Sacramento Pass Recreation Area
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 39° 07.278 W 114° 18.305
11S E 732976 N 4333696
History information on area information sign at Sacramento Pass Recreation Area.
Waymark Code: WMV8DT
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 03/13/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
Views: 2

Sacramento Pass Recreation Area information signs contains a panel titled Local Prehistoric / Historic: People and Places which has history of the local area.

Local Prehistoric / Historic: People and Places

Paleo-Indian and Archaic: (Ancient: belonging or relating to a much earlier period)
The Great Basin region has been occupied for over 12,000 years. The first cultural group to occupy the area was what archaeologists call the Paleo-Indians. They were in this area from about 12,000 to 9,000 years ago. They are considered to have been big game hunters. They hunted bison and big horn sheep, in addition to fish and small game such as water birds and rabbits. They did not have permanent houses because they were following animal herds. Their hunting tools were large fluted or unfitted projectile points lashed to the tip of a spear.
The next cultural group to occupy this region is called the Great Basin Desert Archaic. They were here from about 9,000 to 1,500 years ago. These groups of people are considered hunter-gatherers that hunted game animals such as the mule deer, rabbits and a variety of birds. They also gathered wild plants such as onions, Great Basin wild rye and pinion pine nuts. These cultural groups used grinding stones to process plant seeds. They also made baskets, mats, hats, and sandals from plant fibers and used animal hides to make their clothing, blankets and moccasins. Marine shell beads are also associated with this cultural period, indicating trade with coastal peoples. Spears transitioned into dart technology in which points were smaller. Archaeologists call these stemmed, side notched, and corner notched points.

Fremont and Shoshone:
The Fremont lived in the area from about 1,500 to 700 years ago. The Eastern Nevada Fremont utilized horticulture and planted corn and squash in addition to harvesting wild plants and hunting game such as mule deer, antelope, rabbits, and birds. The Fremont also produced pottery. One style found in this area has painted black geometric designs and is known as Snake Valley black-on-gray. They built small villages, including one near present-day Baker now known as the Baker Archeological Site, and also called Baker Village. The Baker Archeological Site contains the remains of a Fremont Indian village occupied from approximately 1220 to 1295 AD. The Fremont lived in this well planned community of several small pit houses and granaries, surrounding a main big house.
Archaeologists believe the Shoshone came into this area around 700 years ago. Their descendants still live in the area today. Shoshone traditionally believe that their ancestors have been here since the beginning of time. Archaeologists base timelines on scientific evidence derived from artifacts and linguistics. The ancestral Shoshone were hunter-gatherers. They lived in temporary structures made of brush known as wikiups, and they moved to follow game and collect wild plants. They made baskets and undecorated pottery. They hunted deer, rabbits and antelope and used the bow-and-arrow to hunt large animals. Descendants of the early Shoshone in Eastern Nevada live in the Ely, Duckwater, Skull Valley, and Goshute (Gosiute) reservations and the surrounding area.

Government Exploration:
The region was recognized as an area of interior drainage and named “The Great Basin” by explorer John C. Fremont (1843-45). John C. Fremont, having never yet explored the interior of the Great Basin, sent a report to Washington and described it as: “The Great Basin, diameter 11 deg. Of latitude, 10 deg. Of longitude, elevation above the sea between 4,000 and 5,000, surrounded by lofty mountains, contents almost unknown, but believed to be filled with rivers and lakes which have no communication with the sea, deserts and oases which have never been explored, and . . . tribes which no traveler has seen or described.” 1843 expedition of John C. Fremont.
It was Fremont’s 1845 expedition that truly helped him understand the physiographic features of the interior drainage. The expedition split up at Mound Spring to cover more of the Great Basin terrain. Theodore Talbot was the leader of the newly-formed group, and Joseph Walker, the guide. They followed Ogden’s 1829 route through Secret Pass, then down the Humboldt River to rendezvous with Fremont at Walker Lake. Fremont had traveled south around Spruce Mountain and crossed the Ruby Mountains by way of Harrison Pass. He then crossed the Diamond Mountains, passed through the Diamond and Kobeh Valleys, and continued south through Big Smoky Valley, arriving at Walker Lake on November 24, 1845.
Army explorers under Captain James H. Simpson came through Sacramento Pass in 1859. They were scouting for a shorter route by wagon from camp Floyd (near Salt Lake City), across the Great Basin to Genoa (near Carson City). Simpson’s party surveyed a route pioneered in 1855 by Howard Egan, of the Mormon Militia (this route was later to become the Pony Express, and the Overland Telegraph). On Simpson’s return he explored a different route across Sacramento Pass (this route was to be known as the southern route). In 1869, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the direction of Lt. George M. Wheeler mapped and surveyed the Snake Range. They climbed Wheeler Peak (13,063 ft) and produced topographic maps and scientific reports on the region.
James H. Simpson after exploring the interior or the Great Basin reported: “The fact, on the contrary, is that it is probably the most mountainous region, considering its extent, within the limits of our country, and so far from being scattered over with a system of small lakes and rivers, which seems to imply a considerable number of this kind of water area, it has but a limited number of lakes and they are almost entirely confined to the bases of the Sierras which bound the basin.”

Osceola - Gold was discovered five miles southwest of here in 1872. In 1877, placer gold bearing gravels from the same source were discovered and the town of Osceola was founded. It was here that the largest gold nugget in Nevada was found, weighing 24 pounds and at the time worth $6,000 dollars. There was a post office by 1878 and by 1882 the population reached 1,500. Thirty miles of ditches were built to bring water from streams on both sides of the Snake Range and hydraulic mining began. Osceola continued to prosper as a supply center for area ranches and mines into the 1920’s making it one of the longest lived mining camps in Nevada. The Osceola Town site is on private property. Please respect private property rights.
Black Horse - In 1905 or 1906, two miles northeast of here, Tommy Watkins of Osceola picked up some ore, had it tested, and it proved to be high-grade ore. On March 6, Watkins and 99 others staked claims. The town of Osceola emptied overnight and Black Horse sprang into being. Within one year, Black Horse was a tent city of over 400 people and businesses that included three stores, three saloons, two boardinghouses, a blacksmith shop, and a barbershop. Most of these early businesses were initially housed in tents. A school was built, and a post office opened on September 17, with J.H. Mahican as postmaster. But the ore did not last and by 1914 the town site was deserted. Today most of Black Horse has disappeared. No buildings are left, and only rubble and faint foundations remain.

Early Transportation:
Following the arrival of the first settlers in Snake and Spring Valleys the first wagon roads were built to connect the ranches, mining, and timber operations. Often these routes took the most direct path. The first wagon road extended eastward from south Snake Valley to near present day Delta, Utah. From there it connected to Knoll Springs and later extended over Sacramento Pass to Osceola and finally to Taylor and Ward in Steptoe Valley. In 1920 the longest transcontinental highway US 50 was built across the central Great Basin. It was named the “Grand Army of the Republic Highway”, a name that honors an American Civil War veterans association. The highway remained a gravel road until 1947 when a section from Ely to Baker was paved and became HWY 6/50. In 1952 the portion from Baker to Delta was paved. In the past, there was a bar/gas station at this location. Originally named “Sadie’s Place” and under subsequent owners re-named the “Sacramento Pass Inn” and the “Wheeler Peak Inn.” Remnants of the foundations can be seen at the beginning of “The Sac Pass Trail”, at the lower trailhead.

Wheeler Peak Has Had Many Names:
Ezra Granger Williams June 11, 1855 said “I was the first white man to gain the exalted summit” and named it Williams Peak. In 1855, during a military reconnaissance, Lt. Colonel Edward J. Steptoe named the mountain Davis Peak in honor of Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War and later the President of the Confederate States. In 1859, James H. Simpson named the mountain Union Peak feeling the name was more appropriate as the nation edged closer toward Civil War. In 1869, the mountain was named for Captain George M. Wheeler US. Army Corp of Engineers, who was conducting extensive military and topographic surveys in the region. Local settlers however generally referred to the mountain as Davis Peak.
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