Parran is a station on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
When this section was opened on October 19, 1902, it was part of the Central Pacific Railroad. The International Salt
Co. under a lease from the Desert Crystal Salt Co. made
small productions at Parran in 1911 and 1912.
-Churchill County Master Plan 2015, Appendix A
Little more than three decades after the completion of the Central
Pacific Railroad through Nevada, the location of the line was shifted
from the Truckee River route through the Forty-Mile Desert to the Carson
route; After years of financial trouble, the sinking Central Pacific
company sold out to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1899. Seeking to
rebuild a line that had been allowed to deteriorate, the new owners set
out a more efficient, more profitable line. In 1902-1903 and 1907-1908
the Southern Pacific relocated and rebuilt more than two hundred miles of
track within the state. Among the first changes occurred on the line from
Brown's to Sparks near Reno, in 1902-1903. Instead of remaining along the
Truckee River route, the new tracks, as well as the new telegraph line,
followed- the Carson route to the south and southwest of the Humboldt Dike,
thereby avoiding the steep slopes of "the White Plains hill." Though the
distance was now greater, the flatter Carson route took less time and
money to travel. As the SPRR tore down the old tracks and structures on the Central Pacific line, they simultaneously erected the new stations at
Huxley and Parran and the section house at Ocala. The new location did not
solve the railroad's lack of water, as it still had to be imported from
elsewhere, but the shift did contribute to the success that the Southern
Pacific brought to the old line. Moreover, the redirection of the railroad
gave greater impetus to the developers of lands around the Carson Sink,
including the townsmen of Fallon and the people involved with the Newlands
When Parran station was planned in 1902, on the new
Southern Pacific line, the Kinney Saline Deposits Association built a
salt works nearby, hoping to capitalize on the nearby transportation.
However, production lasted no more than seven or eight years. The
operators generally shipped their salt to ranchers in the area, but the
market must not have been very large. Within ten years of the opening
of the plant, production had ceased. A passer-by in 1915 noted that the
works "had not been operated for several years."
- A CULTURAL RESOURCES OVERVIEW OF THE
CARSON AND HUMBOLDT SINKS, NEVADA
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
NAVAL FACILITIES ENGINEERING COMMAND
SAN BRUNO, CALIFORNIA
Contract No. N62474-79-C-5502
James C. Bard, Colin I. Busby and John M. Findlay, 1981
Parran operated as a telegraph station as well as a "jerkwater
" station for the Southern Pacific.
Throughout the period Wadsworth was growing as a major train stop and servicing depot for the Central Pacific Railroad, (1867-1902) a small jerkwater grew up out of the desert just two miles south. The supervisors of the rail route were smart to lay siding track at several places to allow traffic by when Wadsworth was congested or when a train was coming by on the single track ahead. The toughest and driest part of the trip across the United States for the old steam engines was between Lovelock and Wadsworth. Water was a constant problem and jerkwaters sprang up along the entire desert route. Jerkwaters were named so because the engineers stopped below a large water holding tank where they filled the steam engine’s water tank from the top by laying the hose into the opened hatch and pulling a chain that operated the plunger to let the water flow into the tank. In some cases, the engineers were so adept at stopping and filling the engine’s tanks they didn’t even have to get out of the cab and just jerked the chain to fill the tank. These jerkwaters were also used as bases for supplies and laborers who made sure the tanks were full of water and the tracks were clean and clear for the engines. Many little service stops were installed over a fifty mile stretch between the Humboldt Sink and the Truckee River’s Big Bend. After the many realignments between 1875 and 1901, some of the sidings were re-named but most remained with their names forever to be forgotten except by the railroad engineers. From Lovelock west were the sidings of Toy, Perth, Granite Point, Toulon, Miriam, Ocala, Huxley, Parran, Desert (prev: Marsala), Upsal, Falais, Massie, Hazen, Darwin (prev: Patna), Argo, Luva, New Junction and Two Mile.
-Canal Town, John Evanoff, http://visitreno.com/evanoff/nov-07.php
For some reason, it seemed to be a dangerous stretch of track for some folks.
CANAL LABORER KILLED BY TRAIN
Body of Ed Shannon, Teribly Mangled, Discovered by Brakeman at Parran, East of Sparks.
Ed Shannon, a laborer on the government canal at Derby, was found dead on the railroad track at Paran, sixty-two m!les east of Sparks. His lifeless corpse was discovered yesterday morning by a brakeman on the Overland Limited while the train was standing on the track taking water. The train crew was summoned immediately and removed the remains of the unfortunate man from the track. A hasty examination showed that both of his legs had been cut off, his skull badly crushed and his bowels lacerated. The condition of his body indicated that he had evidently been killed by some train that had passed by during the night. His body was perfectly cold and the blood from the different wounds had ceased to flow. The only means of discovering the name of the man was through an identification check which was found in his pockets. The certificate had been issued a short time previous by the foreman on Camp No. 1 of the government works at Derby. A thorough examination resulted in the finding of a purse containing $2. The coroner of Churchill county was notified of the occurrence and hastened to the scene of the accident, accompanied by his deputy, to hold the inquest. After the inquest has been finished the remains will be taken to Fallon.
-Nevada State Journal, April 16, 1905
RUN OVER BY A TRAIN
UNKNOWN MAN KILLED AT PARRAN SATURDAY NIGHT
Was Well Dressed and Had Some Money in His Pocket May Have Fallen Off Train
An unknown man, well dressed and with considerable money in his pockets, was run over and frightfully mangled by a train at Parran, a small station a few miles east of Hazen last Saturday night. Just what train struck him is not known, as his body was discovered by a brakeman on a freight train, who had alighted from his train for the purpose of unlocking and throwing a switch. The body was lying by the side of the track and was so terribly mangled that it could not be identified. The body was picked up by a freight train and carried to Hazen, where the coroner took charge of it. The man was too well dressed to be a tramp and it is thought by some that he might have fallen from a train and been cut to pieces beneath the wheels. without any one knowing that he had fallen off. Just how long the body had been lying by the side of the track when it was discovered is unknown. There were no papers in his pockets to discover his identity.
-Reno Evening Gazette, February 12, 1906
At the time the post office was requesting in July of 1909, it was to serve about 30 people, although we don't know if they were all in Parran or just in the area.
Oh no. Another accident.
An unknown man between the ages of 20 and 30 was killed some time Saturday night or Sunday morning at a point about two miles west of Parran in this county. The body was literally cut to pieces, and the finding of the coroner's jury empanelled Monday by Justice Mason, of Hazen, was that death resulted from falling underneath a train upon which the unfortunate was beating his way. No means of identification were at hand and the unfortunate's remains were taken to Hazen where they were buried in the potter's field Monday.
-Churchill Standard, April 30, 1913
OK, enough of that.
We got other problems.
Hot Springs are Gerlach, Nevda were dried by the earthquake last night while similar springs at Golconda, 200 miles east, rose six inches and the flow increased, according to reports received here. The greatest damage was suffered by Souther Pacific Company water tanks at Parran, Lovelock, Kodak, and Battle Mountain being knocked down. THe Western Pacific railroad station at Carlin was damaged.
-Madera Mercury, October 8, 1915
A short desrciption from a 1916 guidebook.
Parran is the lowest point on the Nevada portion of the Southern Pacific route. The salt-incrusted surface about the station is typical of the margins of the large playas that are common in these deserts. Water generally stands on the
surface of the sink, and in the distance on its south side may be seen a thin line of dark trees trailing out into the desert. These trees are cottonwoods, which border the lower channel of Carson River, the principal source of the water that flows into the sink. At Parran is an old salt plant which has not been operated for several years, but which formerly produced a few hundred tons of salt annually for local use at nearby settlements. There is a water tank and pump station at Parran, but all the water used at this place is brought in tank cars, being run into an underground cistern from which it is pumped into the tank. Beyond Parran lies a desolate stretch of barren dunes of clay and sand with scattered clumps of greasewood. The desert is bordered on the northwest by bare hills, whose slopes, in many places even to the summits, are covered with white, wind-drifted sand. The scenery along this part of the route offers but little variety and suggests extreme desolation. High sand dunes, more or less covered with greasewood, and small bare mud plains (playas) continue beyond Hazen. Just east of Hazen is another gravel pit which, like several already mentioned, is in one of the beach-bar deposits of former Lake Lahontan.
-USGS Bulletin 612 GUIDEBOOK OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES PART B. THE OVERLAND ROUTE 1916
Salt deposits in
the area provided some economic activity for Parran as well.
During the last twenty years salt has been produced and sold from Sand Springs, White Plains, Leete, and Parren in Churchill County. Much of the salt was obtained by solar evaporation of brines.
-Nonmetal Occurences in Nevada, Fulton, Faith, 1931
Looks like business was rough, though.
No. 619 - International Salt Co.-- Salt works at Parran, valuation, $1,000. Total tax $15.50, deliquency, $1.55; advertising, $2.00; total $19.05
Delinquent Tax Sale Churchill Standard 1-27-1915.JPG
Just like it is now, Parran was a place to be careful.
Streamline Train Delayed for Five Hours Near Parran
One set of wheels on the rear car of the westbound City of San Francisco was derailed yesterday morning as the train moved slowly through Parran, 60 miles east of Reno, the Southern Pacific railroad disclosed, The derailment stalled the train for five hours and 38 minutes be-fore wrecking crews succeeded in jacking the train up and re-railing the truck, officials reported. The car was derailed after it was leavmg a siding, to which it had pultecl to allow the eastbound streamliner to pass. None of the passengers was injured. The train was moving about three miles an hour at the time, officials renorted.
-Nevada State Journal, February 29, 1948
Traffic Resumes Following Tieup
Traffic was resumed over the Southern Pacific lines east of here Saturday afternoon after a tie-up caused by a derailment at Parran. Three transcontinental trains, including the streamliner, were held up when the wheels of a freight engine left the tracks while entering a switch. A derrick and other equipment was sent. from Sparks and traffic was resumed at 5:30 p.m.
-Reno Evening Gazette, January 17, 1949