Western Culture in the Owens Valley
There is so much history in the Owens Valley that many are completely oblivious to as they rush to Mammoth or Tahoe.
Here are some trivia facts (look for the names) to impress your family and friends around the campfire:
In 1845 Walker and John C. Fremont explored and mapped Owens Valley. Kit Carson, Richard Owens, and Ed Kern explored and named places.
Mono Lake was "discovered" in 1954 and named by an Army patrol while chasing Indians out of Yosemite Valley. During their trek they discovered gold flakes. It was not long for prospectors to enter the area to explore the Mono and Owens basins for riches.
Indian wars broke out in the Owens Valley in 1959. The Army established Camp Independence on July 4 to keep peace between the Paiutes and the settlers. The settlers were moving cattle on to the Indian lands. Alney McGee brought cattle from Tulare over Walker Pass, and Sam Bishop brought cattle and horses in from Fort Tejon.
In 1962 the Battle of Bishop in involved 550 combatants - 50 settlers and 500 Indians. By 1877 most of the Indians remaining in the area had begun to work for the white settlers in the area.
This picture has most of historical elements of the Owens Valley:
Cow Skull – Cattle
Grasslands – Grazing
Barbed Wire - The taking over of Indian lands
The Mountains – Gold Mining and the Source of Water
For a cool way to learn more stop by the Ranger Visitor Centers at Lone Pine and ask for their free audio CD on the history of the Owens Valley. It is pretty cool.