History of Darwin Part II

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Posted by Cecile on April 28, 2003 at 18:32:08:

In Reply to: History of Darwin Part I posted by Cecile on April 28, 2003 at 18:29:38:

In July of 1878, news of rich discoveries in the Bodie Hills sent miners and businessmen flying north where prospects suddenly looked better. Coso Mining News editor T. S. Harris loaded up his press and moved with them. His first issue of the Bodie Standard declared he "would not make the trip of 190 miles again for all the unoccupied houses and deserted mines of Darwin." Darwin's population dwindled to 300 people. Fire, the fear of all desolate towns, destroyed 15 major buildings in April 1879. June of 1880, the population was reduced to 80. By 1882, congressman Samuel D. Woods passed through town and declared, "it seems as yet impossible that it could be a town where humans lived... There could be no living in the higher sense in a place so devoid of eerything that makes life even physically endurable. The principal business place of the town was a saloon. No hotel was visible and we were compelled to take our breakfast at a little restraint." Renewed propspect interests during the first and second World Wars sparked some renewed hope for the town.. only to be short lived.

For a time between 1920-1937, Darwin attracted attention to the world once again. H. W. "Bob Eichbaum built the Death Valley Toll Road, and his wife built a resort at the end of the road in Stovepipe Wells. Darwin became known as the Gateway to Death Valley." Alas in 1937, Highway 190 was built, re-routing the traffic and the tourist trade, and Lone Pine got the honor. Darwin's fate was written in the sand.

Today Darwin appears more ghostly than most ghost towns. The ramshackle buidings and old trailers that house Darwins few residents seem to have eyes peering from their darkened windows. A stop to the old miners' dugouts on the way to the cemetery may surprise you with a Darwinite spending his summer there to keep cool. The cemetery itself is truly haunting. Everyone should go to Darwin at least once in their lifetime. Darwin is a town truly in a class all of its own.

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