The small communities of Olancha, Grant, and Cartago in Inyo County, California, have a rich history dating back to the mid-1800s. Once a bustling stage stop and agricultural center, Olancha later became a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Despite its decline, the area continues to glimpse California’s forgotten past through its decaying and abandoned buildings alongside occupied homes.
Grant, a nearby community, once served as a market, gas station, and hotel for travelers passing through the area. Cartago, on the other hand, was the site of a former soda products plant.
Today, these communities may be overlooked by many, but they offer a unique opportunity to explore California’s history. This article aims to provide an overview of the forgotten past of Olancha, Grant, and Cartago, highlighting the area’s significant landmarks, attractions, and abandoned buildings.
- Olancha was originally inhabited by Indians before becoming a stage stop and agricultural center after mining decline.
- The town is home to decaying and abandoned buildings among occupied homes, and salvage crews are currently scrapping the old Jawbone branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
- Grant is a small community located 1.5 miles south of Olancha that once served travelers with a market, gas station, and hotel, but now only has old buildings as reminders of its past.
- Cartago is known for its large foundations that mark the former Permanente soda products plant, and the old Cabin Bar Ranch has a stone ruin at its entrance.
History of Olancha
The history of Olancha begins with its habitation by Indians prior to 1863. In that year, Farley’s Mill was constructed, but Indian uprisings resulted in the mill’s burning in 1867. Following these events, Olancha became a stage stop, and a post office opened in 1870 that remains open to this day.
Olancha’s transition from a mining town to an agricultural center occurred after the area’s mining decline. Ranches raised both livestock and produce, and cattle drives to the Sierra Nevada Range and Monache Meadows were common.
In 1910, the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Olancha, and a water bottling plant and Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company were located nearby. Today, Olancha boasts attractions such as the Olancha Sand Dunes, Sierra Nevada streams and meadows, Dirty Sock Hot Spring, Cerro Gordo ghost town, and Death Valley.
Attractions near these three Inyo County communities offer unique experiences for those exploring nature. The Olancha Sand Dunes offer a chance to hike or ride ATVs over the expansive dunes.
The Sierra Nevada streams and meadows provide opportunities for fishing and camping, while the Dirty Sock Hot Spring is a relaxing spot for a dip.
The Cerro Gordo ghost town, located roughly 30 miles from Olancha, is a well-preserved mining town that offers a glimpse into the area’s past.
Finally, Death Valley, located about two hours from Olancha, is the largest national park in the contiguous United States and features stunning vistas and diverse landscapes. Local businesses serve the needs of tourists traveling along US395.
The Crystal Geyser brand bottled water is produced at a nearby plant, and restaurants and gas stations provide a welcome break for those traveling through the area.
The Airflight Cafe, Airlift Pack Station, and J.G. Motel, advertised in the 1957 INYO-MONO FISHING AND VACATION GUIDE, offer visitors a glimpse into the area’s past and serve as reminders of the important role these communities played in the history of the region.
These nearby attractions and local businesses allow one to explore the natural beauty and unique history of the Olancha, Grant, and Cartago areas.
Abandoned Buildings and Ruins
Abandoned buildings and ruins can be found scattered throughout the Inyo County communities of Olancha, Grant, and Cartago, serving as reminders of the region’s past. These buildings and ruins offer a glimpse into the history and cultural heritage of the area and attract many visitors interested in exploring the forgotten past of these once-flourishing communities.
Exploring the ruins in Olancha, Grant, and Cartago is an exciting adventure that allows visitors to imagine life in these communities during their heyday. Despite the decay of many of these structures, preservation efforts are underway to ensure that future generations can appreciate their historical significance.
These efforts include the restoration of old buildings and the establishment of historical markers to provide context for visitors. With these preservation efforts, the abandoned buildings and ruins in Olancha, Grant, and Cartago continue to serve as a window into the past, allowing visitors to appreciate the rich history of Inyo County.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history of the Indian uprisings that burned the Farley’s Mill in Olancha in 1867?
In 1867, Indian uprisings resulted in the burning of Farley’s Mill in Olancha, marking a significant event in the town’s history. Today, lesser-known attractions such as Permanente soda products and Jawbone branch salvage coexist with building restoration and preservation plans.
What was the significance of the Permanente soda products plant in Cartago?
The Permanente Soda Products plant in Cartago significantly impacted the local economy. The large foundations still visible today serve as a reminder of the plant’s legacy. Restoration and preservation plans are in place for the area’s decaying and abandoned buildings. Lesser known attractions in Grant, Olancha, and Cartago include the Olancha Sand Dunes and Dirty Sock Hot Spring.
What is the current state of the salvage crews scrapping the old Jawbone branch of Southern Pacific Railroad in Olancha?
Like a swarm of bees, the salvage crews continue to work on scrapping Olancha’s Jawbone Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A progress update on restoration efforts has not been provided.
What are some lesser-known attractions surrounding Olancha, Grant, and Cartago?
Exploring nature enthusiasts can visit Olancha Sand Dunes, Sierra Nevada streams, and meadows. Local cuisine includes Crystal Geyser brand bottled water and nearby restaurants. Hidden gems include Dirty Sock Hot Spring and the Permanente soda products plant ruins.
Are there any plans to restore or preserve the decaying and abandoned buildings in the area?
Preservation efforts in the area are ongoing, with community involvement in restoring historical buildings. One interesting statistic is that the Olancha Sand Dunes, a local attraction, are estimated to be over 10,000 years old.