Owens Valley, Owens Lake & Bartlett, CA



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See USE NOTICE on Home Page.
Fotocards courtesy of the Rich McCutchan Archives unless otherwise indicated

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owens lake panorama
Sectional panorama of Owens Lake taken during the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct - Circa 1910
(West Coast Art photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Project)

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san francisco examiner
OWENS LAKE
The Los Angeles Examiner - May, 1874



From the Visalia Times: - Little is apparently known of this lake. It is ninety miles in length and fourteen miles wide, and its greatest depth of thirty feet. The bottom is apparently smooth and level. It is supplied by Owens River and numerous springs, and has no visible outlet. It is highly charged with alkali, borax and other elements, and is so strong that it will cut cloth, leather, destroy soap or grease. On the west side are the highest mountains in the United States: Mount Whitney being but a short distance off. Owens River flows from the north through a narrow valley, between two ranges, and enters the north end of the lake. Rugged, broken mountains rise upon the east. From the south extends a narrow, dry valley. The surrounding scenery is picturesque and grand.

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Why Owens Lake is Red owens lake

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Owens Valley Rock Art
by Jay C. von Werlhof


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Paiutes and Shoshones in Owens Valley, California
by Lawrence F. Van Horn


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Some Early History of Owens River Valley
by J. M Guinn


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The Story of Owens River
Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
by Allen Kellky


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Map of Owens Valley - circa 1910?
Map courtesy of the Claremont Colleges Library, Special Collections

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los angeles herald
The Owens Lake Monster
From the annals of the Los Angeles Daily Herald - July 21, 1868


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From the annals of the ...
pioche weekly record
Saturday - August 24, 1889
LOCAL INTELLIGENCE
An old Indian tradition has it that Owens Lake is inhabited by a monster sea serpent over thirty feet in length, and there have been white men and Mexicans who claimed to have seen it.
Saturday - November 29, 1884
It has been found that there is an excellent shampoo to be obtained in using Owens Lake water. Under the title of "Castilian" it is being put up in barrels and shipped. Last week a carload of fifty empty barrels arrived at Keeler from San Francisco, to be filled with water from the lake and returned to that city. A firm has started a business for the sale of the water, and will extend its correspondence and shipments to the East.
Vintage Newspaper Articles Courtesy of Hal Eaton

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morning appeal
Official Paper of Ormsby County
Wednesday, January 23, 1888
Deluging a Desert

H. M. Yerrington, President of the Carson & Colorado Railroad, and his associates, D. O. Mills, Nicholas Luning and other capitalists, have just concluded an arrangement with Professor Thomas M. Chatard of the United States Geological Survey, to take charge of their soda works at Owens Lake, Mono County.
Mr. Chatard was sent last summer by the government to examine soda deposits throughout the West, as he was considered a leading authority on this and similar questions. He has been induced by this syndicateto resign his position under the government, and will leave for the West on the 1st of March.
The scheme of the capitalists is one of the most stupendous ever undertaken in the West They propose diverting the waters of Owens River, allowing the lake to dry out, and carrying the waters beyond the lake into Death Valley, thus making a garden of the most desolate wilderness of the West, and opening thousands of acres for settlement.
They then propose to extend the Carson & Colorado Narrow Guage Railroad to a connection with the Atlantic and Pacific, in this manner making a very profitable railroad out of the C. & C.


Evening Chronicle
VIRGINIA CITY NEVADA
Wednesday, January 23, 1888

Deluging Death Valley

The Project Impracticable Unless Water Will Run Up-Hill

H. M. Yerrington arrived from Carson this morning. To a CHRONICLE representative he stated empathically that the press dispatch from New York announcing that D. O. Mill, Nicholas Luning and himself "propose diverting the waters of Owens river, allowing the lake to dry out, and carrying the waters beyond the lake into Death Valley, thus making a garden of the most desolate wilderness of the West, and opening up thousands of acres for settlement" was never entertained or even suggested by him or the above name capitalists.

He says the project is utterly impracticable, unless water can be made to flow up hill, as any one familiar with the topography of Inyo county is aware tha the Inyo mountains, a lofty range through which there are no passes that are not several hundred feet higher than Owens river, intervenes between that body of water and Death Valley desert.

Mr. Yerington remarked that it would be practicable to irrigate the Mojave desert with water from Owens river by excavating a canal, which would cost not less than $150,000, but after the canal was cut there would be no water as the flow of Owens rivers is diverted for irrigating the land along its course by ranch owners.
Vintage Newspaper Articles Courtesy of Hal Eaton

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evening mail
BIG LAUNDRY SCHEME
Owens's Lake as a Place to Wash the World's Dirty Clothes.
Carson Appeal.

While H.M. Yerington was in San Francisco a few days ago some parties called on him to ascertain how much he would charge a car-load to take dirty linen from San Francisco to Owen's Lake. They said their idea was to do all the washing for San Francisco at Owen's Lake, as they had heard that the borax and saltpeter in the water would make an old dirty shirt as white as the driven snow in Winter. They had founded a stock company with $100,000 capital, called the San Francisco and Owen's Lake Natural Laundry Company (limited). Mr. Yerington told them that there was no doubt about the cleaning qualities of the water. "Why," said he, "once when out looking for a new railway route I was obliged to wear a pair of socks three weeks, and when set up in the sand they would stand alone. I cast them into the lake and in five minutes they were as white as a shirt bosom."

"You bet, Bill, this is the boss scheme," said one of the trustees of the new company.

"But," continued the narrator, "when I went to pull the socks on they came all to pieces, because there is some mineral substance in the water that acts like blue vitriol. Once I left a shirt in there over night, and the tail and the buttons were all eaten off. If you could chemically eliminated the stuff that ate the buttons off the shirt you'd have a big thing, and if you ever do, put me down for a thousand shares."

Before he had finished the turstees of the new company had left the room and were fighting for the first call on the elevator.
Vintage Newspaper Article Courtesy of Hal Eaton


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owens lake
View of Owens Lake with a double row of piling seen extending across middle of picture.
(photo courtesy of California History Section Picture Catalog)

natural soda products
Elevated pipeline across Owens Lake from the Natural Soda Products operation at Keeler
(Eastern California Museum photo)

owens lake soda plant
The Great Soda Lake in Owens Valley - 1894 Harper's Weekly photo
(Photo courtesy Inyo County Sesquicentennial)

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Stereogram of Owens Valley and the Sierra Nevada
(Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Project)

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The Owens Valley Committee (OVC)
The OVC is a party to the 1997 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the EIR of the 1991 Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement.


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Owens Lake and Vacinity
1939 USGS Topographical Map


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Fotocards courtesy of the Rich McCutchan Archives unless otherwise indicated
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Owens Lake, CA
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Owens Lake, CA
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Owens Lake, CA
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Grading on the Owens Valley Electric Railway in Bishop - Inyo County
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Owens Valley circa 1924
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Owens Valley circa 1930
Owens Valley
Owens Valley circa 1930
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Cerro Gordo to Owens Valley tram circa 1930

road building
Road construction in Owens Valley (probably the El Camino Sierra)
with Owens Lake in the background
(Photo courtesy of Hal Eaton)

el camino sierra

The El Camino Sierra along the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada
(Photo courtesy of Hal Eaton)

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Owens Lake photo from "Men, Medicine & Water" by friends of the LACMA Library
Photos were taken by Raymond G. Taylor, M.D. on the occasion of the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct
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Owens Lake near the middle - 1909

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pittsburg plate glass company
Pittsburg Plate Glass Company plant on the western shores of Owens Lake at Bartlett
(Inyo County Sesquicentennial photo)

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plate glass company
Pittsburg Plate Glass Company plant on the western shores of Owens Lake at Bartlett
(Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea)

NOW
charcoal kilns
Sherman Stevens charcoal kilns on the western shores of Owens Lake
(Photo courtesy of David Woodruff)

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Owens Lake
(Photo courtesy of eBay)

soda ash operations

Soda Ash operations on Owens Lake over the decades.

California Alkali Company: 1917-1932
Clark Chemical Company: 1927-1928
Inyo Development Company: 1887-1920
Inyo Chemical Company: 1917-1932
Permanente Metals Corporation: 1947 - 1950
Natural Soda Products Company: 1915-1952
Pacific Alkali Company / Columbia-Southern Chemical Corporation: 1928 to present .

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Owens Lake Land Use

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Soda Ash Industry of Owens Lake - 1959
by Mineral Information Service


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Eastern Sierra Commitments and Issues - 2006
by Los Angeles DWP

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Owens Lake Soda Ash Company
Soda Ash Mining and Processing Project - 1994

by County of Inyo Planning Department
California State Lands Commission
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management


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Owens Valley Land Management Plan - 2010
by Los Angeles DWP

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The Development and Decline of Agriculture in Owens Valley
by Peter Vorster

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Dust mitigation efforts on Owens Lake, Owens Valley, CA
(Los Angeles Times photo)
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Alkali dust cloud coming off of Owens Lake, Owens Valley, CA
(Brian Russell photo)

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Owens Lake photo from the Water Resources Archives - Orbach Science Library
On the occasion of the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct
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Owens Lake - November 1906

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Owens Lake - August 1969
(Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea)

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Owens Lake
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Owens Lake

Bartlett

Bartlett, CA

bartlett

Bartlett, CA

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Owens Lake
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Owens Lake

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Owens Lake

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Owens River

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Produce from the Owens River Valley

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Owens River

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Owens River

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Owens River - Big Pine Canal

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Fisherman on the Owens River

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Attempting to cross the Owens River

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Owens River

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Motoring in Owens Valley before there was a paved road.

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owens lake loop
(Courtesy Desert Magazine)

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DWP workers erecting power lines across Owens Lake
(Photo courtesy Inyo County Sesquicentennial)
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DWP workers erecting power lines across Owens Lake
(Photo courtesy Inyo County Sesquicentennial)


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boat
Inyo resident George Larry with some friends, taking his nice looking boat to Owens Lake for a day out on the water.
(Photo courtesy of Tales Along El Camino Sierra)

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Vintage Map Courtesy of Hal Eaton
railroad stop map
Vintage 1910 railroad stops map - published by Sunset Magazine Homeseakers Bureau

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owens lake

Owens Lake - 1915
(Courtesy Calisphere - Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Inyo County: 1915-1916)

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Courtesy Calisphere


Owens Lake - 1969

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Owens Lake - unknown date: Photo taken from the Cottonwood Power House forebay

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Owens Lake - unknown date: Photo taken from the Cottonwood Power House forebay

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owens lake
Owens Lake - circa 1926
(Photo courtesy of the California Department of Conservation / California Geological Survey)

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View of Owens Lake from Cirque Peak -1905

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View towards Owens Lake from the Cottonwood Canyon Trail -1905

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View towards Owens Lake from the Cottonwood Canyon Trail -1905

sherman stevens sawmill
Colonel Sherman Stevens' Old Mill at lower end of Cottonwood Meadows, Sierra Nevada Mountains. Inyo Co., Calif.

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This page was last updated on 20 June 2020