Page 4 Death Valley Packet
This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector
Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
"We got gold this time — lots of it."
The Sky They Rode In
Death Valley Park Ranger Stan Jones burst into sudden fame with national publicity on radio, in newspaper, magazines including Time, Newseeek on May 2, and Life June 27. Life photographers, newsreelers, newspaper reporters, motion picture directors trailed him through his patrols. His music in on the air "Roweling High." The first to take him to fortune is Riders In the Sky. He has contracted 28 other songs to appear.
He was born on the Desert and has lived 20 years on it, and three-fourths of his life outdoors. He says "I will always be a "brush monkey" at heart.
—L. Floyd Keller
Colonel Phat's Fort Oliver Dispatches
By PHAT GRAETTINGER
Editor Desert Sun
Swan k Palm Springs Newspaper
TWICE IN THE SAME PLACE said Harry Oliver as he came in this morning . . . A few weeks ago Dry Camp Blackie took for $1.80 in a tumble weed race by slipping in some flat-sided weeds which wouldn't roll as fast as Blackie's round ones . . . This week he said he lost $2.60 on a cock fight and after the dust blew away he found Blackie's rooster was a road runner with its tail cut off . . . Speaking of alarm clocks, Oliver doesn't use an alarm clock . . . He has a burro that brays regularly an hour before sunrise and at sunrise, on the dot.
BACK IN TOWN this week was Harry Oliver who, with Dry Camp Blackie, comprises the garrison at Fort Oliver over at 1,000 Palms . . . He had two new ones . . . One, he's going into competition with Avak . . . "Speaking of faith cures," he said, "the other night my right leg ached so I couldn't sleep. Reached into the medicine cabined and got out the Sloan's liniment . . . Rubbed it on, the aching stopped and I slepped like a baby . . . Next morning, found I had missed the bottle of Sloan's liniment in the dark and used furniture polish instead." . . . He said cement-laden trucks come down the hill from Garnet to 1,000 Palms so fast, they bounce off an average of six sacks of cement each . . . Blackie is going to write to the company telling them how they can save thousands of dollars a year . . . "Just load six less sacks on each truck," he says.
ONE WORRY, what has become of Harry Oliver, was ended this week . . . Dry Camp Blackie trekked in with a note telling how things are in Thousand Palms. . . . "Phat," Oliver wrote, "do you know of anyone who wants a 12-foot horned toad? She's for sale." . . . It all stems back to the recent Desert Circus parade when a local guest ranch asked Oliver to build them a float with a huge horned toad on it. . . . He did and he made it realistic . . . After the circus he took it to Fort Oliver, his 'dobe' he's building at Thousand Palms. "The burro still brays, my dog, Whiskers, still barks when I wend my way through the 300-odd potted cactus to my front door — but the place isn't the same, it's haunted, haunted by a great, big, baleful-eyed horned toad. Doesn't anyone want it?"
Phat would be my best press agent if he would only mention my paper once in a while.
Only One World Famous
11 Miles South of Indio on Highway 99
or Please Mail Your Order
1-lb. Finest Dates and Confections, $1.30
3-lbs. Finest Dates and Confections, 3.50
Including Delivery — write for Folder
VALERIE JEAN DATE SHOP
Play In the Sun, In the Water and Under the Wind
The SOUTH SEAS of the DESERT
250 Feet Below Sea Level
Swimming and Boating
Desert and Seashore Homesites
9½ Miles East of Mecca, California
SEE DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL MONUMENT
During the early days in Death Valley National Monument, all the entrance checking-stations were maned with CCC boys.
The favorite question of incoming visitors was, "Whereabouts is the Monument?" Quite recently an Eastern visitor stopped at headquarters and complained bitterly that she had driven 100 miles out of her way to see the Monument and all it amounted to was a little pile of rocks with a cross sticking out.
What she had seen was the lonely grave of Estevan Esteves, Portuguese rock mason par excellence, who built the artistic stone work around Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch. Some of his friends had erected a small but artistic monument to his memory close to Furnace Creek Inn.
Thanks to T.R. Goodwin, Superintendent
STOVE-PIPE WELLS DEATH VALLEY
George Putnam reports that the two questions most often asked ast Stove Pipe Wells are:
(1) How hot does it get in summer?
(2) How did Stove Pipe Wells get its name?
Answers: (1) 119 degrees was the highest temperature recorded at Stove Pipe Wells this year — the hotel by the way keeps open all summer. The all-time Death Valley record is 134 degrees.
(2) Prospectors travelling between what are now the ghost mining towns of Rhyolite and Skidoo dug for water near the Sand Dunes. To mark the hole, someone stuck a length of stove pipe in the sand beside it. Thus was born STOVE PIPE WELLS, the name subsequently adopted by the hotel.
HUMIDITY ABSOLUTE ZERO
The maximum temperature recorded in Death Valley was 134°F. on July 10, 1913, which constituted the world's record until September 13, 1922 when 135°F. was reported at Azizia, Tripoli.
The minimum for Death Valley occurred January 8, 1913 with 15°F.
Average annual precipitation i 2.41 inches. Average humidity 4. With occasional absolute zero.
Research has determined that air temperature at five feet above ground does not exceed 120—F. for more than four hours.
Temperature distribution form the sheltered thermometers (at 5 feet) indicating 125°F. to the ground surface follows.
a. Air at 5 feet .............. 125 degrees F.
b. Air at 1 foot .............. 150 degrees F.
c. Air at 1 inch .............. 165 degrees F.
d. Surface of ground ...... 180 degrees F.
By computation, the air temperature on the surface of ground can ge determined when the air temperature at 5 feet was 134°F. It would be hot enough on the ground surface to boil water or fry eggs and too hot for visitors to walk bare-footed.
$20,000 SHOT GUN
Bob Thompson, son of Panamint Tom stopped the superintendent one day in Furnace Creek Wash and without parley demanded that the rangers get back his $20,000 shot gun from one Monroe Wagnon, an employee of the Death Valley Hotel Company.
A $20,000 shot gun owned by an aged Indian was a new one in the Superintendent's experience and he asked for details.
"Wag he borrow my gun and no give it back, cost me $20,000 and I want him quick."
"What kind of shot gun cost $20,000?" inquired the Superintendent.
"I show Shorty Harris big mine at Rhyolite. He sell it, get $20,000 and I get shotgun," replied Bob.
T.R. GOODWIN, Death Valley Old Timer.
Here are two fine books about Death Valley to read and to give:
Death Valley And Its Country
The entertaining story of the Valley's history, character, tall tales, geology, animal life, plants, and ghost towns.
A novel of the piponeers backgrounded on the discovery of the Valley one hundred years ago.
Both Written By
George Palmer Putnam
AT YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER
DUELL, SLOAN & PEARCE, INC.
270 Madison Ave., New York 16, N.Y.
A Great Collection of Relics, a Faithful Reproduction of a Composite Old West Ghost Town
Open Daily, 12 noon to 9 P.M. Come and have FUN and a GOOD DINNER
KNOTT'S BERRY FARM
BUENA PARK, CALIF.
22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles
All the World Loves a Showman . . .
Death Valley Scotty's
As told by Lee Shipley, in his book "It's An Old California Custom"
Record Breaking Dash On The
The Vanguard Press, 424 Madison Ave., New York 17, N.Y. $3.00
DESERT RAT SHOWMAN
At 11 a swamper on a Twenty Mule Team. At 20 a champion cowboy with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
The last 50 years he has lived in the desert (and on the front pages of the nation's newspapers.)
In July, 1905, Scotty rode into the Mojave Desert town of Barstow on a mule and announced he wanted to charter a special train to get to Chicago as quickly as possible. No one had ever chartered a special train from Barstow, though it is almost on the edge of the Calico Mining district and is the place where the first borax mining was done. Everyone got excited, and Scotty bought drinks for all. Then he chartered a special train to Los Angeles — despite his great hurry to get to Chicago — and by the time he got there newspaper stories that he had struck it rich in Death Valley had preceded him. Several hundred persons met the train with cheers and followed Scotty from the station to the Hollenbeck Hotel, then the city's best. Still forgetting his great hurry, Scotty received informally at the bar of the Hollenbeck and waited till next day to call on John J. Byrnes, general passenger agent of the Santa Fe west of Albuquerque.
Then Scotty was in a hurry again. He talked as if he would buy the entire Santa Fe system if he had to in order to get to Chicago in forty-six hours which would have been record-breaking time.
On July 9, 1905, the Coyote Special pulled out of Los Angeles. It carried only a small party: Scotty, his wife, Charlie Van Loan — a great newspaperman and short-story writer, Scotty's yellow dog, and a publicity man for the railroad. What there was of the train was as luxurious as could be. Even the menu was a showman's dream:
Caviar sandwiches a la Death Valley
Porterhouse a la Coyote, two inches thick
Squab on toast with strips of bacon au Scotty
Ice cream with colored trimmings
Cheese Coffee Cigars
Scotty's dash for a speed record was the biggest news of the country. There were throngs at every station through which the special snorted. Wherever it stopped, big crowds gathered and shouted for only a look at Scotty, if they couldn't get a speech. The train had no time to stop at any towns in which there were no wire correspondents, but Charlie Van Loan had handouts for all the newspaper boys, big and little. The whole country panted as Scotty gained minutes and then hours on the schedule. Stations most of the country had never heard of got their names into the newspapers by wiring whether the train had gained or lost since it had left the latest previous station. "The little Arizona towns winked once at the Coyote and were lost in the darkness behind it." The crowds in little New Mexico towns could only shout: "Here she comes, there she goes!" Colorado and Kansas and Missouri forgot everything else to crowd to the stations, no matter at what time of day or night the train was due. Illinois made a holiday of the last day of the trip. And when Scotty had covered the 2,244¼ miles in forty-four hours and forty-four minutes he was the momentary hero of all the land. That was thirteen hours and five minutes faster than the Santa Fe's fastest scheduled limited train, and three hours six minutes faster than the contract called for.
Chicago celebrated. The newspapers overflowed with Scotty. There were stories that he lighted cigars with ten-dollar bills. Thousands of persons were inspired by visions of going west and getting suddenly rich. Scotty's wife confided that the trip cost seventy thousand dollars.
Showman Scotty remained in Chicago only long enough for the publicity to have its fling and went on to New York — as an ordinary passenger on the Twentieth-Century Limited. A New York paper heralded his coming by announcing: "Death Valley Scotty has taken $141,000,000 out of a mine in Death Valley and has spent nearly all. Julian M. Gerard, vice-president of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, once grubstaked Scotty for $4,000. Now that the mine has panned out rich Gerard comes in for half ownership."
A crowd of about one thousand was at Grand Central Station when Scotty and his yellow dog detrained, and that afternoon he had to hold a levee at his hotel. He began it by ordering four quarts of whiskey for the reporters. He explained his yellow dog by saying that when he had been down and out in Los Angeles no one had befriended him, and he had rescued the dog from a crowd that was chasing it with rocks. He said he fed the dog milk out of a silver dish.
But apparently there was no money to divvy with Gerard. When eventually the facts came out it was learned that the train had cost Scotty only fifty-five hundred dollars instead of seventy thousand dollars and had been paid for with hundred dollar bills. There is no record that scotty ever cashed in any large amounts of gold dust. In a trial in Los Angeles years later, Scotty testified he had paid for the train out of ten thousand dollars advance him by a New York mining engineer. No one can estimate the publicity value of the trip to the railroad.
Editor's Note— Be nice if the Santa Fe would give Scotty another trip to Chicago and good publicity too. Your editor would glacly enter a race if the Union Pacific supplied a train and wanted to prove something or other.
OLD PRUNES Colorado's Best-Loved Burro
By Mrs. James Rove Harvey From the Denver Post
No tale of the burro in the west would be complete without the story of Old Prunes, Colorado's best-loved donkey. Old Prunes came to Fairplay in 1867. No one knew how old he was then, but he appeared so withered and wrinkled that the mines called him Prunes.
He was a faithful old plugger, said to have worked in every mine in the Fairplay disctict. Prunes stayed so long underground that when his owners retired him, he had forgotten that he was supposed to eat grass; or perhaps it was just that his poor old teeth were too worn to chop it.
Anyway, when he found that his food supply depended entirely upon his own initiative, he learned to go to back doors and paw upon the porch boards until someone rewarded him with flapjacks or dry bread.
The children loved him. After school, they shared their cookies with him and took turns riding him up and down the streets of Fairplay. Gradually he became weaker and it was decided it would be more humane to end his worldly suffering.
The day they buried Old Prunes there wasn't a dry eye in the town. A monument was built to Old Prunes, with chips of ore from the mines where he worked forming the inscription.
When Robert Sherwood, old-time miner and companion of Prunes, died in 1931 at the age of 82, he was buried as he requested at the rear of Prunes' monument. There they lie, the old burro and the aged miner, together in death as they were so long in life.
I wish to thank Rob Scott of Denver for sending this story to me along with a picture of the Burro monument and graves.
The First Page of the Book DEATH VALLEY And Its Country
By GEORGE PALMER PUTNAM
Most fabulous of the desert places of America is Death Valley, sultry and surprising, seen first by white men only a brief hundred years ago.
The geologic story of the worlds creation is recorded here as nowhere else. Superlatives cling to it. Once called the deadliest sink, to be avoided at all costs, now it is the most visited, although with the scantiest permanent population. As well, it is the lowest, driest, and hottest place in America. It is so hot scorpions die in the sun, yet in the tourist season its prize view is best reached on snowshoes. It has the continent's newest land and the oldest. The first survey party used camels, and it was Chinese coolies who leveled a roadway across its salt flats.
More improbable facts are true, and more fantastic falsehoods are told, of Death Valley than of any other like region.
It has a "castle" that cost well over a million dollars, scores of miles from the nearest habitation, supposedly financed with a gold mine no one ever saw. There are mountains of borzx, beds of salt eighteen hundred feet thick, streams that become smaller the farther they flow, lakes that dried up a million years ago, sardines pickled in brine that coyotes eat, fossil tracks of elephants and camels, superheated winds that bring ducks down dead if not roasted, frogs that sing scales, hills that move when the wind blows.
In the region today there are no railroads, but some impressive depots where railroads used to be; one is a bar, another a school, a third a dance hall, and the fourth a home, with the ticket window opening between the kitchen and living room.
The local phenomena also include aborigines of sorts, a metropolitan resort hotel, complete with swimming pool, landing strip, and golf links, some of the weirdest scenery in the world, and a legendary character called Death Valley Scotty.
Scotty's incredible biography figures later in this volume, together with some account of his Alice-in-Wonderland abode and the wonderful yarns he will tell you there. His tales have all the flavor of the bizarre land where this modern Munchausen lives.
One night as we sat in the patio of Scotty's palace, a feminine tourist turned wide eyes toward our host.
"Oh, Mr. Scott," she twittered, "you have saved so many lives here on the desert, won't you please tell us one real story of your heroism?"
Scotty scratched his head. "Well, lemme think—"
"How about the old couple that were lost up Sure Death Canyon?" I suggested.
"Them? That wasn't nuthin'." Scotty grunted and shifted in his chair. "Well, I wuz out prospectin' when I come across an old man an' woman. They'd driv up in their auto an' the damn thing had broke down. They hadn't et or had a drop o' water fer two days. Must've been all of a hundred and fifty miles from anywhere.
"Well, I only had my burros, but I give 'em what water and grub I had an' started back to git help. Then I got to thinkin'. Time I got back them two would be dead. An' they'd sure to have suffered to beat hell. Took me quite a spell to figger out what to do."
"Oh, Mr. Scotty," the woman begged, "what happened?"
"Went back an' shot 'em!" Scotty wiped his eyes. "'Twas th' only Christian thing to do."
Your Editor would like to say:
And you Desert Rats can read it at any library, borrow it from some ranger, school teacher or bartender, or buy it. Costs same as a pint of whisky and got more fun in it. Lasts longer too. I am not preaching — better yet if you can have both at once. You tourist folks should buy this book at your booksellers or send for it, $2.75, Duell Sloan & Pearce Inc., 270 Madison Ave., New York 16, N. Y.
The newspaper with a definite desert odor, and don't MESQUITE me.
Matt Weinstock & Mark Twain On Weather
Matt tells of the time he heard a bus driver whisper confidentially to a passenger: "No question about it, the Weather Bureau is in cahoots with the Chamber of Commerce. How else could there be much more rain in Glendale than Los Angeles?"
It was Mark Twain, on a balmy day of Spring, who was hailed by every passing acquaintance with some observation on the state of the weather. Upon arriving at his destination and being greeted with, "Nice day, Mr. Twain," he replied dryly, "Yes, I've heard it very hightly spoken of."
Matt's book, "My L.A." has a chapter on earthquakes (you ought to read it). Out of the middle of the chapter I've taken this shaky story. In Tacoma, Washington, when it was rocked in 1939, guests in a hotel ran about in wide-eyed terror-stricken panic. One fellow remained calm. He made for a doorway, took a stance, and shouted above the din: "I'm from Los Angeles. We always stand in doorways."
A nervous bystander screeched, "I'm from Chicago. What the hell do I do?"
Mark Twain Would Like This
SOMEONE DID SOMETHING ABOUT THE WEATHER
The most famous of American "rain makers" was C.M. Hatfield, who, between 1903 and 1928, fulfilled virtually all of some 500 contracts to produce rain for parched farms and cities in southern California and received more that $500,000 for his services. Hatfield claimed that he simply released the fumes of secret chemicals contained in tanks he set up in the area under contract; and the public believed him because at least a little rain would almost invariably fall there within the time guaranteed. Finally, a noted scientist disclosed that Hatfield's success was due, not to fumes, but to his ability to determine, from weather charts, where and when it was quite likely to rain during the dry season from May to November. By accepting or rejecting a contract on the basis of these facts and by demanding 30 or 60 days in which to carry out his agreement, Mr. Hatfield rarely failed.
It don't take backbone to belly up to a bar.
Dr. Death Valley Scotty M.D.
Death Valley Scotty was bitten by a sidewinder (rattlesnake) last year. It happened on his ranch where he lives near Ubehebe Crater.
Scotty, who like the Indians, if they had work to do in Death Valley and its country in the summer, would work between dawn and sun-up, was out early repairing a leak in his water line when he reached for a wrench lying in the grass, the sidewinder nailed him on the thumb.
Scotty, who is 76 years old, said that he had been bitten four or five times before, and that he always goes prepared for them. He carries a bottle of serum with a razor blade attached in his pocket at all times. So, when he was bitten he slashed the wound, soaked it in the serum and then laid down in the back of his station wagon for a few hours.
Failure to keep calm after incurring a snake bite may lead to trouble, according to the man who has roamed the desert for almost half a century.
"Lots of damn fool ringtails start crying and hollering and jump around, instead of just opening the wound and soaking it with something like that super peroxide I carry," Scotty observed.
"A wink's as good as a nod to a blind mule."
KNOW YOUR ANCESTORS!
The mules at the Furnace Creek Ranch precipitate visitor comments among which is: "Are these asses descendents of the donkeys left in Death Valley by the early prospectors?" After a guffaw of the bystanders, the corral man tolerantly explains that "After all mules are not so fortunate as to have ancestors."
Kickin' never gets you nowhere, 'less'n you're a mule.
See Scotty's Castle
Southern California's most amazing showplace . . . Conducted tours of the Castle at a nominal charge. For overnight accommodations address Manager, Scotty's Castle, Goldfield, Nevada.
ONE YEAR $2.00 SINGLE COPY 25 ¢
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen
THE PONY EXPRESS
Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails
Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to The Pony Express Museum
500 Virginia Ave., San Mateo, California
Published Monthly at Placerville, Calif.
Keep Your Hat On Or Turn Showman
Death Valley Scotty leaned back in the big leather chair, puffed at his cigar, and told this one:
"One day I'm out in the courtyard diggin' a hole. An old sister came up to me an' says:
'You'll cook your brains, working like that out in this hot sun.' I says "Hell, if I had any brains I wouldn't be out here in this hot sun in the first place."
—Park Ranger Sam Houston
Death Valley Bad Water Not So Bad Says L. Floyd Keller
Badwater is good water since analysis indicates the presence of common salt, Glauber's salt, and Epsom salt dissolved in water — no arsenic. It is recommended that each visitor drink about ½ pint.
PAISANO — meaning fellow citizen — is the Mexican name for our desert Road Runner. New Mexico has made him its state bird.
Ray Hetherington AUTHORITY ON LOST MINES
The girl from Arizona talking to Ray Hetherington, made the claim that Arizona had more lost mines than California. Ray, who is publishing his second book on lost mines, answered, "But ours in California are lost better than yours." . . . Which reminds me . . . Ray's Ghost Town Book Shop at Knotts Berry Farm, Buena Park, California, is the only place that has copies of "Packet Two of Pouch One" of this newspaper . . . if you are looking for lost treasure.
Bill Magee's Western Barbecue Cook Book
This is the cookbook you've been waiting for! Ainsworth and Magee make an incomparable team as they depict the gustatory glories of the barbecue.
Preceding each selection of recipes you will find a wealth of material on the history of the barbecue and the succulent treats that stem from the first Spanish settlements. Anecdote follows anecdote as only Ed Ainsworth, Los Angeles Times Editor, can tell them.
Bill Magee is known throughout the Southwest as the best barbecue cook in the region. From a whole steer to a chili sauce, Bill pours forth a wealth of recipes gleaned from fifty-five years of cooking at the pit.
Take the guesswork out of barbecuing with the Western Barbecue Cookbook. Your guests will appreciate it — and so will you! Sixty illustrations by Clyde Forsythe.
NO TRESPASSING — THIS MEANS YOU
Keepin' a safe distance behind his prey, a hunter yesterday sloshed through the snow on Telegraph Peak on the trail of the biggest, most battle-scarred, most vicious looking mountain lion he had ever seen.
He had just come to a point where the tracks disappeared into the opening of a cave when he heard an earth-shaking din and, seconds later, watched from the top of a nearby tree as Panamint Pete emerged from the cave dragging the huge beast by the tail.
Pete gave the struggleing lion a resounding kick where he thought it would have the most effect, and was about to return to the cave when he tociced the hunter in the top of the tree.
"No blasted lion is going to share my fire on a cold day unless he brings in some wood," snapped Pete by way of explanation, and he disappeared into the entrance.
One of the 101 Adventures of Panamint Pete, by Leonard F. Murnane. Published by Hubbard Printing, Randsburg, California. $1.50.
Since '49, the Land of Historic Adventure
Located in the center of the valley . . . Explore the route of the Jayhawkers, the Arcane-Manly party who named the valley and who, during the winter of 1849 became lost seeking a short-cut to the California gold fields. This history will be commemorated in a colorful Pagaent on Dec. 3, highlighted by an exhibition of the famous 20 Mule Team, the same type that for many years hauled Borax out of Death Valley for the renowned
Furnace Creek Inn
Furnace Creek Ranch
20 Mule Team Borax Products
PACIFIC COAST BORAX CO.
LOS ANGELES NEW YORK h3>