Bishop and the Owens Valley are overflowing with beauty. Surrounded by the towering, rugged peaks of the Sierra Mountains in the West. And the majestic ridgeline of the White Mountains to the East. The breathtaking scenery and the plethora of outdoor activities are right at your fingertips. Any yet there are hidden treasures of history waiting to be discovered. Be like the 19th-century miners and begin prospecting for nuggets of history with these experiences.
Wealthiest Mine Of All Time
Speaking of gold and silver, the Bodie State Historic Park rightfully claims its fame. But there are numerous lesser-known yet equally fascinating attractions from the Gold Rush era, such as Cerro Gordo and its Charcoal Kilns. Cerro Gordo wasn’t just another mine. It was the most prosperous silver and lead mine in California’s history. The kilns, once used to ‘cook’ wood into charcoal for smelting, still stand as eerie reminders of the mining past.
Golden Age Of Railroading
The Owens Valley served as a crucial gateway to reach mining boomtowns like Bodie and its neighboring Aurora. The railway, known as Slim Princess, played a pivotal role as the region’s primary transportation until 1931. This is when US-395 Highway was paved and became the main conduit. Although the railroad is now a memory, you can still explore its history and witness its original buildings, train engines, cars, salvaged and restored structures, along with thousands of artifacts at the Laws Railroad Museum & Historical Site.
Concentration Camps In The United States
The Gold Rush undeniably looms large in our historical memory and for good reason. It triggered the most significant migration and brought prosperity to the Golden State. Yet, there’s a tragic chapter that remains sadly unfamiliar to many. The internment of over 120,000 Japanese American citizens in ten camps across the Western United States. You can learn more about this complete story by clicking here, or better yet, visit one of these internment camps to experience it firsthand at the Manzanar National Historic Site.
History As Old As The Rocks
In addition to its rich human history, the Eastern Sierra is a true geological marvel. A hotbed for natural history literally. The stunning landscapes of the Eastern Sierra were shaped by the combined forces of glaciers and volcanic activity, giving rise to a land of extremes. Here you can find the world’s oldest living organism, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine. Within just 100 miles as the crow flies, you’ll encounter the lowest point in North America and the highest point in the continental United States.