First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.”
I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.
To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2335; A Landing A Day blog post number 766.
Here’s my local landing map:
You don’t see Rochester, but more about that later.
My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Humboldt River (29th hit). The Humboldt occasionally makes it all the way to Humboldt Lake, but it never goes any further . . .
Let’s jump right on the Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin, and take a ride. Click HERE.
There’s some decent topography surrounding my landing. Here’s an oblique GE shot looking SW past my landing:
And one looking E:
Although I’d expect lousy Street View coverage, considering the boonie-esque nature of this landing, it’s not bad:
And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:
Drainage from my landing ends up in an unnamed arroyo that goes right along the road with Street View coverage:
And here’s what the OD sees:
My drainage goes through that pipe!
During the spaceflight, you probably noticed a nearby landing (2200) on your way in. For that July 2015 post, I featured Lovelock (the only actually-inhabited town anywhere close). At that time, I noted that there was an even-early Lovelock post, (October 2009, landing 1798):
I checked out my two previous Lovelock posts, and decided I’d lift a highlight from each. From my July 2015 post:
Of course, I checked out Street View coverage for bridges over the Humboldt. Close to Lovelock, I found two spots:
Here’s the upstream Street View shot of the river:
For Nevada, I’d say this is quite the substantial river! Now, let’s look at the downstream Street View shot of the river:
Oh oh. What happened to all of the water? I’ll zoom in to get a closer look at the river near the downstream shot:
So they dammed up the river and stole all of the water (reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell’s “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”). Anyway, what happens to the water? This . . .
A 15-mile stretch of obviously-irrigated farmland surrounding Lovelock.
From the September 2009 post:
I’ve discussed the Humboldt before; it’s the longest internally-drained river in the U.S., with a length of about 300 miles (all within Nevada). Staying with the Humboldt, I’ll present some photos of the river and the lake. I’ll start with these two shots of the river, just upstream from where it empties into the lake. Note that it is often dry; obviously these pictures were taken after significant desert rains:
Here’s a shot of the lake itself (taken at the same time as the river pictures):
A gentleman named Lawrence K. Hersh, a photographer, railroad lover and historian, put together a book entitled “Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada, 1868 and 1997 Photographic Comparatives.” Two of the comparative photos are taken near Humboldt Lake. First this picture from 1868, with Mr. Hersh’s caption below the picture:
Photo number 316, “End of Track, near Humboldt Lake,” circa 1868, is an excellent view to the southwest, showing a construction train stopped, headed eastbound, with lots of tents in the foreground. These tents were probably occupied by Chinese, whose contribution to the construction of this railroad made the Transcontinental Railroad a reality. The railroad grade parallels the west side of Humboldt Lake.
Here’s his 1997 shot taken from the same place, with his caption below:
Photo number 97316, taken in May of 1997, shows the general spot Alfred A. Hart photographed in 1868, from atop the sand hill on the east side of the railroad grade. This is one of my favorite photo sites. I can spend hours exploring this area, thinking only of going back in time, while standing on top of the sand hill. It appears as if the trail seen in the foreground of photo 316 can still be seen in today’s photo.
Enough of my old posts. For this post, I’ve decided to feature two ghost towns: Oreana and Rochester. But wait! Are they really ghost towns? Check out this Street View on I-80!
Well, Oreana kind-of-sort-of exists; here’s a Street View of downtown:
Rochester (as you’ll see) has some ghost town remnants, although most of it has been obliterated by a huge mining operation.
Anyway, I fund an excellent website that discusses both towns – Silver State Ghost Towns.com. First this, about Oreana:
By 1866, Oreana two mills to crush ore from the Montezuma mine at Arabia. A smelter was also constructed to process the crushed ore. By 1867 the townsite had a post office, hotel, general store, boarding houses, restaurant, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and several saloons.
By 1868 more bullion was being shipped from Oreana than any other place in Nevada. However, mounting debt and a tax default forced a total shutdown in 1869.
[Number 1 in Nevada, and then bankrupt? Sounds like some serious mismanagement was going on!]
New owners acquired the facilities in 1870-1871, but also had debt problems. The mills operated intermittently during the 1870s until the smelter was destroyed by fire.
From the same website, here are pictures (by Warren Willis) of what remains of old Oreana.
Moving on to Rochester. First, I need to locate it. As is often the case, GE will identify “towns” that are not shown on Street Atlas:
Once again, from Silver State Ghost Towns:
Migrants from Rochester, NY discovered gold in Rochester Canyon in the early 1860s. The townsite, and mining operations, did not really take off until silver ore was discovered in 1912. By November of that year, a full scale rush was on.
By 1913, the population boomed to around 2200, divided between four different town sites over the two-and-a-half mile “Main Street” that ran between Lower and Upper Rochester along the floor of Rochester Canyon.
Here’s a GE shot, looking up Rochester Canyon and old Main Street, towards what used to be Upper Rochester, but is now part of the Rochester Mine:
Back to the website write-up:
The town consisted of several saloons, a newspaper (Miner and Journal), substantial stone buildings, hotels, office buildings, dance halls, a post office, and even The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
[Wow. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra!]
The district’s mines made their best showing during the 1920s, but by 1942 most operations ceased (after more than $9 million in gold and silver was produced).
The remains of Lower Rochester are accessible, but upper Rochester is all but covered up by tailings from the current Coeur Rochester Mine operation.
Here are some Rochester pictures, once again by Warren Willis:
So there’s an active gold & silver mining operation where Rochester used to be. This about the mine from Wiki:
The Rochester Mine opened in 1986 and extracts ore from a conventional open pit operation. The ore is processed using cyanide heap-leaching to produce silver and gold bars. In 2012 the mine produced 2.8 million ounces of silver and 38,066 ounces of gold. The silver production cost is $14.05 per ounce of silver. Reserves at the end of 2012 were 44.9 million ounces of silver and 308,000 ounces of gold.
FYI, today’s silver price is $17.72/oz, so they’re making 17.72-14.05 = $3.67/oz. So in 2012, they made a healthy profit of 2.8 million x $3.67 = $10,300,000.
I perused the mine on Google Earth. GE shows amazing detail that’s absolutely true to the topography.
I made a couple of very short videos that give you an excellent view of the mine (strongly recommended viewing!).
I went to the Coeur company website. They have an informative video about the mining operation and the community. As you’d expect, it’s saccharine coated, but still worthwhile viewing.
On the Silver State Ghost Town website, I found this photo of a historical plaque in Lower Rochester (by Warren Willis):
It provides a little information, but check out the bottom. It says:
J.U.N.K. September 20, 1986
Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampouts
Julia C. Bulette Chapter 1864
E Clampus Vitus
What the . . . ?
I’ll start with E Clampus Vitus, and will borrow from three sources:
- “The Mysterious History of E Clampus Via” by Honorable Brother Al Shumate (on YerbaBuena1.com)
- “History and Ritual of E Clampus Vitus – a Non-Clampers Guide to Clamperdom” by Judge Frazier (on PhoenixMasonry.org)
Here are various tidbits from the above:
E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the silver and gold mining regions of the area.
By 1850 two fraternal organizations were active in the mining regions of the American West: the Masonic Lodge and the Odd Fellows (IOOF). Virtually all men of influence were members of either or both of these orders. Both groups were viewed as very strict in nature with impressive badges of office and formal attire. In short, they provided little humor and certainly no relief from the arduous task of just staying alive.
In 1851 a group of men at Mokelumne Hill, California, felt another fraternal organization, one much less serious of nature, was needed and The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, with an avowed dedication to the protection of “Widows and Orphans”, came to life in the west.
What is the purpose of the society? There is a description of the society that all of you have heard. It is claimed ECV is a historical drinking society; others claim it to be a drinking historical society. The debate continues; it has never been solved.
The motto of the Order, Credo Quia Absurdum, is generally interpreted as meaning “I believe it because it is absurd.”
The organization has raised historical plaques in many places throughout the West (often at sites such as bordellos and saloons overlooked by more traditional historical societies), with a traditional “doin’s,” or party, after each plaque dedication. These are now common in historical areas around California and the West — when in Gold and Silver Country, a Clamper-placed plaque is never far away.
It goes on and on . . . feel free to do your own Google search (“E Clampus Via”) if you’re so inclined. Wiki identified more than 50,000 members in 62 lodges in 1991. Peculiarly, I couldn’t find any more recent totals, although I get the feeling the Clampers are continuing to grow, with more lodges and more members.
I particularly like an opening statement in Judge Frazier’s piece:
“Material for this guide has been gathered from various sources including liberally plagiarizing, stealing, absconding, purloining, pilfering, looting and misappropriating the work of others. Be that as it may, I believe it is reasonably accurate.”
So, the Julia C. Bulette Chapter (chapter 1864) is responsible for the Rochester plaque. I like their nickname: Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampouts (J.U.N.K.). They have a website!
So who’s Julia C. Bulette? From OnlineNevada:
Prostitute Julia Bulette moved to Virginia City around 1863 when the lively mining boom town boasted a population approaching 10,000. Four years later, an intruder strangled her during the early morning hours of January 20, 1867.
Local officials arrested Frenchman Jean Millian when he tried to sell a few of her possessions. Found guilty and sentenced to death after a brief trial, Millian went to the gallows on April 24, 1868. It was Virginia City’s first public execution.
“Jule” Bulette lived and worked out of a small rented cottage near the corner of D and Union streets in Virginia City’s entertainment district. An independent operator, she competed with the fancy brothels, streetwalkers, and hurdy-gurdy girls for meager earnings.
Contemporary newspaper accounts of her gruesome murder captured popular imagination. With few details of her life, twentieth-century chroniclers elevated the courtesan to the status of folk heroine, ascribing to her the questionable attributes of wealth, beauty, and social standing.
There was an episode of “Bonanza” (the 1960s TV western) where Little Joe falls in love with Julia. (Papa Ben is not happy). They cast her as a saloon owner (not a prostitute), and Jean Millian (her real life murderer) is cast as a villainous rival for her affections. She’s not murdered, and she ends up a heroine for helping the townspeople fight an outbreak of “the fever.”
Alrighty now. It’s time for some GE Pano shots. I’ll start with this one by Mark Moudrak, taken about 4 miles SW of my landing:
And this, by David Goulart, of the westward-sloping valley through which my drainage flows on its way to the Humboldt:
I’ll close with another in the same valley, by Nitro 929:
That’ll do it . . .
© 2017 A Landing A Day