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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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October 16, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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October 16, 1997
 

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i JIM worker -- "I don't have much --"Wehavebeenonvac opinion on anything d)es. He's our Presint and I I is cleared, don'thavetolikehim, just support out to i too." him." what is going o m keeping an open mind. " iBROWN ...... ARLEEN 482-3016 No to Abuse 1-11 is Tonopah 24 Hr. Crisis Line Pahrump Nevada - then and now The Hazen cut-off: a short history by Phillip L Earl Nevada Historical Society 1 California from Darius O. Mills and Company, owners of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Two months later, Jim Butler made the initial silver discovery from which the Tonopah Mining District and the early twentieth-century mining boom developed. The Carson & Colorado was the closest rail connection to Tonopah and the heretofore sleepy little line soon became a profit- able enterprise for the first time. All traffic into central Nevada from California came via the Southern Pacific to Reno and on to Moundhouse by way of the Virginia & Truckee. Since the V & T was a standard gauge line, freight had to be transferred to the C & C, a narrow gauge operation. Southern Pacific officials were thus forced to share freight revenues and go to the trouble and expenseof unloading and reloading. They also planned on standard gauging the C & C and made offers to purchase the V & T, but M;,Us would not sell. In 1903, Southern Pacific officials decided to bypass the V & Tby building a cut-off south from their line at Hazen to Churchill Junction, the point at which the line curved west to Monndhouse. Broad gauging began at Moundhouse in October 1904 and grading for the cut-off got underway in May 1905. TheTonopah R'lroad, Mina to Tonopah " n March 1900, Collis P. Huntington, President of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the last surviving member of the "Big Four" involved in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad across the state of Nevada, acquired the Carson & Colorado Railroad, a narrow gauge line running from Moundhouse, Nevada to Keeler, iiii iii i ii Railroading scene, Hazen, e.1912. Photo courtesy of Churchill County Museum, Fallon Junction, had bee n completed in July 1904 and work was underway on a line south to Goldfield and on south to Beatty, Rhyolite and the Bullfrog District, so the Hazen Cut-Off was soon to become a key element in the transportation system of the entire state. Indeed, in 1907, the year of the completion of the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad into Beatty, for the first time travelers could make the entire trip from Reno to Las Vegas by rail. This was to be the case until the LV & T ceased operations in October 1918. The Utah Construction company, contractor for the Western Pacific Railroad soon to be extended across the northern section of the state, got the contrat for the project. Several hundred men were brought in and others were hired off the Truckee Canal Project just being completed at the time. Hazen became the headquarters and saloons which had previously served canal laborers were soon serving the railroad gangs. Other saloons moved down the line of the cut-off, creating such a problem that railroad officials were soon trying to get the Churchill County Board of Commissioners to revoke licenses and provide some protection for the men, all to no avail, just as they had done nothing during the construction of the canal, Railroad officials also had their troubles with :: one Jerome Higman, a Hazen businessman who owned property on the site of a planned new depot and terminal yards. They refused to meet his price and began work on a site they already owned a quarter-mile to the west. Plans were afoot to abandon hazen and establish "New Hazen," but Higman finally gave in to pressure from his fellow Hazenites and the depot was built on the original loeatior There were also labor problems which led to construction delays, trouble between the Greek and Japanese laborers and problems in constructing drainage canals, but the line was completed in late August 1905. On August 27, officials of the Southern Pacific and the Oregon Short Line came out to inspect the work. The line to Goldfield was completed on the same day the Hazen Cut-Off opened, August 31, 1905, and the first Goldfield-San Francisco run was made that evening and the next day, by which time Fallon ranchers had developed mar- kets for hay andother products -- fruit, melons, vegetables, .beef and pork-- in the central Nevada camps. This connection also lent impetus to the movement to construct aline between Hazen and Fallon. This line opened in January 1907. The opening of the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot in 1930 provided additional traffic for the cut-off from Thorne north, but other sections were less profitable. The Moundhouse-Churchill section was abandoned in 1933, the Mina-Laws branch ended service in February 1939 and the rail connection between Mina and Tonopah came to an end in October 1947. In recent years, the Thorne- Mina section has been abandoned, but the run from Thorne north to hazen continues due to the transportation needs of the ammunition depot. Hazen is no longer a railroad community, only a stop for food and fuel on Highway 50 between Fernley and Fallon. For those who stop by, a dilapidated depot or engine house still standing might remind them of the flush times which were. i I i i i iii ii