Checking out the Museums in Hawthorne NV
Trip Start Dec 19, 2010
66Trip End Apr 13, 2011
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Hawthorne is an Naval Ordnance Depot with a significant history. Coming into town there are several miles of ordnance bunkers in rows across the valley floor. Therefore the first stop was at the Ordnance Museum. Don and Bob were in their glory.
Hawthorne was established as a support centre for the mining industry and has had it's ups and downs with the boom or bust nature of that industry. In 1926, a destructive munition explosion in the east caused the military to select Hawthorne for a new munitions storage siteHawthorne, employing some 600 of the town's 4900 or so total inhabitants. At the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991, Hawthorne saw the huge16-inch gun barrels stored at its ammunition depot resurrected for service.
Hawthorne is located at the foot of Walker Lake, the terminus for the Walker River watershed - a watery gem amid arid land. It supports threatened fish and hundreds of thousands of breeding and migrating water birds, including spring and fall visits from common loons.Walker Lake's existence spans millions of years.
Along with Pyramid Lake in northwest Nevada and Mono Lake in eastern California, Walker Lake is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Lahontan, which covered much of central and northern Nevada during the last Ice Age. As the climate dried, Lake Lahontan receded and many closed valleys became isolated dry lake beds. The Walker River is one of three major rivers in Nevada draining the east slopes of the Sierra, supporting riparian, wetland and desert lake ecosystems.However, like the Salton Sea and other similar bodies of water, the dropping water level and lack of 'flushing' is resulting in high salt levels in the water, threatening the fish and wild life. As you drive along the lake you see the original water line close to 100 feet above the current water levelMineral County Museum, a volunteer run local museum that tells the story of the mining and settlement period - the non-military history. It has a number of neat exhibits and a large building to house them. I enjoyed wandering through it.Outside, I wandered down towards the highway and a children's park to get a better look at the giant flowers there, only to discover that there are made from munition cases. Talk about telling the story of a community!Tonight was our last evening with the Ritchies on this trip. Bob and Karen have decided to head directly north and to find some railway towns, while we have decide to head to the Reno area for the weekend. So tonight was our last meal together. It has been great sharing our travel adventures this winter and it's going to seem strange as we head off on our own again.