Local Trivia

Share information or ask questions about the history of Searles Valley and nearby locations.

Local Trivia

Postby cactuspete » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:16 am

The Battle of Wingate Pass
Located on the east side of the Slate Range, Wingate Pass provides a passage into Death Valley. In the old days before the formation of the military bases, it was possible to travel from Layton Pass from Searles Valley and get to Wingate Pass. In fact, at one time Hwy 178 was going to follow that route. But on with the story, back in February of 1906 Death Valley Scotty (aka, Walter Scott) staged a fake battle at that location. It was a hoax intended to get publicity for his various enterprises. DV Scotty is now known as one of those guys who was constantly conning investors into giving him money to develop fake mine claims. He'd make outrageous claims and get people to invest money and then once the money was collected nothing would happen. He got away with this since back then investing in mines was very risky and speculative in nature. Also DV Scotty traveled around giving wild west shows and this "battle" provided more publicity for that project. At any rate the "battle" involved several men on horseback and with mules. There was an ambush. Shots were fired and law enforcement got involved. Arrests were made, but charges were ultimately dropped. An interesting detail is that DV Scotty had the marker between Inyo County and San Bernardino County moved right before the ambush in order to confuse authorities as to where the even actually occurred.
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Re: Local Trivia

Postby twister » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:31 pm

I'm not sure if anyone knows when the rock, located just north of the Inyo County line, was first painted, but it's been a favorite local landmark for at least a several decades. It's been repainted a few times over the years and although it might not be the most spectacular landmark in the world, it is a very cute landmark. It's worth a quick visit if you haven't seen it in awhile or if you've never seen it ever before!
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