Re: Darwin Part II
Posted by Cecile on November 04, 2002 at 11:07:45:
In Reply to: Darwin posted by Cecile on November 04, 2002 at 10:38:23:
Fire, the fear of all desolate towns, destroyed 15 major buildings in Darwin in April of 1879. Darwin's population dwindled to 2-300 people. June of 1880 the population dwindled to 80. By 1882, congressman Samuel D. Woods passed through town and declared "It seems as yet impossible that it could be a town where humans lived.. There could be no living in the higher sense in a place so devoid of everything that makes life even physically endurable. The principal business place of the town was a saloon. No hotel was visible and we were compelled to take our breakfast at a little restraunt." Renewed prospect interests during the World Wars of I & II sparked some renewed hope for the town... only to be short lived.
For a time between 1920-1937 Darwin attracted attention to the world once again. H.W. "Bob" Eichbaum built the Death Valley Toll road. He and his wife built a resort at the end of the road in Stove pipe Wells. Darwin was to become known as the "Gateway to Death Valley". Alas in 1937, highway 190 was built, re-routing the traffic and the tourist trade. Lone Pine got the honor of becoming Death Valley's gateway instead. Darwin's fate was written in the sand...
Today Darwin appears more ghostly than most ghost towns. The ramshackled buildings and old trailers that house Darwin's few residents, seem to have eyes peering from their darkened windows. A stop to the old miners dugouts on the way to the cemetery may surprise you with a Darwinite spending his summer there to keep cool. The cemetery itself is truly haunting.
Darwinites have a keen sense of humour about their past and present, by the way. Visit the link I'm including for the official website of Darwin.
Lest any of you think I'm advertising one of my tours by writing this - let me assure you that repeat customers of my tour business have given the town of Darwin and Dirty Socks Hot Springs, the dubious honor of being the only two places they do not want us to take them back to. Not familiar with Dirty Socks Hot Springs... I'll gladly write a little history and include here for you too if you would like.
I enjoy the histories of the places I go and now spend most of my time writing about them and sharing them with others. I am better at legends and lore, especially ones I have written myself, I like to call myself a ghost town gossipist. So I happen to be a tour guide on the side - sorry that offends some of you - when I hit the message boards a year ago I was not going to even let anyone know that - but people that knew me that frequent the boards mentioned it. I'm not going to hide who I am. If you like my histories and want to read more of them - and want to see my husbands professional photography, go to my website, skip the tour guide stuff which I put there as a courtesy for my husband and to show my background... and go to my slices of California History & Legends & Lore. I hope for my website to be as enjoyable as Desert Geographic and David Wright's Great Basin Research as it grows - they both have approached me and I think I can say they endorse what I do. They include their link here for you, I thought I would do the same, just to announce a new addition on the internet for people that enjoy the desert, the Sierras, etc. and it's histories. I'm not going to constantly bring up the website, I just announced it here twice to get it kicked off - it's up to you if you want to go back each month and see what other histories and little legends I have cooked up. If you don't, that's fine, too. Meantime, having only been in Death Valley 3 times in my life, I am going back there again in a few weeks with my husband's photojournalism class, and I hope I will have stories to tell you here that those of you who are condemning me will deem more appropriate to this site.