A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Ruth Nevada’

Ruth (revisited) and Jakes Valley, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on December 1, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2136; A Landing A Day blog post number 564.

Dan:  OK.  This is getting out of hand.  Six OSers in a row, with this landing in . . . NV; 85/77; 3/10; 2; 148.1.  The odds are roughly 50/50 OS/US, so six in a row = one chance in 26 = one chance in 64.  Enough already.

Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed fairly close to Ruth, Lane & Ely:

 landing 2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) landing video:


Zooming back a little, you can see Ruth, Jakes Valley and the low spot where drainage from my landing ends up:

 GE 1

Speaking of the low spot, there’s a low spot in the valley labeled “Circle Wash” on StreetAtlas.  I Googled Circle Wash, and I found this hilarious website:

circle wash fishing

Just imagine how many other places one could find where “there are no fish here.”  Anyway, while perusing GE (and after I had turned on the “roads” function), I saw this about a mile south of my landing:

 GE 2

Old Lincoln Highway, eh?  As regular readers know, I’ve landed near the Lincoln Highway a number of times and have featured it in several posts, including Hazen NV, Earling IA, Truckee CA, Tippett NV, Dugway UT, and Dugway UT (revisisted).  Anyway, the Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast road that could be negotiated by the automobile.  It was completed in 1913.

For this part of Nevada, nearly all of the references say that the Lincoln Highway follows Route 50, which it did in the 1920s.  But not in 1913!  In 1913, the road followed the route I’ve added in white (which includes the portion shown on the above photo):

 GE old lincoln highway

The road still exists, except for the far western end and the whole section around Ruth, which was obliterated by the mining operations (I just guessed at its location there).

From the University of Michigan Lincoln Highway photo archives is this back-in-the-day shot taken quite close to my landing:

old LHW shot

Here’s a shot of what the road looks like now (by Dale Southern, as posted in SierraTraveler.com):


Imagine crossing Jakes Valley on a dirt road in a Model T . . .

It turns out that I landed near Ruth back in February of 2009.  I started A Landing A Day in November of 2008, and this Ruth landing was just my 63rd post.  Click HERE to learn all about Ruth (it’s a cool post!).

Here’s a shot from that post of the town (from Sangres.com):


Since that post, I found this back-in-the-day shot (from IHPWorkshops.com):

IHPworkshops.com town back in the day

Also – my old post stated that the mine closed in 1999 (correct) and is still closed (incorrect).  It’s open and here’s a Panoramio shot by Thomas Galenbeck of the current mining operation:

 pano thomas galenbeck the liberty pit

And a current (and definitely not very exciting) video by Grover Cleveland of a dump truck dumping mine tailings:


Here’s a 1940 picture from my earlier post of which I am particularly fond:


Something else that I missed before was the Stephen King connection with Ruth.  From Wiki:

Stephen King was inspired to write Desperation as a result of a cross-country drive in 1991, during which he visited the small desert community of Ruth, Nevada, near U.S. 50. His first thought was that the town’s inhabitants were all dead. He then wondered who had killed them, and the idea occurred to him that the town’s sheriff had done so.


I’m reading Desperation, and it is creepy indeed.

I’ll close with this Pano shot by QWilleran of Route 50 as it crosses the northern end of Jakes Valley:

 pano qwilleran

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Ruth, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on February 7, 2009

Never been here before?  Check out “About Landing,” above. 


Dan –  So I root for the end of the “tedious” pattern, and what happens?  Four OSers in a row, that’s what.  Today’s OSer . . . NV; 61/59; 4/10; 6; 167.9. 

As for watersheds, this was one of those non-events.  My watershed entry reads “ut; Internal.”  (The little unnamed tributary I landed beside flowed north for a few miles, and then just ended . . .)

Anyway, I landed near (if you call 26 miles “near”) the town of Ruth, pop 400, (which itself, or herself, isn’t far from Ely).  Here’s a map:


And a broader view:


It turns out that Ruth has always been a company town.  From Wiki (mostly):

The town of Ruth began in 1903 when it was founded as a company town for workers employed at nearby copper mines. The owner of the mine named the settlement after his only daughter Ruth.  Within a year, the town had a post office, a hospital, and several boarding houses. All of the houses in Ruth belonged to the company.

With the opening of the  Nevada Northern Railway in the year 1906, copper production began to boom.  In spite of the boom times, saloons and bordellos were forbidden.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, in neighboring Riepetown (whose remnants were demolished in 1995), there were 16 saloons; although knifings and robberies were common.  Labor disputes often became bloody.  October 1912 saw shootings increasing and three strikers killed.  Nevada’s Governor proclaimed martial law for Ruth, in order to terminate the strike.

At the beginning of the Great Depression, Ruth had 2,300 inhabitants.  The company that had founded Ruth changed ownership in 1956.  The old city Ruth was demolished because of expansion of the open pit mining.  The new owner, Kennecott Corporation, offered the building of a new city with houses to the inhabitants for favorable prices.  The new settlement was turned over to the administration of the County.

Due to the frequent relocations through the years (because of expansion of the mine), Ruth got the name traveling town.

The mining of copper and the railway were shut down in 1999.  The current size of the out pit is 3.2 km long, 1.6 km across and 1000 ft. deep.

Here’s a picture of a portion of the abandonned open pit:


Here’s a picture of Ruth today, with a huge pile of tailings (waste rock left behind after separating out the copper) in the background:


Here’s another tailings shot:


Here’s a picture of some trains in Ruth back in 1909:


And a shot of some miners back in 1940:


From a photo exhibit entitled “Imaging a Shattering Earth” (click HERE), comes this picture and the environmentally-oriented write-up below:

Open pit

Opened in 1911 in Ruth, Nevada, the Liberty Pit is only one of many open pit copper mines in the United States. Run by the Kennecott Copper Corporation for most of its existence, the site brought success to the region for many years. However, in the 1980’s operations were closed due to “Uncle Kenny’s” inability to reach the Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The aqua marine water that appears so pristine in Peter Goin’s photograph is sadly not a place anyone would want to take a dip.  Besides creating enormous craters in the face of the Earth, copper mining contaminates ground water, causes landslides and erosion, and leaves the land ultimately unusable.

Perhaps even more intriguing than the environmental destruction of mining, is the profound impact it has on the people whose lives it sustains.  All over the country, in places like Ruth, whole cities sprung up overnight as a result of mining operations.  After years of relying on the mines, however, many of these towns disappeared in the same fashion when they were shut down.  After the Ruth Liberty Pit and other Kennecott operations closed, 2,000 people immediately left the area, school enrollment dropped 34 percent , and the unemployment rate exceeded 20 percent.

In the mid-1990’s BHP Copper, an Australian mining corporation reopened the mines, and provided a much needed economic boost.  While the restoration of mining was beneficial to the people of Ruth for the time being, the Nevada landscape was once again be submitted to the devastating effects of mining.  In June 1999, however, as a result of low copper and gold prices, BHP Copper laid off 452 area employees and left for good.  Today the mines remain inactive as the people of Ruth once again struggle to define their lives beyond the mines.

 Nothing simply about the issues raised above.  The world needs copper; people need jobs; the environment needs to be protected . . .




© 2009 A Landing A Day




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