Queho Posse Chapter
E Clampus Vitus
Extraterrestrial Highway, 1/2 mike east of the Lil A'le Inn
September 26, 2004
A little town on the
edge of the universe
A Keepsake issued for the September 24-26, 6009, Doins
of the Queho Posse, Chapter 1919, of the Ancient and
Honourable Order of E Clampus Vitus,
AT THE DIRECTION OF HIS ROYAL DYSLEXIA, OUR NOBLE
Dann "Nnad" DeBoer, NGH
Written by XNGH Mark Hall-Patton, Clalllphistorian
This keepsake has been researched, reported, rehashed, rejected, refreshed, renovated, restored, responded, repelled, and rewritten for the enjoyment, education and eventual elucfdalion ofthe brethren of E Clampus Vitus. Any errors it is found to cOntain are purely the resu~ of a caring author who has seen fit to allowthe brethren a slight sense of superiorty to his writing style and research. Feel free to bring them to his attention, should his beer be empty, if you are bearing another.
Rachel, a little town on the edge of the untverse
Rachel owes its existence to one individual, Delbert C, Day, but the history of the area where it sits dates back many years before, Native Americans roamed the area known as the Sands Springs Valley, and were followed early during the American period by prospectors, The tribal group which occupied the land in the vicinity of Rachel during the early years of the American period were the Piutes. This tribe ranged over most of today's Nevada, and are still a part of our state's population.
With the coming of American prospectors in the 1860s, new communities were begun, to take advantage of the many short-lived finds in the area around Rachel. Many camps were founded, mostly short-lived with little physical remains. These included Groom (named for the dry lake known by the same name, and today the non-existent site of a non-existent federal installation), Crescent, Freiburg, Logan, and closest to our doins, Tempiute.
Lead and silver was found at Groom in 1864, and a mining district was created in 1869. Eventually, an English investment group spent $80,000 on developing the area, but t was for naught, and the mines were abandoned. It is now the home of, well, let's just say it is not home to mining today.
Freiburg, or Freyburg, was located in 1865, by prospectors who located silver and lead deposits, The mining district was created in 1869, but mining in earnest did not happen until about 1919. The camp was no more after about 1930.
Crescent did not last long, but it did manage to get a mill. By 1871, the camp Was being abandoned, and the mill was later moved to Ternpiute, a distance of about 35 miles.
Logan was founded in 1866, and actually had a post office by 1867.
Tempiute is the camp most germane to the tale of the town of Rachel. Though originally located about 1865, two prospectors named D. Service and William Plumb located new prospects for silver and lead in the area in 1868. Themining district was formed in 1869, and was actively worked through the 1870s. The Tem Paiute post office opened in 1879 and closed in 1883. At its height in the 1870s, about 50 miners worked the area, but by the time Myron Angel wrote his History of Nevada in 1881, that number was down to 5. Ore was shipped to Tybo.
Mines ofTem Pah-Ute, later written as Tempiute, included the Colchis, Old Abraham, Savage, Inca, Balbec, South End, Cliff, Wyandott, Silver Peak and Blue Bell. Angel even noted that the Inca had a 250 foot deep shaft, indiqating a considerable amount of work. However, the area did not survive long into the 1880s.
Though the camp died quickly, in good western mining tradition, it was revived a few times. In 1916, the first tungsten was located in the area, but it was not in large enough quantities to warrant mining, though this would change in a couple of decades.
In 1937, Wesley Koyens arrived on the scene, bringing his wife Eva. Wesley had grown up in the Pahranagat Valley, and had met Eva Hyde while working as a cowhand in Northern Nevada. They were married in 1925, and had moved to the tent community of Crystal Springs, where Koyens worked at whatever he could. By the way, for those of you who are wondering at this point in the story, yes this eventually ties into today's Rachel.
While at Crystal Springs, Koyens would prospect in his free time. At one point he discovered a rock outcropping on T empiute Mountain which he did not recognize. He brought home a sample, and Eva checked her books, and thought it looked like a tungsten ore called scheelite. The University of Nevada offered free assay reports at the time, and they sent the sample off.
The response was that indeed it was scheelite. Koyens located two claims, the Grubstake and the Limecap.. By 1935, Eva and Wesley had moved from Crystal Springs to the site of the claims, and had begun working them. According to an article many years later in Nevada magazine, they moved "equipped with an old Ford and $35 in cash, two children and a milk cow in tow ... "
Tempiute came back as a community about 1940, when the Lincoln Mines were opened. It was mainly a company town. It quickly grew to need a school and one was opened in a tent. An early schoolteacher, Ruth Bradley Wilkinson, remembered the community.
"' This is the place!' announced the guild. 'This is the place' Did someone say? Maybe this was the place - but is the place, no! Maybe I should have ooked around more. Maybe this is only the outskirts of some town, or the uter outskirts. My guide insisted' This is the town. Tempaiute!' ... There I as, surrounded by tents and not even a feather for my hair." I would live "in ne corner of a 14' by 16' tent - I'd lose myself.
The teacher survived, teaching, among others, the children of Eva and Wesley Koyens, as well as the Hyde family who ran the boarding house. With wartime needs, the community grew during World War II. After the war, prices for tungsten dropped, and many residents left, though there was a revival in 1950.
Though much of the town was company owned, the Koyens maintained their mines until, after having poured nearly $300,000 back into the claims over the years, they sold out to the Wah Chang Trading Company of New York in the early 1950s. Wah Chang worked the claims until 1957, when it was closed because of a drop in the value of tungsten. During this period, the town again grew, and even had a post office for the last time. The post office closed in 1957, along with the mines.
Tempiute was no more, but down in the Sand Springs Valley, a new resident had arrived, Delbert C. Day. Delbert, better known as D.C., was a Tennessee native, who was working in lubbock, Texas, when a customer told him about a great valley in Nevada where alfalfa could be grown. Day decided to homestead and lease land from the BlM, and moved to the area. At the same time, others moved to the valley, including Edwin Gunderson, all taking up land under the federal homestead act.
D.C. arrived about 1965. His wife Fay, and his two sons, joined him during summers and school breaks, but as the closest community was Alamo, they lived elsewhere most of the early years. Day created the Nevada Farms, which is today's Penoyer Farms.
He worked hard in theearly years, sometimes with partners and sometimes not. The valley sits on a vast aquifer, so water was available. The fact of great swaths of alfalfa in an otherwise desert environment was not lost on the military pilots who regularly fly over the valley. They used the "Farms" as a landmark when flying.
D.C. eventually put together 4,000 acres, but costs outpaced his growth and he found it difficult to hang on. The Nevada Test Site was still setting off nuclear devices in the early years, and the Days and other residents would be told to evacuate the valley when one was planned. Even today there is a radiation monitoring station next to the general store.
D.C. eventually decided to subdivide part of his land as building sites and a mobile home park. This area was called Sandy, Tempiute Village, and Sand Springs, but it never quite took off, until 1976, when Union Carbide bought the Wah Chang tungsten properties on Tempiute mountain, and reopened the mines.
In 1977, a couple moved into the new community. They were John and Debbie Jones. John was an engineer at the mine. Debbie was pregnant, and on February 15, 1978, she gave birth to a daughter, Rachel Jones, at home with John assisting.
Later that same year, on March 22. the little community finally received electrical power. It needed a name, and the honor was given to the first child who had been born there, Rachel Jones, to be the namesake. Rachel it was, and Rachel it would be.
The ones family left soon after their daughter's name was given to the community, and young Rachel tragically died after only two years of life, in 1980. The family had moved to Washington state, and Rachel Jones died soon after Mt. St. Helens exploded, possibly from respiratory complications from the volcano. Rachel Jones is remembered in a monument in the community's cemetery, and in the town celebration, Rachel Days, held the second weekend in May.
The community thrived for awhile. Growing to about 250, Rachel became a quite the town. Though it never had a post office, it did boast a bar and general store. When Union Carbide shut down the Tempiute mines in 1988, the community almost disappeared. Only about 50 residents remained.
However, reports of its demise were premature. In 1988, the Rachel Bar and Grill was sold to Joe and Pat Travis. They liked the area and wanted to get out of Las Vegas. Their timing seemed less that superb, when the mine was shut down, but it turned out not so bad when Bob Lazar began speaking about his supposed experiences at Area 51 nearby.
The interest grew in what might be happening at the nearby area of the Nevada Test Site, which had ceased to exist on official maps. Area 51 had begun life as a part of a huge tract of government land during World War" which was set aside for gunnery and bombing practice.
A few decades ago, the area ceased to exist on maps. Area 51 was officially not there, and it became a place for many rumors to grow around. To the benefit of the Rachel Bar and Grill, UFOlogists began congregating in Rachel after Lazar's revelations. The Travis's changed the name to the Little A'Le'lnn in 1990 and its been a favorite of ufologists ever since.
The first Ultimate UFO Conference was held at the Inn in 1993, and others have been held since. Some movies have been shot in the area, including part of Independence Day.
In 1996, Nevada State Highway 375, which runs past Rachel, was renamed the Extra-Terrestrial Highway by Governor Bob Miller. Rachel's ties to the none- existent government installation nearby were recognized on the map of Nevada.
Rachel is a living community in the hinterlands of Nevada, a modern part of an old state, with ties both to our mining past and our unknown future. D. C. Day's dream of running a farm in Nevada, gave rise to a community which is often a byword for secrets and weird Sights.
What sayeth the brethren?
An So Recorded.
A short Bibliography for Redshirts with a yen for more reading
Angel, Myron, A History Of Nevada, 1881, Thompson and West
Campbell, Glenn, A Short History of Rachel, Nevada, 1996, Rachel
Campbell, Glenn, "Area 51" Viewer's Guide, 1994, Rachel
Carlson, Helen, Nevada Place Names, 1974, University of Nevada Press
Chase, Everett, North Thru Nevada, column in Boulder City, The Magazine, July 2004
Darlington, David, Area 51, the Dreamland Chronicles, 1997, Holt and Co.
Day, Fay, Personal Communication, 2004, Rachel
Lincoln, Francis Church, Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada, 1930, Nevada Newsletter Publishing Company
Menzies, Richard, Pioneers of Temiute, in Nevada Magazine, nd
Pahor, Stanley, Nevada Towns and Tales, Volume 2, 1982, Nevada Publications
Paher, Stanley, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, 1984, Nevada Publicaitons
Patton, Phil, Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51, nd, Villard
Thomson, David, In Nevada: The land, The People, God, and Chance, 1999, Alfred A. Knopf
Uniiversity of Nevada Bulletin, Vol. XXVI, NO.6, Metal and Nonmetal Occurrences in Nevada, 1935, University of Nevada
That which follows is a brief history of a governmental installation, whose sobriquet is currently classified. This history was obtained by Clamphistorian Mark Hall-Patton through recourse to the Freedom of Information Act. Though some areas were redacted for national security reasons, it was felt that this information was of interest to the brethren.
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