Elko Field Office
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Date: April 20, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386
Email: mbrown@nv.blm.gov


The structural steel beams for the roof are being erected by Glassey Steel Works of Salt Lake CityElko, Nev. — Contractors are now more than 200 days into the 510-day California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center construction contract.

“Frazier Masonry has nearly completed the masonry walls at the front of the building,” said Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Trail Center Manager Dave Jamiel. “They are now working on the east end of the building in the gift shop and restroom areas.”

West Coast Construction graded and compacted the parking and plaza areas. They also worked to prepare the floor by compacting the base materials and placing the vapor barrier in the south half of the building.

Spires Concrete placed concrete in the footing for the plaza walls and column foundation near the main entry to the building. Copeland Electric is roughing in conduits in the masonry walls and under-floor areas.

The structural steel erectors began setting the steel columns, beams and trusses.

A Scrape with Cholera - by Terry Del Bene

The California gold rush coincided with a world-wide cholera epidemic. Gold-seekers would spread the cholera throughout the trail. Medical knowledge about the cause and treatment of cholera was poor at best. Patients actually stood a better chance of survival if they were not treated by a physician.

In 1849, Dr. Jeter Lynch Thompson, one of the first Cherokee medical doctors, was making his way west in the company of several of his slaves. Many of the Cherokee companies which headed to the gold fields took a new route which would become The Cherokee Trail. Other members of the Cherokee Nation took the Platte River route from Independence, Missouri. The Platte River Route emigrants suffered heavily from the effects of cholera.

Dr. Thompson reports on one group of emigrants who in their haste to get to the gold fields managed to jump out ahead of the main wagon train by some three days. This fast-moving group of emigrants numbered 14 individuals. Their progress was halted when cholera hit the party. When the main train caught up with them only six were left alive. So many sudden deaths from cholera was a common tale during the gold rush.

Dr. Thompson himself came down with the cholera while traveling on the Hastings Cutoff. His companions did not know what to do with the doctor, so they attempted to make him as comfortable as possible. A hammock was made from a buffalo robe and the good doctor was suspended in this contraption. Four men and a wagon, along with sufficient digging tools to prepare a grave, were left with the doctor. After all this was a gold rush and most forty-niners realized the need to get into the gold fields while the getting was good. As the wagons pulled away from the doctor in his hammock, most were sure they had seen their last of him.

Four days later while the main company rested at a spring the doctor’s wagon appeared on the horizon. All expected the wagon to bring with it the sad news that the good Doctor had died and been left in a lonely grave. Much to their surprise the doctor’s health had improved sufficiently for him to travel. Dr. Thompson would go to California and establish a ranch and farm near the Feather River mines. His slaves worked their way to freedom providing food for the miners. By 1855 Dr. Thompson would be back in the Cherokee Nation where he would serve as a Senator. Perhaps the good doctor was fortunate that there were no physicians to treat him when he contracted the cholera.

Source- Cherokee Trail Diaries (Vols. I and II)


Last updated: 03-27-2015