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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stovepipe Wells in Inyo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Road To Adventure

 
 
Road To Adventure Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 6, 2017
1. Road To Adventure Marker
Inscription.
The first resort on this site, originally named “Bungalette City," was opened on November 1, 1926. Owned and operated by Herman William (Bob) and Helene Eichbaum, this resort was the first attempt to provide full scale tourist services in Death Valley. The complex consisted of twenty small tent cabins supplemented by several larger buildings and army tents. Other attractions included electric lights, running water, good food and scenic tours. Trail rides led by famous old-time prospectors and sightseeing rides in the comfort of large Buick sedans were some of the activities offered. A revolving beacon light on the roof of the main building guided wanderers to the desert oasis. Although crude by modern standards the resort became a popular attraction in the region.

Eichbaum recognized that the success of his enterprise was dependent upon accessability. Death Valley was accessable only by ungraded and unmaintained "roads” most of which were originally wagon trails. Eichbaum gained approval from the Inyo County Board of Supervisors for construction of a 30.35 mile toll road to run from Darwin Wash, across Panamint Valley, and over Towne Pass terminating at his resort.

Construction of the road, which began in 1925, was a tremendous technical achievment due to ruggedness of terrain, steepness of mountain grades
Road To Adventure Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 6, 2017
2. Road To Adventure Marker
and shifting sands of the desert floor. In spite of occasional washouts and mudslides the road was completed in May 1926. Barely of passing width, its steep grades contained curves that often necessitated considerable backing to negotiate the turns. Completion of the Eichbaum toll road allowed direct vehicular access from Los Angeles via Owens Valley, enabling thousands of visitors previously deterred by lack of good roads and of dining and sleeping facilities in the valley to finally experience for themselves the scenic and historic features of the region.

On February 11, 1933, a year after Eichbaum's death, Death Valley National Monument was created by presidential proclamation. A year later the Eichbaum toll road was purchased by the California Division of Highways. Today, State Highway 190 closely follows the old toll road. Two sections were changed; one near the summit of Towne Pass and the other at this location. The original road ran between the present registration buildings and guest cabins where you are now standing. In 1934 the road was realigned from this location to its location on the north side of the registration building.

A segment of the original to road may be seen by walking to the end of the motel unit to your left. If you had entered Death Valley from the west prior to 1934 you probably would have entered via this toll road. Perhaps, by viewing
Stovepipe Wells General Store image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 6, 2017
3. Stovepipe Wells General Store
this segment of Death Valley's history you may be able to imagine the adventure of visiting Bungalette City and Death Valley in the early days.

This Wayside Made Possible by a Donation From The Death Valley 49ers
 
Location. 36° 36.367′ N, 117° 8.785′ W. Marker is in Stovepipe Wells, California, in Inyo County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of California Route 190 and Cottonwood Canyon Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located in front of the Badwater Saloon in the Stovepipe Wells Village. Marker is in this post office area: Death Valley CA 92328, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Burned Wagons Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Eichbaum Toll Road (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Stovepipe Wells (approx. 5.2 miles away); Wagon Wheel History (approx. 6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Stovepipe Wells Village. (Submitted on May 7, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. Stovepipe Wells, California on Wikipedia. (Submitted on May 7, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
3. Death Valley National Park. (Submitted on May 7, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Stovepipe Wells Village image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, May 6, 2017
4. Stovepipe Wells Village
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 7, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 123 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 7, 2017, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.
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