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Henry T Williams.

The Pacific tourist : Williams' illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Containing full descriptions of railroad routes ... A complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads ... online

. (page 32 of 52)
Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsThe Pacific tourist : Williams' illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Containing full descriptions of railroad routes ... A complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads ... → online text (page 32 of 52)
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prayers of friends " will be required. During
the passage of the Humboldt Valley we cross
several dry valleys, between ranges of mountains,
that seem to be cut in twain by the river. These
valleys are mostly covered with sand and sage
brush ; occasionally have streams flowing down
from the mountains which soon sink in the sands.
There is a wide valley of this description north
of the track as we approach

Iron Point, 491 miles from San Francisco ;
elevation, 4,375 feet. This station is near the
point of a low ridge, with barren sides and rocky
summit; the rocks a little reddish, indicating
the proximity of iron. It is a shipping point
for cattle, and has extensive stock-yards, though
there are no other accommodations near by.
This ridge was formerly considered the bound-
ary line between the Shoshones and Piutes, and
a trespass by either party has been the cause of
many an Indian war. The wasting away of these
tribes, however, renders the line simply imagin-
ary, and the rights of either party to exclusive
privileges on either side are no longer regarded.
The valley now narrows, and we pass through a
sort of a canon, with high bluff son both sides of
the road. We wind round numerous curves, and
after the canon is passed, we shall see the re-
mains of an old irrigating ditch that was started
here by a French company to take water from
the Humboldt and carry it down the valley quite
a distance for irrigating and mill purposes. A
great amount of labor and money was expended
upon this enterprise, but it was finally aban-
doned. We believe a small outlay, compara-
tively, would now make it a success. The ditch
began at an adobe house, just as we are through
a short canon and as the valley again begins to
widen. This pass was called Emigrant Canon
in the days of wagon travel.

Golconda, 478 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,385 feet. The little town
here has one or two stores, a hotel, several adobe



houses and the usual railroad conveniences.
Golconda is favorably located, as regards two or
three important mining districts, and will event-
ually do considerable business with them. It is
also the location of some eight or ten hot mineral
springs, which are passed on the right side of the
track, just after leaving town. These springs
vary in temperature from cool, or tepid water, to
that which is boiling hot. The swimming bath
an excavation in the ground is supplied with
tepid water, and is said to be very exhilarating.
The Boiling Spring exact temperature and
analysis unknown is utilized by the farmers in
the valley in scalding their swine. The water is
said to be hot enough to boil an egg in one min-
ute. Here clouds of steam can be seen when
the weather is cold, rising from the hot water and
warm soil surrounding.

One of the springs near this station is also a
curiosity, and should be visited by tourists. It
is conical in shape, like an inverted tea-cup, four
or five feet high, with a basin about three feet in
diameter on the top. Formerly, the water came
in at the bottom of this basin and bubbled over
the rim ; but a few years since, it was tapped
from below, and the water now flows out at
the side, leaving the basin and cone as it was
formed, by the sedimentary incrustations and
deposit. The water flowing from the hot
spring is used for irrigating purposes, and the
owners of the spring have a monopoly of early
vegetable " garden truck," raising early radishes,
lettuce, onions, etc., before their season, by the
warmth produced from the hot water. It is
expected that the springs will be improved this
year by the erection of a suitable bathing-house
and hotel for the accommodation of guests.

Gold Run Mining District, south of Golconda,
is tributary to the place. The mines are re-
ported rich in large bodies of ore, but not of a
very high grade. They are, however, easily ac-
cessible, and not more than 10 or 15 miles from
the railroad, with good wagon roads the entire
distance. The ore in this district is both smelt-
ing and milling but requires roasting if it is
to be milled. Three prospects are now being
worked. About three miles from town is a small
four-stamp mill, which is running on ore from
this district.

Paradise District of gold and silver mines, is
about 18 miles north of Golconda. The ore is
said to be a rich milling variety, but the pros-
pects are not yet sufficiently developed to deter-
mine the true value of the district.

Title, 530 miles from San Francisco, with an
elevation of 4,313 feet. It is simply a side track
of no importance to travelers, and trains seldom
stop. After leaving Golconda, we look toward
the north and see the opening of Eden Valley.
East of this valley, and to our right, is the Sol-
dier's Spring Range, a broken range of mount-
ains. Eden Valley extends north to the Little



191



Humboldt River. In fact, this river flows through
the upper portion of the valley, and rises in the
range just named, and flows in a south-westerly
direction through Paradise Valley and unites
with the Humboldt, nearly opposite, north of
Tule. Paradise Valley is a fine agricultural
basin, thickly settled, about 30 miles north.
Paradise Valley is the name of the post-office
a semi-weekly line of mail stages connecting it
with Winnemucca, the county-seat of Humboldt
County. This valley is shaped like a horseshoe,
and produces superior crops of barley, wheat,
rye and all kinds of vegetables. It seems to
have a depression in the center, and, while it is
nearly all cultivated, the best crops are raised on
the slopes toward the mountains. The soil is a
black, gravelly loam, and sage brush grows on
the slopes to enormous size. Experiments in
fruit culture have been tried, but, thus far, with
indifferent success. Paradise Valley has a flour-
ing-mill, store and dwellings, and gives every in-
dication of thrift. Its name indicates the high
esteem in which it is held by the settlers. It is
nearly surrounded by mountains, and the numer-
ous streams flowing down from them, afford am-
ple water for irrigation. Most of these streams
sink in the ground before they reach the Little
Humboldt. Five miles beyond Tule, we reach

JViunemucca, 463 miles from San Fran-
cisco ; elevation, 4,332 feet. It is named in
honor of the chief of the Piute tribe of Indians.
The name itself means " chief," and is given to
any member of the tribe who holds that office.
The Piutes are divided into several bands, each
under a chief they call ' Captan," thought here
to be derived from the Spanish, and to mean the
sam3 as our English word, "captain." Winne-
mucca is now about 70 years old, and lives on
the Malheur Reservation, in Oregon a reserva-
tion occupied by the Piutes and Bannocks. He
is very much respected almost worshiped by
his dusky followers.

The town is the county-seat of Humboldt
County, and has- a population of about 1,200
people, among whom are some Indians, and quite
a number of Chinamen. It is the western ter-
minus of the Humboldt Division of the Central
Pacific, has a large roundhouse, two large freight
depots and the usual offices, etc., for the accom-
modation of the railroad business. An elegant
brick court-house has baen erected, together with
several stores, hotels, shops, a large flouring-mill,
a foundry, a ten-stamp quartz mill, with a capa-
city for crushing ten tons of ore every 24 hours,
and other public improvements completed, or in
contemplation. The town is divided into two
parts upper and lower; the latter being built
on the bottom land near the river, and the upper,
on a huge sand-bank, adjoining the railroad.
Most of the buildings are frame, though a few
are built of brick, or adobe, which, in this west-
ern country, are called " dobe," for short.



There is a school-house with accommodations
for about 150 pupils two apartments, and no
churches. It is also quite a shipping point for
cattle and wool. About 9,000 head of cattle
were shipped to the San Francisco market from
this place, in the months of January and Feb-
ruary of the present year. In the spring of
1875, over 500,000 Ibs. of wool were shipped to
New York and Boston markets. It is also the
shipping point to Camp McDermott, near the
northern line of the State ; to Silver City and
Boise City, Idaho ; and to Baker and Grant




WINNEMUCCA, THE NAPOLEON OF THE PIUTES.

Counties, in south-eastern Oregon. The stage
lines are as follows : Daily stage and mail line
to Silver City and Boise City, Idaho, distance
to Silver City, 210 miles, extension to Boise, 65
miles farther. The same line supplies Camp
McDermott, 85 miles distant. Semi-weekly
line, Mondays and Fridays, to Paradise Valley,
45 miles. Weekly line soon to be made daily
and to caYry the mail to Jersey, 65 miles, (south)
leaving at present every Wednesday. There is
also an immense freighting business done with
the mining districts in the vicinity, and with
Idaho Territory. Regular freight lines are on
the road between this place and Silver City.
The following mining districts are tributary



192



to Winuemucca and located in Humboldt
County : beginning north of the railroad there
are placer mines west of Paradise Valley and
settlement ; at Willow Creek about 60 miles dis-
tant from Winnemucca. Bartlett Creek Mines,
gold and silver, 100 miles distant. Varyville is
the town of this camp. It has about a hundred in-
habitants, and is north-west of this city. Two
quartz mills are in operation there, controlled by
a Chicago company. Pueblo District copper
mines, about 100 miles distant. Winnemucca
District silver, two miles west of town, mines
owned and operated by the Humboldt Mining
Company, which has a ten-stamp quartz mill in
town, supplied in part with ore from their mine,
and run on custom ore at times. The ores in
this vicinity have to be roasted, and this mill
has a drop furnace the ore dropping through
the flaming fire instead of being turned in a
revolving heated cylinder.

Central District in Eugene Mountain, south-
west of town, produces silver ore and has a
quartz mill.

South of the railroad there is Jersey District
and town, 65 miles distant. The business of
this mining camp is divided between Battle
Mountain and this place both claiming it.
The town has about 200 people. The ore is
argentiferous galena, rather above the average
grade, and is found in large quantities. A
smelting furnace has been erected and a consider-
able amount of base bullion has been turned out.
The smelter has a capacity of 25 tons per day.
The shaft in the mine has been sunk to a depth
of 130 feet, and levels run about 300 feet. It is
claimed to be a very promising mining district.

Antimony District is 80 miles due south of
Winnemucca. Slabs of that mineral, weighing
three tons, and averaging 70 per cent, pure anti-
mony, can be obtained in this district. Near it
is the Humboldt Salt Marsh, where salt, 95 per
cent, pure, can be shoveled up by the wagon-
load. This salt deposit is very extensive, and
the supply seems to be exhaustless. Underneath
the surface deposit, rock salt, or salt in large
cakes or slabs, is taken out, in the driest part of
the season, by the ton.

In the valley leading to the above-named dis-
trict are some very fine hot springs, but they are
so common here as to be no curiosity. Twelve
miles out, in the same valley, is a rich agricul-
tural district, thickly settled, where not only
grain and vegetables have been successfully cul-
tivated, but the experiments in fruit culture
have also proved successful. At the county fair,
held in this city during the fall of 1875, fine
specimens of apples, peaches, pears and plums
were exhibited which were raised in this valley.

Bolivia District, silver ore, 70 miles away.
Ore from this district is shipped to various
points; some to the mill here that is claimed to
average $500 per ton. Comminsville Camp, in



Sierra District, produces gold and silver ore. A
ten-stamp mill is erected there.

As the tourist walks the platform at this place,
looking across the river to the right, he will see
Winnemucca Mountain, but a short distance
away, overlooking the town. To the left, he will
observe the peaks of the Franklin or Sonoma
Range. To the east, and somewhat distant, are
the ragged summits of the Soldier's Spring
Range, while a little to the south-west, but ap-
parently in front, Eugene Mountain lifts itself
up as a landmark to guide the traveler on his
way. This mountain will be passed on our left
as we continue the journey.

Winnemucca has two newspapers, The Daily
Humboldt Register and the Daily Silver State.
Both are energetic little sheets, and fitly illus-
trate the enterprise of these western towns.
Across the river, over a wooden bridge, is located
the cemetery, in which the remains of the dead
are enclosed. It is on an elevated, sandy bench, the
second ten-ace or step from the river level. By
it winds the stage road to Idaho and the north.
The Piutes have their tents scattered on all
sides of the town, to which the euphonious name
of " Wick-ee-ups " is given. They serve to re-
mind cne of the departing glory if they ever
had any of the Indian race. In this tribe, to
their honor be it said, licentiousness among their
women is very rare, and virtue is held in high
esteem. But very few half-breed Indians can be
found, or are they known in the State. This
tribe, with the Bannocks, were especially hostile
to the whites in an early day, and fought for
many years with desperation and cruelty to pre-
vent the settlement and development of this
country. Their courage and deadly enmity has
been displayed on many a hard-fought field, and
if there are families in the East, or on the Pacific
Coast, who still mourn the loss of missing ones,
who were last heard of as crossing the plains,
some Indian warrior, yet living, might be able to
explain the mystery which has enveloped their
final doom. For a number of years, with cease-
less vigilance, they hung around the trains of
emigrants, eager to dispatch a stray victim, or
upon the borders of settlements, ready to strike
down the hardy pioneer at the first favorable
opportunity. At present, overpowered by num-
bers, they live upon the bounty of their former
enemies, and are slowly, but surely learning, by
example, the ways of civilization. As a class,
however, they are still indolent, dirty and cov-
ered with vermin. But they begin to learn the
worth of money, and know already that it has a
purchasing power which will supply their scanty
wardrobe, and satisfy their longing appetites.

The mines on the top of Winnemucca Mount-
ain are plainly seen, and the road that leads to
them, from the cars, and the tourist from this
will be able to understand something of the diffi-
culties attending the process of getting out ore.



193



As we pass westward, a grand view of a distant
range is obtained between Winnemucca and
Black Butte. The last named mountain is an
isolated peak, and stands out like a sentinel on
guard. As we approach the higher peaks of the
East or Humboldt Range, we pass

Hose Creek, 453 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,322 feet. It is an unim-
portant station, with side track, etc. You will
have to look sharp to see the creek, or the roses,
and, by way of variety, you will discover plenty
of sage brush. It is a staple article, in this
country. The river still winds its way along our
right, and there is an occasional ranche on the
mountain slope, where the water from some
spring, or little creek, can be obtained for irriga-
tion.

Raspberry,
443 miles
from San Fran-
cisco ; elevation
4,327 feet. If
roses were few
and far be-
tween, at the
last station,
raspberries are
less frequent
here. But these
names are tanta-
lizing and sug-
gestive in the
places they are
applied to.
Having turned
the point of
East Range, we
bear off to the
left. Eugene
Mountain is
now on our
right, across the
H umboldt
River.

M ill City,
435 miles from
San Francisco,
with an eleva-
tion of 4,225

feet. This was once a town with great prospects.
It was to be the terminus of the irrigating ditch,
which we have seen beyond Winnemucca and Gol-
conda, and this ditch, by a small expenditure of
money, could now be made available, as far as
Winnemucca. The Humboldt Mining Company,
owning the stamp mill at that place, already al-
luded to, also own this ditch. The French capi-
talists, who put their money into the enterprise,
long since abandoned it. Mill City, in their im-
agination, was to be the seat of empire a mighty
city of the plains, of influence and power. The
banks of the canal they partially dug, were to be

13



lined with factories and mills. The mineral bear-
ing ore of the State was to be brought to these
mills, for reduction. Their ideas were grand, and
could have been made successful, under other cir-
cumstances ; but they were in advance of the
times ahead of the age in which they lived. In
the mutations of time, the town has become a
great shipping-point for cattle 100 cars being
shipped last year a number which is greatly ex-
ceeded in some years. It has a steam foundry in
operation, mostly employed in the manufacture
and repair of mining machinery, and is the rail-
road point where the business of several mining
districts is done. Ore from Dun Glen, Unionville
and Star City, comes here for shipment, and,
once per week, bullion comes over from Union-
ville. This last place was formerly more lively

than at present.
It is a town of
about 300 peo-
ple has four
quartz mills in
operation, and
is connected
with Mill City
by a daily stage
line, which
passes by Star
City distance
to Unionville,
20 miles; to
Star City, 10
miles ; to Dun
Glen, 8 miles.
The general
course of the
railroad being
east and west,
these places are
all south of it.
The mining dis-
tricts, including
the towns
named, which
are tributary to
this place, are
Unionville, Star
and Indian Dis-

B. B. STATION, HUMBOLDT, NEVADA. trfcts all trib-

utary to Mill City. Mill City has a neat little
hotel, a livery stable and several dwellings. It
may possibly be the junction of a railroad to Ore-
gon surveys of which have been, and are now
being made.

Leaving Mill City, we pass rapidly by an
opening or gap in the mountains on our left,
while a broad extent of valley opens out on our
right, as Eugene Mountain sinks into the plain.
The river recedes from our view, and winds along
across an alkali flat some six or seven miles
away. Through this opening on our right, the
proposed branch railroad to Oregon will pass.




194



Surveys have already been made, and it is supposed
the men in the Central Pacific Company will
build it, and the junction with this road will be
either here or near here. Through this gap
travelers in the old emigrant times, turned off to
go by the Honey Lake Route to Northern Cali-
fornia and Southern Oregon. A natural road
with easy grades is claimed for this route. In
coming down this valley from Mill City, we pass
a high mountain on our left, said to be the
highest peak in Nevada 8,000 feet high. It is
called Star peak. The elevation given is the
common rumor in the vicinity. It is certainly
a high mountain, and its lofty towers are nearly
always covered with snow. Opposite this
mountain is

Humboldt, 423 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,236 feet above the sea,
nearly the same as the Great Salt Lake. We
have been coming down hill all the way from
Wells, and yet we are no lower than when we
left Ogden. We have now arrived at

An Oasis in tlie Desert.

The traveler from the East, will be especially
delighted with this spot. It will remind him of
things human, of living in a land of cultivation
again. The first growing trees since leaving
Ogden will be seen here, with green grass, shady
bowers and flowing fountains. Humboldt
House is a regular breakfast and supper station,
at which all passenger trains stop for meals.
The proprietors have been here quite a number
of years, and seem to delight in making their
house, and surroundings beautiful and attractive
to the traveling public. A fountain surrounded
with an iron fence, springs up in front of the
house, while gold-fish swim around in the basin
below. East of the house, trees, locusts and
poplars are growing finely, while the ground is
covered with a thick matting of blue-grass. At
first this lot was sown to alfalfa, which grew
very rank and strong. Blue-grass seed was
afterwards sown, and now it has rooted every-
thing else out and grows luxuriantly. A field
south of the road toward the mountain, has pro-
duced 18 tons of alfalfa at one cutting, and has
been cut from five to -seven times a year. In the
garden north of the house, toward the valley, all
kinds of vegetables grow luxuriantly. The
average yield of potatoes is 300 bushels to the
acre, of the very best quality. We were, how-
ever, particularly interested in the experiments
made in fruit growing. Here in the midst,
almost, of the Great Nevada Desert, with barren-
ness and desolation spread out on every hand
with a high rocky mountain on one side, and a
huge alkali flat on the other, nestled under the
towering cliffs as though it would claim shelter
and protection, is this Oasis in the desert, this
reminder of more genial climes and a more
kindly soil this relief from the wearisome,



dreary views, which have everywhere met our
gaze, over the largest part of the journey. The
experiments so successful here prove, beyond a
doubt, that the desert can be reclaimed and
" made to bud and blossom as the rose." Grit,
labor and above all, water, will do it. Here is
an orchard of apple trees five years old, bearing
not only fruit as beautiful to the eye as that
raised in California, but superior in flavor in
fact retaining the flavor of eastern apples.
These apple trees of all varieties are prolific
bearers, and the same is true of the peaches,
pears, plums and cherries. In the orchard and
opposite the water tank, is a fish-pond some
25 or 30 feet in diameter. In it are trout, great
speckled fellows, very thick and very shy.
Rocky coves have been built for them in the
bottom and center of the basin, and here they
hide seeking shade from the rays of the hot sum-
mer's sun, and also from those of the silvery
moon. The experiments first made with these
fish were costly, but have at last proved suc-
cessful. This place and its surroundings cause
the traveler not only to rejoice over the scene
which here greets his gaze, but serves to remind
him of home of " God's country " either in the
far East or, at this point, in the nearer West.

In the fish-pond mentioned, there are a coiiple
of wild geese, and a Mandarin duck said to be
from Japan. It is a beautiful little creature
with tufts of feathers on each side of its head,
and finely colored plumage. The proprietors of
the Humboldt House, seem to strive to offer
attractions to their guests in both their indoor
accommodations, and outside arrangements.

The station has shippe'd a large number of
cattle, and is the shipping point for the sulphur
or brimstone, that is manufactured some thirty
miles north-west of the place. The old emigrant
road spoken of as leading to Northern California
and Southern Oregon, winds around the base of
Eugene Mountain and near a low butte, re-
sembling a haystack, which can be seen in the
distance across the alkali flats. This road was
laid out by General F. W. Lander, who was
killed in the war of 1861, and is said to be one
of the best wagon routes to the regions named.
The Humboldt House is the place of resort for
tourists who desire to visit the sulphur mines,
Star Peak, or the mining districts in the Hum-
boldt Range, Eugene Mountain, and the Ante-
lope Range. The latter is a low range on our
right, beginning as we leave this station. In
front and south-east of the Humboldt House, is
the Humboldt Mining District, four to six miles
distant. Humboldt Canon opens in the mountain
side, in which was formerly located Humboldt
City. Mines were first discovered in the rocky
gorges of this range in 1861, and there was a great
rush here from all parts of the country. The
" City " sprang up as if by magic, and at one
time contained about 500 people. Several sub-



195



stantial buildings were erected, a few of which
still remain. The mines were diligently pros-
pected, but not rewarded with immediate suc-
cess, the expenses of living and building being
very great, together with the determined hos-
tility of the Indians, the people left it as
suddenly as they came. The district remained



Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsThe Pacific tourist : Williams' illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Containing full descriptions of railroad routes ... A complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads ... → online text (page 32 of 52)