Keith Eugene Sayre, Jr., age 56 was born in Trona, California on July 29, 1956. Keith died on Sunday, April 28, 2013. He was a lifetime resident of Trona and graduate of Trona High School in 1974.
I just received word that Alice Tansley Class of 1960 passed away this morning (May 10, 2013) as a result of a heart condition. She has been living in Winston, OR along with her husband Bill Tansley, who graduated from Trona High School in 1958. Thanks to Durwood Sigrest for calling me right away to let me know. He said that she had had a heart attack a few days ago, but had seemed to doing fine when she came home from the hospital. But Bill was unable to wake her up this morning and the doctors were unable to save her.
The Trona Railway office used to have a rectangular lily pond by it’s front door. When I was about twelve. the decided to fill it in. Maybe they decided it was a hazard or maybe they decided that it was too expensive to maintain or maybe they didn’t like the traffic of all the kids that were attracted to it.
Anyway, in the weeks before they drained it one of the railway employees decided that a good way to get rid of the goldfish in the pond was too allow kids to fish for them. The idea was us to catch them and take them home to live out their lives in a fish bowel. It started off with just a few kids but word spread fast and there were more and more. The railway had lent it’s net to the first kids but soon we were resorting to hooks made from pins and lines from sewing thread.
The railway staff couldn’t have imagined that fishing in that pond would become so popular. They had to put an end to it. I don’t know if I remember this right but I think they ended up catching fish for kids that brought a fish bowl to put them in and promised to take care of them. I know that I ended up with two that I did my best to care for.
I was talking to my brother Joel today about Trona. He remembers it much better than I do. I am sure that is because he lived there longer than me and worked in both the Trona and Westend Plant before he moved in 1975. He reminded me that bunkhouse 17 that was on the west side of the clubhouse burned down. He also reminded me that the quonset huts shown near the bottom of the picture above were once used by the village maintenance crews that were part of Trona when AP&CC owned all the houses. I had even forgotten the gas station that was near the fire station.
And in my head I was getting Ted Langs gas station in Argus, where Joel once worked, mixed up with Joe Brangwin’s station in Trona. I’ve asked him to help put captions on the photos that he knows about. If you can help out add a comment to any that you know about. Joel also told me that he worked with Larry Fox at the Westend Plant for nine years and new him very well.
I still don’t quite remember exactly where the old Catholic Church was located. Joel told me that at one time it was an automatic three bases if a batter hit it. Does anyone remember the barn and stables down about where Zimmerman’s lumber was? I seem to remember one of the barn building being moved to the other side of Trona Road and being used by the NRA for a target range. Joel says I’m wrong. But he was wrong about how old Larry Fox was too.
Joel also mentioned a place called Silver City that was built on the east side of Trona Road. He said it was an expansion to Tent City and that all the structures were painted silver to reflect the heat. He described it as a place that didn’t have trees and didn’t have a chance of ever getting any.
And then there was the Federal Housing Project that was between Trona and Argus. I remember that very well. I can remember being at the opening festivities with my mother.
I think I remember that part of the project was on the west side of Trona Road but was torn down way before the rest of it was.
Now, if I can get my sister to tell me where the Hog Ranch was again.
The Trona Centennial committee is looking for sponsors:
Sponsor levels are:
Borax – $1000.00 or more
Hanksite -$750.00 to $999.00
Potash – $500.00 to $749.00
Halite – $100.00 to $499.00
Trona – $1.00 to $99.00
Send your donation to:
PO Box 630
Trona, CA 93592-0630
There will be a Searles Valley History Symposium on Friday, March 28, 2014
Talks already Spoken for are: Trona Mining History; Trona in the 1950’s; Trona Place Names; Trona Water Line; Searles Valley Historical Society History; Epsom Salt Monorail; Shady Myrick’s Mining Adventures in Searles Valley; Garden City; Bootlegging in the Area. If you are interested in Giving a please contact Russ Kaldenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are looking for about seven more talks.
The Trona Centennial Celebration will be held March 28-30, 2014. The Former Tronan’s Picnic will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 3PM to 5PM at the Trona Elementary School Cafeteria. Please check the centennial schedule for more information.
Centennial Schedule and Map
Trona Centennial Celebration History Symposium Schedule
Official Trona Centennial Celebration Facebook Page
The Daily Independent Ridgecrest
Centennial Car Show
Car-Truck-Motorcycle Show Registration Form
The post office is the building on the left behind the cars in the picture above. It opened on March 27, 1914. It’s opening marks the beginning of the town,Trona. The first post office in Searles Valley was actually on the other side of the lake in Slate Range City. Slate Range City was already an abandoned ghost town by 1914. The picture below shows the post office from another angle.
The following is from Dr. Jim Kennedy Dover, NJ:
In the 1919 and 1920 my father worked for the American Borax and Potash Company. He and two other young men, each independently, took pack horses and armed with Winchester ’94 carbines and for months at a time on horseback rode the perimeter and internal areas of the company’s land. My father’s name was James Davis Kennedy (1902 – 1996). He worked for for about two years. He was originally from San Francisco.
I have pictures of him in Trona (on the company railroad) and in Ballarat. Also a place I believe was called “Indian Joe’s Wells. I would very much like to find out more about that time in Trona or to find anyone who might have knowledge of my dad. Perhaps employee records or other co-workers.