Mormon Fort, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Mormon Fort in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a historic site that holds significance in the region’s history. It is also known as the Old Mormon Fort State Historic Park. The fort represents the birthplace of Las Vegas and is considered the first permanent, non-native settlement in the Las Vegas Valley.

Here are some key points about the Mormon Fort:

  1. Establishment: The fort was established by a group of Mormon missionaries led by William Bringhurst in 1855. They were sent to the area to establish a way station along the Old Spanish Trail.
  2. Purpose: The Mormons built the fort to provide a place for travelers and settlers to rest and replenish supplies as they journeyed through the region. It served as a crucial stop for those traveling between Salt Lake City and Southern California.
  3. Abandonment: Due to conflicts with local Native American tribes and other challenges, the Mormons abandoned the fort in 1857.
  4. Later History: The fort had various uses over the years, including serving as a ranch and a military post. In the early 20th century, efforts were made to preserve and restore the site.
  5. State Historic Park: Today, the Old Mormon Fort is a state historic park managed by the Nevada Division of State Parks. It offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s past, featuring reconstructed adobe buildings and interpretive exhibits.
  6. Location: The Mormon Fort is located in downtown Las Vegas, near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue.

Visitors to the Mormon Fort can explore the historic structures, learn about the early pioneers who settled in the area, and gain insights into the challenges faced by the original inhabitants. The site provides a contrast to the modern development of Las Vegas and highlights its historical roots.

Old Spanish Trail and Las Vegas


Meadow at Las Vegas Springs

Las Vegas has historical connections to the Old Spanish Trail, which was crucial in developing and expanding trade routes in the American Southwest during the 19th century.

  1. Trade Route Influence: The Old Spanish Trail passed through the general vicinity of what is now Las Vegas. This trail served as a trade route between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the coastal areas of California. It was used by traders, trappers, and others involved in commerce.
  2. Water Source: Las Vegas, which means “The Meadows” in Spanish, was named after the natural artesian springs in the area. These springs provided a reliable water source for travelers along the Old Spanish Trail, making Las Vegas an important stop for those traversing the harsh desert landscape.
  3. Stopping Point: The springs in the Las Vegas Valley made it a natural stopping point for travelers, providing a place to rest, replenish water supplies, and allow livestock to graze. This contributed to the area’s significance along the Old Spanish Trail.
  4. Connection to Mexican Trade: The Old Spanish Trail was part of the larger system of trade routes that connected Mexico with the western regions of North America. It facilitated the exchange of goods and helped integrate the economies of different regions.
  5. Transition to Modern Era: While the Old Spanish Trail fell out of use with the advent of more direct transportation routes, the presence of reliable water sources continued to make Las Vegas a notable location in the arid landscape of the Southwest.

Today, the historical significance of the Old Spanish Trail is recognized in the region. Efforts have been made to preserve and commemorate parts of the trail, and there is ongoing interest in its history. Having grown from a small oasis in the desert, Las Vegas has transformed into a major metropolitan area. Still, its history as a stopping point along the Old Spanish Trail remains an important part of the region’s heritage.

Travelers and history enthusiasts can explore this connection by visiting historical sites in and around Las Vegas, learning about the Old Spanish Trail’s impact on the area, and appreciating the city’s unique role in the broader context of Western exploration and trade.

Points of Interest in the Mojave

The Mojave Desert, located in the southwestern United States, is known for its unique landscapes and interesting points of interest. Here are some notable places to visit in the Mojave Desert:

  1. Joshua Tree National Park: Famous for its otherworldly Joshua trees, it offers stunning rock formations, hiking trails, and stargazing opportunities. Key attractions include Skull Rock, Hidden Valley, and Keys View.
  2. Death Valley National Park: While part of Death Valley extends into the Mojave Desert, this park is worth mentioning. It’s the hottest and driest national park in the United States. Highlights include Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America), Dante’s View, and Artist’s Palette.
  3. Red Rock Canyon State Park: Located in the El Paso Mountains, this park features dramatic red rock formations, cliffs, and canyons. It’s a great place for hiking, rock climbing, and photography.
  4. Kelso Dunes: These are large dunes located in the Mojave National Preserve. The dunes can reach heights of up to 650 feet and are known for “singing” or booming when the sand is disturbed.
  5. Mojave National Preserve: This vast area encompasses diverse landscapes, including cinder cone volcanoes, Joshua tree forests, and the Kelso Depot Visitor Center. The preserve offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring old mines.
  6. Calico Ghost Town: A former silver mining town, Calico is now a ghost town restored for tourists. Visitors can explore historic buildings, learn about the town’s history, and experience a taste of the Old West.
  7. Amboy Crater: A volcanic cinder cone in the Mojave Desert, Amboy Crater is a unique geological formation. Visitors can hike to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding desert.
  8. Hole-in-the-Wall: Located in the Mojave National Preserve, Hole-in-the-Wall is known for its unique rock formations, including natural arches and tunnels. There are hiking trails that lead to these formations, providing a chance to explore the area.
  9. Mitchell Caverns: In Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, Mitchell Caverns offers guided tours of limestone caves. The caverns feature stalactites, stalagmites, and other interesting formations.
  10. Lake Mead National Recreation Area: While primarily known for its lakes and water-based activities, it extends into the Mojave Desert. It offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and exploring the desert landscape.

When visiting these places, be sure to check for any updates on accessibility, weather conditions, and park regulations. Additionally, always practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the beauty of the desert environment.

Roads West

Mojave Road and Beale’s Wagon Road are historic routes in the southwestern United States, particularly in the Mojave Desert region. Here’s some information about each:

  1. Mojave Road:
    • The Mojave Road is a historic trail that traverses California’s Mojave Desert. It was a significant route used by Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, and later by American pioneers and traders.
    • The trail is approximately 138 miles long and extends from the Colorado River near present-day Needles, California, to the Mojave River near present-day Barstow, California.
    • It was primarily used for transportation and trade between the Colorado River and the coastal settlements in California. The trail passes through varied desert landscapes, including sandy stretches, rocky terrain, and mountainous areas.
  2. Beale’s Wagon Road:
    • Beale’s Wagon Road, named after Edward F. Beale, a military officer and explorer, was a trail developed in the 19th century for the U.S. Army to improve communication and transportation across the arid lands of the American Southwest.
    • Edward F. Beale surveyed and established the road in the late 1850s. The road ran from Fort Defiance in Arizona to the Colorado River, passing through present-day Arizona and California.
    • Beale’s Wagon Road was designed to be more reliable and accessible than other trails, facilitating military movement and communication between California and the western territories.

Mojave Road and Beale’s Wagon Road were important in the United States’ westward expansion. Today, these routes attract history enthusiasts, adventurers, and off-road enthusiasts who explore them to experience the challenges faced by those who traveled these paths in the past. Keep in mind that conditions and accessibility of these trails may vary, so it’s important to check for current information and any regulations before embarking on a journey along these historic routes.

Old Spanish Trail

The Old Spanish Trail is a historic trade route that connected Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, and passed through what is now the southwestern United States, including parts of Nevada. The trail was established in the early 19th century and was primarily used for transporting goods, primarily luxury items like furs, mules, and horses.

Here are some key points about the Old Spanish Trail:

  1. Origins: The Old Spanish Trail is not Spanish in origin. Mexican and American traders established it in the early 19th century. The trail network was developed to extend the more well-known Santa Fe Trail, connecting Santa Fe with California.
  2. Trade and Commerce: The primary purpose of the trail was to facilitate trade between the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and California. Goods from Santa Fe, such as woolen goods and furs, were traded for California horses and mules.
  3. Route: The trail had several branches, but the most common route passed through present-day Arizona, southern Utah, Nevada, and California. It roughly followed the course of the Virgin River in what is now southwestern Utah and crossed the Mojave Desert before reaching the coastal areas of California.
  4. Difficulty and Challenges: Traveling the Old Spanish Trail was challenging. The journey was perilous because of the harsh desert environment, lack of water, and difficult terrain. Many sections of the trail required careful navigation to ensure the safety of the travelers and their livestock.
  5. Decline: With the opening of the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 19th century, the Old Spanish Trail lost its significance as a major trade route. The development of more accessible transportation options led to its decline.
  6. Legacy: Despite its relatively short period of use, the Old Spanish Trail left a lasting impact on the history and development of the American Southwest. Today, parts of the trail are preserved, and efforts have been made to recognize its historical importance.

The Old Spanish Trail is a testament to the interconnected history of the American Southwest and the role of trade routes in shaping the economic and cultural landscape of the region during the 19th century.


“Death Valley” Scotty, whose full name was Walter E. Scott, was a colorful and legendary figure associated with Death Valley, a desert valley located in Eastern California. Scotty gained fame in the early 20th century for his claims of owning a gold mine in Death Valley and for his flamboyant personality.

Scotty’s story is closely tied to his relationship with wealthy Chicago businessman Albert Johnson. In the early 1900s, Scotty convinced Johnson to invest in his supposed gold mine, even though there was little evidence to support the existence of significant gold deposits. Despite the skepticism of others, Johnson continued to finance Scotty’s ventures, and the two became unlikely friends.

With his charismatic and theatrical personality, Scotty became a well-known character, and his antics and stories helped attract attention to Death Valley. He was known for his cowboy attire, tall tales, and his ability to charm people.

Scotty’s gold mine claims were largely exaggerated, and there is little evidence that he ever discovered a significant amount of gold. The financial arrangement between Scotty and Johnson remained a subject of speculation and mystery.

After Johnson died in 1948, it was revealed that much of the financing had come from Johnson himself, and Scotty had not been as successful in the mining business as he claimed. Despite the deceptive aspects of his story, Scotty remained a beloved figure in Death Valley folklore, and his former home, Scotty’s Castle, is a popular tourist attraction in Death Valley National Park.

The legacy of “Death Valley” Scotty is a mix of fact and fiction, blending the mystique of the Old West with a touch of showmanship and exaggeration.

“Seldom Seen Slim”

“Seldom Seen Slim” was a nickname for a man named Charles Ferge, who lived in the Panamint Valley of California. He was known for his reclusive lifestyle and infrequent appearances in town, leading to the nickname “Seldom Seen Slim.” He was a prospector and a colorful character in the region’s history. The nickname reflects his tendency to avoid social interactions and to be rarely seen by others.

He claimed he wasn’t lonely because he was half coyote and half burro!

AKA “Seldom Seen Slim”

“Me lonely? Hell no! I’m half coyote and half wild burro.”

Seldom Seen Slim said these words many times, and they are the epitaph on his grave at Ballarat Cemetery in Ballarat, California.

Seldom Seen Slim, named Charles Ferge by his parents, was born in Illinois in 1881, according to wellfare records. Slim always said, “I got no people, I was born in an orphanage.

Slim came to Ballarat sometime between 1913 and 1917, not long after the town was abandoned by the miners who had been seeking their fortunes in the silver mines of the Panamint Mountains. He became the last resident of Ballarat, now a ghost town. Slim had a reputation as a recluse with a cantankerous side. He didn’t believe in showers or baths because “bathing was a waste of water”. Although, he did make into town for his annual haircut and bath whether he felt he needed it or not!

Slim was a visitor to Trona when the time came to stock up on supplies of tobacco for his corn cob pipe and to replenish his bottle of hooch. His reputation was so widespread that Walter Knott had statues of “Seldom Seen Slim” made and placed in his Knotts Berry Farm and Ghost Town in Buena Park, CA.

Slim was found ailing in his rundown trailer in Ballarat’s ruins and was taken 70 miles to Trona, where he survived only five days. His funeral was in Boot Hill in 1968 and was broadcast on television around the country before cable, as he was the last of a breed of prospectors who spent their lives living on the Mojave Desert in and around Death Valley. He was the first to be buried in the Ballarat cemetery in half a decade. After Slim’s death in 1968, at the age of 80, the United State Department of the Interior approved the naming of a peak in the Panamint Mountains in honor of Charles Ferge. The peak is now named “Slim’s Peak”.

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Oro Grande Train Robbery


They Are Investigating the Oro Grande Train Robbery

The Federal Grand Jury are today examining into the recent train robbery at Oro Grande when the mail car was robbed by men, one of the men is supposed to be Jones who died after he was arrested at the County hospital.

Three of the supposed accomplices of Jones, named Clyde Bennington, A. Caesner and D. T. Chilson, are now in the County Jail and it is the evidence against them that today is being considered by the inquisition jury.

Express Messenger A. C. Mott, who shot the dead robber Jones was on the witness stand most of the morning, giving substantially just the same evidence as heretofore. One of the striking men among the witnesses in attendance was Mr. Jones, the father of the robber who was killed. His sturdy face bore plain traces of the sorrow that he has lately endured.

It is strange that no trace of the twenty-three registered packages that were taken from the mail car can be found. The post office authorities, however, do not consider this as any serious defect in the case against the men as the want is supplied by other testimony, which is considered just as strong.

Life in a Desert Wash

A desert wash, also known as an arroyo, is a dry riverbed or gulley that occasionally fills with water during periods of heavy rain or flash floods in arid regions. Life in a desert wash is characterized by its adaptability to extreme and unpredictable conditions. Here’s a glimpse into what life in a desert wash might be like:

  1. Flora and Fauna:
    • Plants: Some plants in desert washes are adapted to survive both dry and wet conditions. These may include drought-resistant shrubs, grasses, and small trees. Seeds of various plants may lie dormant until the rare occurrence of rainfall triggers germination.
    • Wildlife: Animals in desert washes are often adapted to both desert and aquatic environments. Insects, reptiles, and small mammals may be common, taking advantage of the occasional water source. Larger mammals might use the wash as a corridor for movement.
  2. Survival Strategies:
    • Dormancy and Adaptation: Many plants and animals in desert washes have developed strategies to survive long periods of drought. They may go into a state of dormancy, conserving energy until water becomes available again.
    • Migration: Some animals may migrate to and from the wash, following the water source. This movement can be triggered by seasonal changes or the availability of food and water.
  3. Flash Floods:
    • Quick Response: Life in a desert wash must be adaptable to sudden changes. Flash floods can transform a dry riverbed into a rushing torrent of water in a matter of minutes. Some animals have evolved behaviors or adaptations to quickly escape or take advantage of these temporary water sources.
  4. Biodiversity Hotspots:
    • Rich Ecosystems: Desert washes can be biodiversity hotspots despite the harsh conditions. The intermittent water flow creates a mosaic of habitats, supporting various life. The contrast between wet and dry periods contributes to the diversity of species that can inhabit these areas.
  5. Challenges:
    • Water Scarcity: Water scarcity is the primary challenge for life in a desert wash. Species must be adapted to survive with limited water resources and quickly respond to the unpredictable nature of rainfall.
    • Temperature Extremes: Desert environments often experience extreme temperatures, ranging from scorching heat during the day to cold nights. Life in a desert wash needs to endure these temperature fluctuations.
  6. Human Interaction:
    • Cultural Significance: In some regions, desert washes hold cultural significance for local communities. People may have traditional practices and stories associated with these areas.
    • Conservation: The fragile ecosystems of desert washes are susceptible to human activities. Conservation efforts are crucial to preserving the unique flora and fauna that depend on these environments.

Life in a desert wash is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of nature in the face of challenging environmental conditions. The flora and fauna that inhabit these areas have evolved unique strategies to cope with the extremes of desert life, making these ecosystems fascinating and diverse.