Posts Tagged ‘Nevada’

A.L. Westgard visits Frenchman’s Station

March 12, 2015
French1922_UM lhc0819

Looking west at Frenchman’s Station, aka Bermond’s Ranch, Nevada, 1922. University of Michigan Special Collections Library, lhc0819.

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Here’s a fun and fascinating story by Anton L. Westgard from his 1920 book “Tales of a Pathfinder” about Frenchman’s Station, a tiny outpost on the Lincoln Highway east of Fallon, Nevada. It was named for its French proprietor, Aime Bermond, who opened the stage station in 1904. The USPS named the site Bermond, with the Frenchman himself as postmaster. The business survived into the 1980s, when the building was sold to the Navy — the area is used for air warfare training by the Fallon Naval Air Base. It was demolished in 1987; only a few scattered remnants mark the site, which you can see at https://goo.gl/maps/yX50c.

French

 

“FRENCHMAN’S STATION”

One moonbright midsummer’s evening our party arrived at Frenchman’s Station, located in the most arid part of Central Nevada near the trail that in former days was the Pony Express route and two generations later became the Lincoln Highway. The station was kept by a Frenchman who made a living by hauling water from a spring, twelve miles distant, and selling it to freighters hauling ore and supplies between mining camps to the South and the railroad at Eureka. He also had sleeping accommodations in one of the two rooms in his cabin and furnished meals to travelers.

As the hour was late and my wife somewhat tired, we thought, that rather than take the time to pitch the tent and prepare camp, we would look over the accommodations of the station. I was deputized to examine these and report. I found that the double iron bedstead in the “guest room” occupied every inch of space necessitating undressing in the other room or perform the feat in the bed somewhat in the manner necessary in a Pullman berth. The facts were promptly reported back to the car.

Friend wife thought she had better have an individual peep and after looking the situation over thought it would do if the host would furnish clean linen. After having this cryptic word explained to him as meaning clean sheets and pillow cases he rolled his eyes and sputtered a flow of protestations assuring us that we need have no worry about the linen as the people who slept in that bed last were perfectly clean people, in fact as he put it: “as clean as Bill Taft.” Mr. Taft at that time was our President.

Eventually we succeeded in inducing the production of satisfactory bedding and proceeded out into the lean-to shed of a kitchen in anticipation of something to eat. Here my wife discovered a luscious-looking watermelon partly covered by a wet cloth to keep it cool and at once made a requisition on a generous slice. Our host, however, held up his hands in protest and with many apologies maintained that to grant this request would be out of the question and entirely impossible as he had had it brought all the way from Reno in anticipation of the visit of the “great pathfinder” who was expected over the route on an inspection trip as stated in the Reno papers and this was intended as a pleasing surprise to the great man. To encounter a luscious watermelon in the most arid part of Nevada, a hundred miles from a railroad, would be sure to convince him that after all this route had its advantages and should be advocated as a National touring boulevard and thus bring lucrative business to the station.

When my wife asked who this great man was he produced a copy of a Reno newspaper a few days old which contained an account of the expected visit of her husband. The half-tone photograph accompanying the article was taken when I wore city clothes and thus he had not recognized me. We chose not to enlighten him and enjoyed a fair meal sans watermelon. Our host in the meantime volubly set forth his bright prospects of future profits from travel over the expected boulevard. He was so earnest and enthusiastic that we did not have the heart to discourage him.

Now on the door of my car was a small brass plate on which was engraved my name and official position. Next morning when I went out to the car to see if everything was all right, I found the watermelon on the tonneau floor covered by the wet cloth but our host was nowhere in sight. In fact we prepared our own breakfast and only when we were ready to depart did he come from behind a nearby small hill and with tears in his eyes uttered his profound mortification over the fact that he had not recognized me, and his hopes that I would not let “this unfortunate demonstration of his absurd stupidity” influence me against “locating the boulevard” past his station.

While the boulevard is still only on the maps this route has attracted such a share of the transcontinental motor traffic that it is safe to assume that our host is reconciled for the lack of the boulevard by the increased flow of revenue from the tourist traffic. At least I hope he is as he was a cheerful, good old soul, residing alone out there in the barren and burning desert.

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Wounded veterans biking the Lincoln Highway

June 11, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
From May 28-July 28, a group of wounded warriors from America’s military is riding bicycles, hand cycles, and recumbent cycles from the Pacific to the Atlantic following much of the Lincoln Highway. For more than 20 years, the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports has organized athletic events for disabled and able bodied citizens, from mountain climbing to white water rafting. This year, 18 athletes are biking 3,698 miles from San Francisco to Virginia Beach.

Participating veterans of the Sea to Shining Sea ride live with disabilities ranging from loss of limbs to blindness to Post Traumatic Stress. These veterans served America in wars from Afghanistan and Iraq to Vietnam. Learn more at www.s2ssbikeride.org/2012-news/2012/6/6/along-the-lincoln-highway.html

 

Blogging the Lincoln Highway in NV and UT

November 17, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
I’ve been following a fantastic blog for a couple weeks. Grover Cleveland — his real name — writes “Camera and Pencil in the Mountains” that details his travels in the Sierra Nevada range. Last year he bought a 1919 Model T Ford roadster and converted it into a pickup truck. He’s hoping to follow a good portion for the Lincoln Highway centennial in 2013.

He told me, “I just completed a 1,500-mile trip in Nevada and western Utah. I covered as much of the 1913 alignment as could be found from Verdi, Nevada to Tooele, Utah.” He writes online that he wants to help fellow travelers: “To provide travel notes, recommendations, and some serious safety information. I got in trouble because I didn’t heed some professional advice — you shouldn’t have to.”

For this trip, he loaded his dog Beasley into a 1989 Tiger van: “A conversion on an Astrovan chassis, nicely equipped with kitchen, bathroom, a pop-top, and oodles of radio gear (I’m a ham radio operator – K7TP).”

Click the images here to see Grover’s large originals. Then follow his adventures at sierratraveler.wordpress.com/.

Order Lincoln Highway Companion from Amazon – click HERE

Denny's Lincoln Highway adventures continue

July 5, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Make sure you keep following Denny Gibson’s blog after the first day he hits the Lincoln Highway (his Day 9). Click HERE to continue with Day 10. Highlights include encountering snow at Donner Summit (note the LH “Subway” beneath the railroad overpass just left of center) and an adventurous ride along the sometimes perilous Kings Canyon Road (on a tour led by Nevada LHA director Jim Bonar).
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Lincoln/US 50 closing for repair at Echo Summit

May 12, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Starting May 11, Caltrans will close U.S. 50/Lincoln Highway at Echo Summit for approximately two weeks to replace a rock wall with a barrier that meets current safety standards while preserving the natural beauty. According to Way2Tahoe.com, traffic will be one-way on May 9–10 in preparation for the closure, and for approximately six weeks Monday through noon on Fridays following the full closure. (The highway will be open Memorial Day Weekend.) Highway 50 remains open to Placerville visitors and all other locations as far east as Sierra at Tahoe Resort. Click on the map to see it larger.

LHA conference committee meets at Lake Tahoe

April 20, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The 19th annual Lincoln Highway Association conference will take place June 20–24 at Stateline, Nevada, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. The host hotel is Harrah’s Lake Tahoe (along with with Harvey’s), where you will register for the conference, browse the book room, enjoy the Opening Night Banquet, attend the Thursday program lectures, and celebrate the end of a great conference with Friday’s Continental Breakfast Buffet.

Paul Gilger, conference committee co-chair, sent a report from a planning meeting held Saturday at Harrah’s. Among the 20 committee members attending from Nevada and California were Jim and Lani Bonar at head of table, Bob Dieterich to Lani’s left, Geno Oliver 3rd from right, Bob Chase front left, with Paul taking the photo.

The group took a tram up Heavenly Mountain to visit Lakeview Lodge, site of the awards banquet.

Paul took a telephoto shot of the conference hotels: Harveys at left, Harrah’s behind tree at right, and the Lincoln Highway between them.

And then a shot of the Rainbow Bridge at Donner Pass.

Cave Rock on Lake Tahoe again in dispute

February 8, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Los Angeles Times reports that while planning for a 30-mile bike path along the Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe moves ahead, concerns from local Native Americans may halt the project at Cave Rock, considered a sacred site by the Washoe Tribe. The vintage slide below shows the site before a second tunnel was bored; the Lincoln Highway originally ran around the left side, which overlooks the lake.

The path is to be part of the Nevada Stateline-to-Stateline Bikeway Project, which aims to provide non-auto transportation opportunities that link recreation areas, community centers, transportation facilities, and neighborhoods in the bikeway corridor to expand recreational access and transportation choices for residents and visitors to the Tahoe Basin.

The Native American tribe doesn’t want people traveling around either side of the rock, which has been the target of past lawsuits over rock climbing. Proponents have looked into a route that would take the bikeway down the Old Lincoln Highway route, which roughly detours around Cave Rock on the lake side.

“The tribe is not interested in us using the Old Lincoln Highway,” project manager Karen Mullen told the Carson County Board of Supervisors earlier this week. “They are also not interested in us using the trail system around the other way.”

Project leaders told the board they want to keep the cycling route off U.S. Highway 50 as much as possible for the good of bikers and motorists alike. The path would connect Stateline on the south shore to Crystal Bay in the north.

Offbeat 1917 LH brochure touts water fountain

January 27, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
A brochure scanned and online for free download touts a Lincoln Highway water fountain design that was to be placed from coast to coast. Also proposed were cement tourist cabins to be built resembling Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin. Both ideas intended to honor the slain President. A map shows the “Reno Branch” of the LH from Reno, Nevada to … Los Angeles!

http://openlibrary.org/books/OL24589131M/Lincoln_Highway_Fountain_Society

Vandals cut down Shoe Tree in Nevada

January 5, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The famous (and world’s largest) Shoe Tree along the Lincoln Highway at Middlegate, Nevada, was cut down overnight last Thursday. The 70-foot cottonwood towered over U.S. 50 about 125 miles east of Reno. A gallery of photos such as the ones here can be found on Flickr.

According to the Lahontan Valley News, there are no suspects or motives:

There are a lot of angry people,” said Middlegate bartender Travis Anderton, describing the reaction from his customers. “That (the tree) helps out business. People come out to see the Shoe Tree.”… Anderton’s grandmother, Fredda Stevenson, is planning a memorial at the site of the tree on Feb. 13 from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The destruction of the Shoe Tree bothers Stevenson, who bought the Middlegate Bar and Restaurant 26 years ago. “I watched it grow up as a little tree,” said Stevenson, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years.

“We cried. It’s like losing a member of the family,” she said.

Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority, is another person who is outraged and hopes authorities can tie the loose ends together in finding the culprit or culprits.

“It was a quirky landmark on the Loneliest Road in America,” he said.

Click HERE for a page full of fond recollections. Note that comments on one of the news stories also included this viewpoint:

“That used to be a beautiful shade tree in the middle of the desert. It has since become an eyesore with all those stinky shoes hanging in it. An Historical landmark? Give me a break!… Good riddance to an ugly dead tree.”

Thanks to Loungelistener and Denny Gibson for the tip.

New SF travel column boosts Lincoln Highway

September 1, 2009

A new travel column at San Fransico’s examiner.com features the Lincoln Highway‘s Western Terminus marker and maps out a trip across California and Nevada.

CA_SF_Examiner travel