THE PROMONTORY BRANCH STATIONS (continued)
Railroad use: 1869 - ca. 1904
Engineering profiles indicate that track laying crews reached the site of Matlin on April 5, 1869. Here a share of the Chinese railroad workers built section facilities and a small Chinese community (Fig. 45, 46). A wye was installed in 1900 and may have replaced a light duty turntable (Fig. 44).
Population records document 15 people living in Matlin in 1870 and 25 in 1876 (Geological Survey 1900 and Rand McNally 1956). Ground evidence and vandalized dugouts reveal many Chinese artifacts attributable to the 19th Century. Completion of the Lucin Cutoff in 1904 prompted the abandonment of Matlin.
Railroad use: 1899 - 1906
The Romola siding was built in 1899 to accommodate increased rail traffic and local sheep ranchers (Fig. 47). Southern Pacific track plats indicate a loading platform and a train car body were located at Romola. No cultural materials were located during onsite investigations.
GRAVEL PIT AND OMBEY
Gravel Pit - Railroad use: 1869 - ca. 1881
Ombey - Railroad use: ca. 1878 - ca. 1910
The sites of Gravel Pit and Ombey are not synonymous. Gravel Pit is located approximately one track mile east of Ombey and originally served as a construction camp. An 1869 inventory, (Fig. 15), notes a 16' x 30' section house (Fig. 48) and 10' x 20' kitchen at Gravel Pit. Other facilities included a Chinese house, water tank, and a train car body. Structural and material remains are evident today.
An area one mile west was chosen for the location of the Ombey siding, completed prior to ca. 1879 (Fig. 49, 50). By July 1881, railroad profiles show a section house, tool house, and Chinese bunk- and cookhouses, located at Ombey, suggesting that section facilities at Gravel Pit had been discontinued and moved west. By 1882, Gravel Pit was probably abandoned. Fragments of olive-green ale, cathedral peppersauce, ginger beer, and C. Conrad and Co. Original Budweiser bottles testify to occupation primarily in the 1870's at Gravel Pit (see sketch on next page).
A wye was constructed in 1900 to turn the newer heavier locomotives and Ombey provided freighting services to regional sheep herders. Railroad profiles mark the "Summit of Red Dome Pass" near Ombey. Taro Yagi reports in the Golden Spike Oral History (1969) that four helper locomotives were often necessary to pull freight trains over "Red Dome Hill".
Structural (Fig. 51) and material evidence remain (Fig. 52). Materials observed from recent illegal digging reveal a Chinese occupation.
Railroad use: 1888-?
Central Pacific track layers reached this point on April 9, 1869, but the earliest documentation of use is in 1888. Peplin consisted of a siding, a small bumper spur (Fig. 53), a train car body and a loading platform. Ground evidence suggests a small, temporary occupation.
Railroad use: 1902 - 1906
Zias (Fig. 54) was a single track siding with little railroad documentation. The siding may have served area ranchers. A small refuse dump was located on site.
Last Updated: 18-Jan-2008