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Wagon Roads

Los Angeles-Panamint Road

Built in 1874 by Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, using capital provided by Steward and Jones, major Panamint investors (Nadeau, 1965b, pp. 197-8) . Actual construction under supervision of a Richard C. Jacobs, one of discoverers of the ore bodies, and part owner of the Panamint Mining Company (Nadeau, 1965a, p. 105). Surprise Canyon road was improved at same time by Inyo investors headed by Barton McGee (Nadeau, 1965a, p. 106) . Road opened for first time the pass known today as the Slate Range Crossing, a difficult six mile stretch where the road had to be built up in order to allow wagons to travel the steep slopes (Cole, p. 13) . This portion of the road is sometimes called the "Chinese Wall," named for the alleged ethnic origins of the people who built it. Cole claims the location of the "Chinese stonemasons camp" is still visible, as well as the stone cabins they built there ( Ibid . ) This should definitely be field checked to determine if there are any remains that would identify as Chinese the builders or users of the cabins and camp. There is no precise documentary evidence of this claim. However, Steward frequently used Chinese labor in the mines and especially in construction of roads and railroads, e.g. on the Virginia and Truckee construction in Nevada. It would be likely that he would employ Chinese in building this road. Furthermore, The S. B. Weekly Argus of 1874 noted on September 21 that "Chinese for Panamint will arrive shortly and proceed immediately to the mines." This was after the Los Angeles-Panamint Road had been completed, but these Chinese laborers likely were put to work wherever needed, repairing roads, etc. They may have worked on the "Chinese Wall" after it had been roughed out and given it the finishing touches. They were active in the area following the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, prospecting for minerals and working in the mining camps. The borax deposits at China Lake were prospected by them in this period (Hoover, et al, p. 120).

Cerro Gordo Freighting Company hauled the Panamint bullion to Los Angeles. Remi Nadeau, co-owner with Beaudry and Belshaw in this enterprise, is usually the only man identified by writers in connection with this freighting outfit (cf . Nadeau, 1965a and b; Cole, Rossiter, 1875, p. 59). For that reason the various routes developed to serve the different camps are sometimes called "Nadeau's"; however, he did not actually construct them, and of course teams owned by other companies used these roads as well (cf. Covington, p. 8). He did, apparently, oversee construction of the improved road between Los Angeles and Cerro Gordo (see above #91)

John T. Searles and E. M. Skillings formed the San Bernardino Borax Mining Company in 1873 to work borax deposits disovered and claimed by Searles. in 1362 (Murdoch and Webb, p. 221) . Their development was handicapped by lack of a good road until the Los Angeles-Panamint road was constructed in 1874 (Rossiter 1875).

The road branched from the Owens River Road at Indian Wells. Identifiable sites include (Rand-McNally map, 1376)

124. Salt Station (today's China Lake), Desert Springs marsh, Rossiter, 1875.

125. Salt Canyon (today's Poison Canyon), Salt Wells Valley and Canyon (Thompson map)

126. Dry Lake (Borax Lake, Nadeau 1965a, p. 106; Searles Lake, Murdoch and Webb, p. 22).

127. Slate Range Crossing (Cole, 1977; Chinese Wall, Starry 1969) . /Unnamed on Rand-McNally map_j/

L. Lookout Trail, 1875

This trail connected

128. Lookout,

129. Modoc, and

130. Minnietta mines with the charcoal kilns of

131. Wildrose Canyon in the Panamints.

Remi Nadeau 's mule teams hauled the charcoal to the smelters at the Lookout camp (Nadeau, 1965b, p. 203).

The Modoc and Minnietta were connected by pack trains to Lookout camp, but the charcoal was hauled in wagons. This road is actually an extension of the Los Angeles-Panamint Road, built in 1874.

M. Amargosa Mines and Ivanpah Road

Route developed in 1860 ' s to Amargosa Mines in Washington District (cf . Farley map; Bancroft map 1863) . Amargosa mines developed as early as 1850' s with the establishment of a camp and mill at

132. Salt Creek on the Amargosa River.

Hafen's Journals of the Forty-Niners, the Beatties' Heritage of the Valley , Heap's diary in Central Route to the Pacific , many diaries of travellers of the period, speak of these developments. The route is partly depicted on the Rand-McNally map of 1876. It travels from Tehachapi Pass via El Paso City, and Granite Wells (previously noted in connection with Panamint Road from San Bernardino) , to

133. Burnt-Book Spring

134. Leach's Point

135. Amargosa Mines.

The cut-off on this road to Ivanpah is not shown on the Rand-McNally map. Very likely it followed the Amargosa south to Salt Creek, where it joined the Salt Lake Road, travelling south to Kingston Wash and to Ivanpah by way of Coyote Holes or Springs (cf. Piute Company prospectus, p. 14; Wheeler Report, 1872, Appendix A,. Report of Lt. Lockwood) . cf. p. 11-40 below.

136. Coyote Holes

137. McFarland's or McFarlane's Mine, on

138. Clark Peak

139. Ivanpah

Ivanpah was also served by the Old Salt Lake Road previously described. Less important wagon roads united the camp with ranches to the north, in Nevada. These roads entered the area via Ivanpah and Roach Dry Lakes and Mesquite Valley. Many locally travelled roads connected this route to springs and ranches which were important sources of supply for early travellers. (Sourr map)

Additionally, these wagon roads were used to connect the silver mines at Potosi, Nevada, with California. Two stage lines operated briefly over this route in the spring of 1861, (Los Angeles Star , April-June 1861) . The mines were abandoned as a result of the Civil War and the consequent deactivation of the military forts in the west (Los Angeles Star , June, 1861).

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