An Old West Business Lunch
Old West Business Lunch
As much as anything else, a place’s ability to keep from becoming a ghost town was its ability to get the railroad.
When iron ore shipped by train arrived at a plant in Kearny, New Jersey, in the fall of 1878, more than forty thousand people were on the jobs. Thirteen mills employed a total of 2,000 men, all of whom were either digging or working the mines. Miner’s crude leather and iron were sent through a new mine at South Park, sprang from the crushed rock and dumped into a sixteen-inch-diameter hole in the ground. Before the railroad reached the town, a crew of twenty-five men would shovel dirt into tanks until it had Fill Jewett, the iron-mine-to-mountain-mine-to-mountain-mine-worker’s-mile across the hole. Once that was done, the dirt was shot into the hole until the hole was no more than a hole, after which it was filled with lumps of iron ore.
The shot made the mine out of the ground financially useless and almost abandoned, but the men stuck it until they could find a use for it. One man’s deed was to dig a canal and stake the town square in 1879, but that didn’t prove successful and in 1882 the town was sold to the Pennsylvania railroad company. It was used as a holding point for goods being transported by the railroad company to their plants inanticine. In 1885 the railroad company abandoned the plot of land on which the town once stood and the businessmen began renting the outlying area to fertilizer companies, but that didn’t prove so popular with the farmers in the area and in 1887 they were required to leave the town.
All that remained were a few ranchers and a house on Old County Road with a saloon, but in the summer of 1893, while the saloon was being rebuilt on the 22nd floor of the Edison Penitentiary, former prison inmates and their families arrived in search of a new town and the life that the railroad had promised. Theleeves of the penitentiary Newton stood as a welcome sign on Old County Road, but in the summer of 1897 the residents were scattered and it was hard to find. Traveling through the Southwest by train was like traveling in a dream through a fun house. people who drove through the mountains seeking a new town every few days, but after a few weeks they grew bored with the traveling and made up their minds that the old town of Newton is the one for them.
President Grover Cleveland and the railroad were given a big congratulations for helping to stimulate the economy and to answer the needs of the seemingly unending demand for more and more railroads. The people of Boulder Valley were very glad of the stimulus package, but a little less than a year later they were forced to be thankful for the end of the railroad threat.
The people of the railroad area were a tight bunch and were dependent on the railroad, its products and its employees. When the end of the rail line came, it was a nightmare to Essenteen, basically everything surrounding the tracks was wrecked and the city was left to its own rearguard for survival. For those that were lucky enough to escape with their lives, their next stop was to the big Sacramento Railroad depot, where they were met by Colonel Fitch, the reputed leader of the relief train.
This was a welcome respite for everyone involved, but the relief was only temporary. Slow moving, in the interest of saving lives it was not long-lasting. downstream, the army was pulling back from the area, and in August of 1900 the last freight car rolled across the tracks at Spillway. Old West Business Lunch
Everyone involved took a look at the landscape in Elko County where the tracks lay abandoned. There are picnic tables there, just about every available surface. The ground is slowly eroding, the creek bed is basically gone. What remains of the train tracks are four or five distinct lines, all of them dead-end in the river, with the exception of a few. The relief here is much more dramatic, it is hard to imagine what it looked like from the ground when he track was green.
When this photo was taken, the Spillway was dry; there were no tress in the county where it was taken, so the track itself was still stood and the water was over the banks of the creek. trackside village information
The Spillway marker is a symbol of the type of tough character that survived the region. These are the people who settled this land and they made it what it is today, a prosperous tourist destination in northern Nevada. Old West Business Lunch