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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
May 8, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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May 8, 1997

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Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, May 8, 1997 21 Gazette on the street... What are your thoughts on Emergency sq Southern Nye County and the Pahrump Pahrump Pahrump 'vices in CRICKETT Emergency Medical Service excellent without them my daughter would have died." andIamnot amhtllance." 482-301 6 No to Abuse 751 -111 8 Tonopah 24 Hr. Crisis Line Pahrump Nevada-then a,n:d now Celebrating the Lincoln Highway - Ely by Phillip I. Earl Nevada Historical Society , ith the reorganization of the Lincoln Highway Association in 1992 and the founding of W the Nevada Sierra Chapter two years ago, the spotlight of history again fails upon Am'efica's first transcontinental roadway after a hiatus of some seventy years. At the Fourth Annual Conference of the Lincoln Highway Association in Reno last summer, we heard papers on several aspects of current re- search and took two bus trips to visit Lincoln Highway renmants in western Nevada and in the Sierra Nevada. Almost forgotten today is the stretch of the Lincoln Highway between McGilI, Nevada and Wendover on the Nevada-Utah line, fifty-two miles of paved road traversing a stretch of the most scenic high desert country in the state. Opened with a four-day celebration in Ely in June 1930, the route today is Highway 93 to [,ages Station and Alternate 93 north to Wendover. As originally laid out by Henry B. Joy and other officials of the original Lincoln Highway Association in 1913, the route from Salt Lake City to Ely came south of the Great Salt Lake and west by way of Tooele, Granite Mountain, Gold Hill, Ibapah and Schellbourne. "Fair road in summer, if you don't break down or run into rain storm," the author of a 1929 touring guide wrote. "If either happens, tourist is out of luck." At the time Lincoln Highway officials were through this section of the country, other road advocates were pushing for a direct route west to Wendover via the Great Salt Lake Desert, the "Salt Flats," as this section is known today, but engineering problems and disputes between Utah, California and Nevada interests held up completion until June 1925. Ely and the commu- nities on west - Eureka, Austin, Failon, Dayton and Carson City - were thereafter cut offthe main route to San Francisco which went through Wells, Elko, Carlin, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca, Lovelock and Reno via the Overland Trail - the Victory Highway, as it was later known, later U.S. 40 and 1-80. Northern California interests opposed an extension south to Ely because such a route would have given passing motorists an opportunity to cut offsouth to I.as Vegas and Los Angeles. Survey work began in October 1927, however, and construction started two months later, being completed by Dodge Brothers Construc- tion Company on April 17, 1930. By the time, state officials and Ely boosters were planning "Lincoln Highway Days," a celebration of the completion of the last link, June 4-7. To be featured was a pageant, "The Evolution of Transportation," parades, band concerts, a boxing match, a four-day performance by the Fanchon-Marco Circus Company and the appearance of a group of military aviators from California. Also to be featured on Friday, June 6, was the demolition of an abandoned roaster stack at McGill which was to he filmed by a crew from Fox Movietone Cinema Corporation. Aultman Street was a blaze of banners, flags and bunting from one end to the other and a tent city was set up in the courthouse park by the circus people. Just at 10:30 a.m. the first day, George P. I I Illl Governor Fred Balzar, center, who presided over Ely's "Lincoln Highways Days," June 1931. Death Valley Scotty is standing on his right and Will Rogers is on the left. Annand stepped to the podium of the stage set up on the street and introduced Mayor Alfred Tamblyn who welcomed visitors to his town and turned the program over to Governor Fred B. Baizar. The governor spoke briefly on the efforts of the state highway department to complete the Ely-Wendover link- Gale Hoag, a former Ely resident and at the time Secretary of the Lincoln Highway Association, followed with the history of the efforts to complete the link. Baizar then r, tepped forward to break the firgurative link in a chain and declare the highway open. The pageant then commenced, beginning with Indians on horseback and following with Spanish explorers, fur trappers, the Fremont expeditions, prospectors and the Pony Express. An overland stage, Mormon pioneers  handcarts, the firstuto- mobile brought into eastern Nevada, a three-cylinder Model O Chase owned by James Beach, and modern autos and busses followed. The passing of a Nevada Northern train just down the block and a flyover of planes from nearby Yelland Field com- pleted this part of the program. The second day, June 5, began with a railroad trip to the pit operated by the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, a film crew accompanying the one hundred or so sightseers. The day was otherwise taken up with circus performances, a second day of Rodeo at the Gable Ranch, a "badger fight," a fireworks display and dances at the American Legion Hall, the Elks Home and The Blue Palace. Friday, June 6, was designated as "Utah Day," Governor George M. Dern and one hundred Salt Lake City and Ogden businessmen and the mayors of both communities being on hand for the celebration. A representative of Idaho Governor Baldridge also came on Friday and Governor's Dern's train was met by Balzar in a stagecoach. Surrounded by whooping cowboys, they traveled up Aultman Street to the receiving stand where the Utah chief executive congratulated the citi- zens of Ely for their work in seeing to the completion of the highway. The old roaster stack at McGill was blown just after 10:00 a.m., several thousand spectators crowding a hill north- east of town were they could get the vest vantage point. The transportation pagaent was staged a second time and Fred Miller performed a parachute jump. That evening, Buddy Francis, a local boy, scored a knockout in the sixth round over Salt Lake City's Sammy George ifi the main event of a boxing match at the courthouse park. The last day, "Nevada Day," June 7, featured street concerts, a Mardi Gras Costume Carnival and a street dance, "It's Day Time All Night," that evening. Official of the Eagles Lodge had been running a contest for crowned at the Mardi Gras festivities. The four-day celebration had cost local businessmen some $25,000, but they were pleased with the festivities and considered the expenditure to be an "investment in the future," as one of them put it - and so it was. i ii