The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range – Ely to Antelope Valley

This chapter covers the old road north from Ely, through McGill, over Schellbourne Pass to the Stone House in Spring Valley. Recently I covered Ely and East Ely. A short ride north of East Ely will bring you to –

McGill

McGill, Nevada

This used to be a very busy town since it was home to the Kennecott Mineral Smelter serving the mines nearby in Ruth. The Nevada Northern brought the ore here to be processed. The mill closed down in 1983 and with it the reason for the town. A population of 10,000 now is down to approximately 1,000 (2010).

The Lincoln Highway is under the pavement in McGill but just north of town the original road branches off the paved highway. ( 39° 25.294’N 114° 46.264’W)

You can take this dirt road if you don’t mind dust and washboarding or if you’re driving a slow car like my Model T, but you may as well stay on the paved road as far north as Schellbourne.( 39° 47.831’N 114° 44.481’W) Turn east here for Schellbourne Pass.

Schellbourne Pass

Schellbourne Pass (click to enlarge)

On the road to the top are some places of interest: Schellbourne Ranch ( 39° 47.843’N 114° 40.851’W) through which the original highway ran.

Schellbourne

Ranch and postoffice, once a government post on the emigrant trail and pony express. Route marked across country. Meals, logging, drinking water, radiator water, camp site. – The Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway, 1916

There is a California Telegraph marker on the north side of the road (39° 47.398’N 114° 41.745’W). Remember this was the road of the Simpson survey which the Pony Express and the telegraph followed after 1859.

Schellbourne Pass

As you can see in the photo, the road is well graded. This is still the original route of the LHW and we can be thankful that it is dirt and not paved. At least you get some feeling of the old road. There are a few places to camp on west side of the pass. The view is to the east and in the far distance is Antelope Valley, where the Tippets Ranch is located.

On the east side of the pass the road turns south into Spring Valley and passes the site of Anderson’s Ranch mentioned in the LHW guidebooks ( 39° 48.078’N 114° 32.613’W). Note: I have not verified the location of the ranch in the field but I believe I am close; archeological work to follow.

Anderson’s Ranch, White Pine County

Meals, lodging, gas, oil, drinking water, radiator water, camp site. N.Y. 2677 S.F. 647 The Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway, 1916

Stone House

From here travel approximately 3.5 miles to this well-known marker, the Stone House.

Stone House

The road that intersects the valley from the east at Stone House is not the original 1913 LHW but a later version. The original road is 4.5 miles further down the valley.

(Note that the information I posted here earlier regarding Stone House was incorrect on the linked website and has been removed.)

Next time: Antelope Valley and Tippets

In the next installment, we’ll leave Stone House for a trip over Tippets Pass into the Antelope Valley and take a look at one of the memorable locations on this part of the highway, Tippet’s Ranch. Note: spelling of Tippets varies, sometimes with the apostrophe and sometimes not. In some cases the “s” is omitted.

A note about sources:

The Complete Official Road Guide to the Lincoln Highway 1915 is available from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.

Lincoln Highway: Nevada by Franzwa and Petersen is available from Amazon.com or from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.

I highly recommend both of these books.

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