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Nevada Survey Maps
from the Washoe County Recorder's Office

[Click on a map to get an enlarged view in a separate window.]
nv_survey_maps.jpg, 88.6K

R. Joe King writes:

"There are [six] maps, that I thought might be of interest to the C.P.R.R. Museum.  The map that has a number "31" marked in the corner is dated 1887.  It is a map of the CPRR through Washoe County, Nevada.  It has never been recorded.  ... Three maps are oversize.  They all directly relate to each other.  They are maps that were "traced" in 1973 from 1920 maps.  ... What they are, are irrigation or "ditch" maps, that show the various canals, ditches, etc., in Washoe County.  Of possible importance ... is that they show the existing CPRR line in 1920, and any realignments, "old roadbeds", etc.  This maps have never been recorded either!  ...  The [fifth] one is a map of the Oregon, Nevada, California Railroad.  It shows Reno, but not the CPRR connection.  It may be of value as the ONC, the V[irginia] & T[ruckee], and the CPRR of course met in Reno in those days.  the [sixth] map is also an ONC map from the same year, 1889, and it clearly shows the three lines connecting!  ...  I copied them from the Washoe County Recorders Office ...  in Reno ..., with the blessing of Cathleen Bartley (Recording Supervisor).

My research on the Henness Pass Road brings up surprises daily, and often they include the CPRR!  Only today I ran across a self-published lengthy book about the history of Nevada County, California, covering the years 1859-1869.

... Judah had ignored the Truckee Route early on, leaning more toward a southern route near Tahoe, etc.  I gather that his Doctor pal in Dutch Flat had much to do with the decision being made in favor of the Truckee Route, but then today I find something else! ...

Caleb Greenwood, the scout for the Stevens Party in 1844, found a way to bypass the upper Truckee Canyon in 1845.  Known as the Dog Valley Section of the Truckee River Route of The California Emigrant Trail.  From 1845 on it became THE route, basically a horseshoe detour from what is now Verdi, Nevada, to what is now Donner Lake, California.  The Dog Valley Road would be nothing more than a part of the TRR until about 1852.

The northern mines of California, specifically the Yuba River country, and particularly the North and Middle Forks, were worked at early as June of 1848.  Roads from Marysville and Sacramento had been established  to the settlements of Camptonville, North San Juan, and Nevada (City), by 1849.  Pack trails of course connected these settlements to the diggings on the North and Middle Forks of the Yuba.  By 1852, the trails from Camptonville and North San Juan had been developed into passable wagon roads.  They would meet and become one roughly three miles east of Forest (City).  It would continue as one road through to what is now Verdi, Nevada.  Jackson and Henness had built a road to their ranch, and Dr. Webber had built a road to his lake and hotel, so connecting the roads was an obvious thing to do.  Emigrants traveling over the TRR by 1852, would branch off the TRR near what is now Stampede Valley (Dog Valley Road), and instead of heading south and west to Donner, would head west and a little north.  I have numerous diary excerpts to verify this.

Diaries note that most went  emigrants to Downieville, and a couple note that some companies went "south and west from Jackson's Ranch to Nevada City".  (Not to be confused the Nevada City section of the Truckee River Route).  ...  That little jag to Nevada (City) is vital to the Judah connection.

In 1859, after gold was discovered in the Comstock, two different companies were formed to push freight and people to and from Virginia City, Nevada.  The first was the "Truckee Turnpike Company".  Organized
in Marysville, the road actually began in North San Juan, as connecting roads from there and Camptonville already existed.  The TTC was actually two roads, the NSJ road and the Camptonville Road.  Current "topo" maps show the Camptonville route as the Henness Pass Road, but in truth the NSJ road was more heavily used.  In reality, they are "bifurcations" as they joined as one just east of Forest (City).

The second company started in Nevada (City), and was known as the "Heness Pass Turnpike Company".  The two roads of the TTC that became one after Forest (City), and the HPTC, all became one at Jackson Meadows, now the site of the Jackson Reservoir.  From that point on, the road was known as "The Henness Pass Road", and the companies involved worked as one, under the name HPTC, through to Virginia City, Nevada.

Of interest to you initially would be the site of "Marsh Mill".  This site sits directly on the HPTC route between Graniteville, (Eureka), and the site of Bowman House.  Marsh Mill was of course owned and operated by Charles Marsh!

In 1864, yet another road connected into the Henness Pass Road system.  Known officially as the Pacific Turnpike, it was also known as "Culbertson's Road".  This road ran from Dutch Flat east to Bear Valley,
then due north to Bowman House, where it connected to the HPTC road to Jackson Meadows, etc.

From a business viewpoint, let us look at Charles Marsh.  His place sat roughly four miles west of Bowman House, directly on the HPTC road.  The Pacific Turnpike intersected the HPTC Road at Bowman House.  The Pacific Turnpike, A/K/A Culbertson's Road, was "owned" by yet another company, "The Nevada City Turnpike Company".  The NCTC was basically the route of California #20, a heavily-used emigrant road in the 1850's.  Both road connected at Bear Valley.

This is complicated, so please bear with me.

The Dutch Flat Tahoe Wagon Road, also started at Dutch Flat.  Is that a coincidence?

...On the surface it appears that Judah and political as well as business allies were attempting to control wagon routes long before the existence of rail!

My point to all of this is that I have found newspaper accounts from the 1850's and 1860's of Marsh and Judah on the Henness Pass Road.  It was a prime candidate, per the accounts, for rail.  Marsh's interest should be obvious.  Considering where rail was laid, and further considering the position of Charles Marsh in the grand scheme, what happened?  I will send you the accounts of what I have if you are not aware of them.

...  I was recruited to act as a scout, guide and mule skinner/teamster for the official California 150th celebration.  The Missouri crew was short-handed when they reached Fernley, Nevada, and as I know the old wagon roads, I was drafted on the spot.  Two weeks later, we arrived in Sacramento.  We had four wagons, all Conestoga's almost thirty feet each in length.  The wagons were built by Morris Carter using Smithsonian plans, right down to the brakes; being nothing more than a rope across the box to hook a
bootheel into, etc.

The mules did not like the few times we hit pavement, once in Reno and once near Truckee.  In Truckee, some motorist honked a number of times, and the mules of course "went south".  The result was two runaway teams, one of course was mine!  We all survived the mishap, two-leggers and four-leggers alike, but we had to layover below Donner Summit to do some wagon repair, shrink wheels, replace a broken tongue, etc.  I had been thrown from the wagon during the mishap and had more than a few bruises."

Courtesy R. Joe King Collection, and the Washoe County, Nevada, Recorders Office.

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