Enjoy these Eastern Sierra tales of bygone days for your reading pleasure.

Borax Wagon Mural Installation

Submitted by Preston Chiaro and Henry Golas of the Death Valley Conservancy 

The Bluw-Up team from DVC

One of the DVC's most valued partnerships is with the Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site in Bishop, CA. During 2016, while the DVC were constructing our reproduction Death Valley 20-Mule Team Borax Wagons to appear in the 2017 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA, Laws raised funds and constructed a dedicated exhibit barn to house the wagons. At that time many ideas were tossed around regarding what additional exhibits might go into the wagon barn; the notion of installing a mural on the back wall was near the top of the list. We just needed time to raise the funds for it. We're happy to announce that this project to enhance the wagon barn experience is now completed.

Long Gone River Towns of Owens Valley

Before Inyo County existed there were towns along the Owens River populated by miners castoff from the declining California 49er Gold Rush. They were drawn to the Owens Valley River Valley, as it was called back then, by reports of riches coming from its eastern mountains. In the early 1860s miners, followed by merchants, coalesced into bustling communities along the eastern edge of the Owens River: Owensville, San Carlos, and Bend City.

Feasting on Power

The tranquil streams of Bishop Creek Canyon belie the powerful economic impact they had on Nevada and California in the early 1900s.  The canyon’s ideal combination of water and gravity produced hydro-electricity, creating great wealth for two states and two dominant industries. But practical use of electricity was in its infancy.  Just a few decades earlier those who consumed it had to live close to power generators.  For miners in the western deserts, that was a problem.

The Birth of the Laws Museum

Laws Museum grew very slowly at first, starting with museum members painstakingly restoring the Agents House with authentic period furnishings actually used by the early pioneers. From the mid-60s to the early-70s, members and volunteers had occasional “work parties” to clear the grounds, trying to stay ahead of the brush and weeds. Then buildings began to arrive

The Red Apple Route

In the year 1908 Owens Valley residents had already been riding the Carson and Colorado Railroad for nearly 25 years.  But now grumbling began to surface from a frustrated population; the train was on the wrong side of the Valley. The railroad was built specifically to serve mining operations on the eastside, but the population centers were to the west. Residents wanted a railroad connecting their towns, and they were ready to make it happen.