pipes into the place, which is there sup-
plied at no cost to the people, who improve its
use for pretty flower gardens and fruit farms.
It is the principal outfitting place for the Yellow-
stone Park, distant 100 miles. A fine wagon
road extends the entire distance.

Bozeman is beautifully located, surrounded
by mountains abruptly rising above the valley.
Population 900, has many elegant residences.



159



From here is an excellent route to the Yellow-
stone Park, about 75 miles away. Near Bozeman
also are other places of attraction to tourists :
Mystic Lake, distance 14 miles ; Luml's Hot
Springs, eight miles ; Rock Canyon, five miles ;
Bridger Canyon, three miles ; Bear Canyon and
Lakes, six miles ; Hunter's Hot Springs on the
Yellowstone, 47 miles ; Middle Creek Falls and
Canyon, 15 miles ; Mount Blackmore, 30 miles.

The mountains around are The Sportsman's-
Home, full of large game, and streams are
crowded with trout.

TJie Deer Lodge Springs are the princi-
pal Health Resort. Here are 40 springs, iron,
soda, iodine, grouped together, with temperature
of 115 to 150.

The Central Pacific Railroad.

The record of the building of the Central Pacif-
ic Railroad is a description of one of the greatest
trials of courage and faith the world has ever seen,
and the actual results are, beyond doubt, the great-
est marvel in engineering science, ever known in
the United States. The heroic strength of charac-
ter, the magnificent power and endurance, the
financial intrepidity and the bold daring which
defied all obstacles, overcame all difficulties, and
literally shoved the mountains aside to make
room for their pathway, are not equaled by any
other achievement of the century. If ever an
American caai feel and express just admiration,
it is to those Samsons of the Pacific Coast, who
have hewn their way with the ponderous strength
of their arms, and with invincible fortitude
opened to the world the treasures of industry in
the mountains and valleys of the Far West and
the Pacific Coast. To one man, more than all
others, is due the credit for the conception, sur-
vey and actual beginning of the great Trans-
Continental Line. Theodore D. Judah yet he
did not live to see the completion of the railroad
up the Sierras and his successor Mr. S. S. Mon-
tague carried it through with great energy and
success, and to them the nation and all Califor-
nia owe a debt of gratitude.

For years this brave and accomplished en-
gineer had the subject of the road in his mind.
It occupied his thoughts by day and was the
subject of his dreams by night. The idea took
a firm hold upon him, and he became completely-
absorbed in it. It energized his whole being and
he was persistent and hopeful to the end. Sac-
ramento, then a much smaller place than now,
was the home of C. P. Huntington and Mark
Hopkins, the former now Vice-President and the
latter now Treasurer of the company, then hard-
ware merchants under the firm name of Hunt-
ington & Hopkins. Their store became the
headquarters of the little company that used to
meet Judah there and talk over the enterprise.
Judah's ideas were clear, his plans seemed prac-



ticable and his enthusiasm was contagious. The
men who associated with him were led to make
contributions for the purpose of partial pay-
ment toward a preliminary survey, and, in 1860,
Judah and his assistants wandered over the
gorges and canons of the Sierra Nevadas in
search of a line for a railroad. The results of
his summer's work were in every way encour-
aging so much so that other contributions and
subscriptions were obtained for work the follow-
ing year. The summer of 1861 again found
Judah and his party in the mountains. The
work of the previous year was extended and
further examination renewed the hope of the
engineer and quickened the zeal of his followers.
Success was certain if they could only enlist cap-
ital in the enterprise.

But right here was the difficulty. While the
great majority of the people of California be-
lieved that the road would be built some day it
would not be done in their time. Some genera-
tion in the future might accomplish it, but it
would be after they were all dead. The subject
was broached in Congress, and finally, in 1862, the
bill was passed. Huntington and Judah went to
Washington with maps and charts, and rendered
invaluable assistance to the friends of the meas-
ure in both houses of Congress, and the day of its
passage was the day of their triumph. The news
was sent to California with lightning speed,
and caused great rejoicing among the people.
The beginning of the end could now distinctly
be seen. Though great difficulties had been
surmounted, a comparatively greater one lay in
the way. Capital which is proverbially timid,
must now be enlisted in the enterprise. Forty
miles of road must be built and accepted by the
government, before the aid could be secured.
Finally, with what local help they could get, and
the assistance of New York capitalists and
bankers, the work was begun at Sacramento,
and the first section carried the line high up
toward the summit of the Sierras. Their finan-
cial agents in New York, put their bonds on the
market, and the funds for the further extension of
the road were rapidly forthcoming. Leland
Stanford, then as now President of the company,
inaugurated the work at Sacramento, and also
drove the silver spike, which completed the union
of the two roads at Promontory on the 10th day
of May, 1869. The progress of the road during
each year, from the time of its commencement
until its completion, is given as follows : In the
years 1863-4-5, the company completed 20 miles
each year. This might be called preliminary
work. They were learning how, and their
severest difficulties were to be overcome. In
1866 they built 30 miles, and the next year 46
miles. Now the rivalry between the two great
corporations may be said to have commenced in
earnest. In 1868, they built 364, and in 1869, up
to May 10th, they closed the gap with 191 miles.



160



Difficulties, Discouragements and La-
bor. Few travelers realize, as they pass so
easily and pleasantly over this railroad, what is
represented by these long, smoothly-laid rails,
nor do they know of the early days of labor, and
intense energy.

Everything of every description of supplies had
to be shipped by water from New York, via Cape
Horn to San Francisco, and then inland to
Sacramento. Thus months of delay occurred in
obtaining all needful material.

Even when the project was under full discus-
sion at the little office in Sacramento, where gath-
ered the six great brains which controlled the
destiny of the enterprise, (these were Governor
Leland Stanford, C. P. Huntington, Mark Hop-
kins, Charles Crocker, E. B. Crocker, and T.
D. Judah), everybody predicted its failure, and
few or none looked for its success. Very little
was known of the country it was to traverse, and
that not satisfactory, and one prophesied that
this, the western end of the Great Trans-Conti-
nental Railroad, would be run up into the
clouds, and left in eternal snows.

Scores of friends approached Huntington in
those days and said, " Huntington, don't go into
it; you will bury your whole fortune in the Sierra
Nevadas."

Outsiders called it, after the first 40 miles were
built, " The Dutch Flat Swindle ; " and the pro-
ject was caricatured, abused by the newspapers,
derided by politicians, discountenanced by capi-
talists, and the credit of every one was impaired
who was connected with it.

Thus nobly did the Californians help this the
greatest enterprise of the State, and how much
more noble have they since been !

In a speech before the Senate Committee of
Congress by C. P. Huntington, he says :



Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 26 of 62)