Take it easy
  Sodaville (Soda Springs)

38°20'29.72"N 118° 6'10.79"W USGS Sodaville Quad

VISITED 9/2/2017
DIRECTIONS Take US 95 S out of Hawthorne for 37.2 miles.

A focal point for mining and freighting in the area. It was in the cards to be a major rail stop but apparently someone got greedy and the railroad decided to sink a well at Mina and go there instead.

THe Wadsworth/Columbus Freight Route ran through what was then known as Soda Springs.

The A. J. Holmes Company and a few gentlemen whoa re associated with them in the enterprise, are surveying a branch road from Teal's Marsh to intersect the Wadsworth road at Soda Springs, a distance of eighteen miles from Teal's March and twenty-one miles from Columbus. Mr. A. Gerrard, our County Surveyor, is now on the road.
-Gold Hill Daily News, October 1, 1873

Sodaville was a fairly lonely pace back in the 1870's, even lonelier and more isolated than it is now.

Of peculiar adventures of a Mr. A. P. Munck, a citizen of Columbus, while traveling in the Excelsior Mountains, the Borax Miner of January 3 says:
It appears from his statement that he was out hunting for horses on Excelsior Flat between Rhodes March and Walker Lake. The horse he was riding got away from him, with the saddle and bridle, and he could not catch him. He walked in sand and snow about four inches deep, until he wore himself out completely, and would have perished if he had not got a fire started. He had got wet with sweat in trying to catch his horse and his boots froze to his feet. He got so sleepy he could not keep his eyes open. The night was dark and he had trouble to get where there was any wood. He had no blankets nor anything to eat, and was nine or ten miles from Soda Springs, the nearest point where he could get food. He could not go there; he was too near worn out. He could do nothing more then. WHen he got wood he was all right. First he got some sagebrush and started a fire and warmed his feet a little, and thawed his boots. After he got his boots off, his socks dried and his feet warmed, he traveled around till he got some wood. He had to feel around for the wood. After he got the wood he says, "he was all right," and that after he got warm he was not sleepy. He stayed with the fire until daylight. He obtained water to drink my melting snow in his hat, but could not quench his thirst. In the morning he stared for Soda Springs and it took him until two o'clock to go nine miles, being so badly used up from fatigue and exposure the night before. He got his horse six days after, about five miles from where he got away, with his saddle under his belly and his bridle on, and a Spanish bit, with which it was scarcely possible for a horse to eat enough to live. They both survive.
-The Daily Appeal, January 10, 1874

Seems to me that the Yerington Times shouldn't throw stones, but...

$10.50 for a Night's Accommodation, and $6.50 for a Breakfast and a Few Pounds of Barley-- Why There is no Mail Between Dayton and Belleville.
[$10.50 in 1878 = $286 in 2020 dollars; $6.50 = $177]
John Bennetts, of the firm of Bennetts Brothers, of this city, left on horseback for Belleville, this morning, to endeavor to have the contract recently awarded to them, to carry weekly mail from Dayton, in this county, to Belleville, in Esmeralda county, annulled, as he cannot make expenses on the pay allowed him. He started out with A. Gandy, of this city, last week in June, to go over the route. He found the most of it to consist of heavy, sandy ground, in which even a light buggy sinks several inches. The country throughout is exceedingly dry, the watering stations twenty-five miles apart, and hay and grain are very dear. but he would not mind that much, as he could pack his water and feed a part of the way, were not the charges so enormous at all the stopping places along the road. Messrs. Bennetts and Gandy were three nights on the way. The first night they stopped this side of Mason Valley and do not of overcharges. They were alone, and only had two horses and their buggy with them, but they were charged $10.50 for their night's accommodation. At Soda Springs-- their next stopping place00 the charges were still more exorbitant. They arrived there after midnight and started shortly after daylight; about ten or twelve pounds of barley but no hay to feed to their horses. Neither Gandy no Bennetts eat any supper, but they did eat some breakfast, and their bill was $6.50! In view of these heavy charges (which would be much higher for stage teams) Mr. Bennetts has concluded to throw up his contract.
-Yerington TImes, July 13, 1878

Seeing as how it was conveniently located, they tossed up a mill here.

The mill at Sodaville, - Esmeralda county, has resumed crushing ore from the Mt. Diablo mine at Candelaria. The mill has a force of thirty-five employees.
-Daily Alta California, 6 August 1888

Sodaville is again a bustling hamlet. The Mt. Diablo Mill is running like an eight-day clock.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 9, 1892

Don't know if this ever happened.

A 100 ton copper smelting plant is to be installed at Sodaville, Esmeralda county.
-Reno Evening Gazette, June 20, 1899

There was a stage between Sodaville and Tonopah. Took about twelve hours to get there. Later automobiles cut down the time a little bit, and trains even more.

Daily Service Between Sodaville and Tonopah
Offices-- Riverside, The Overland, and
Palace Hotels, Reno, Nev.
Fast Freight and Wells-Fargo Express
Ladd and Chon, Props.
-Reno Evening Gazette, February 2, 1903

One Will Soon Be In Operation Between Sodaville and Tonopah for Passenger Traffic
John Munford, of the pioneer Automobile Company, passed through Reno Saturday night enroute to San Francisco from Tonopah. Mr. Munford went to Tonopah three weeks ago with a twenty horse power Winton Touring Car for
Fred Seibert. The car was unloaded at Sodaville and the run of sixty miles made into Tonopah in five hours running time, consuming four gallons of distillate as fuel in the run. The trip was entirely successful and the practicability of an automobile line was very apparent to Mr. Munford. As a consequence of this trip a forty horse power machine with a capacity for fifteen passengers will be running between Tonopah and Sodaville within a month. A new road independent of the stage road will be constructed and the automobile will be strong opposition to the stage lines now in operation.
-Reno Evening Gazette, July 13, 1903

Reno, Nev.-- the first engine to go over the new Tonopah Rhodes road made the trip last week to the first station, Coalville. The trip was made in less than one hour. Freight and passengers are now transferred to and from the stage at Coalville, reducing time between Sodaville and Tonopah more than two hours. -Mariposa Gazette, April 23, 1904

Tungsten is the big deal now.

Sodaville, Nev., Find of Rich Vein of Tungsten Results in Vandalism
Reno.—Tombstones are being used for location monuments in the new mining district near Sodaville, where a fabulously rich ledge of tungsten ore was discovered ten days ago, according to reports brought to Reno by men who answered the call of the desert and rushed to get some of the claims.
One miner located the village cemetery, and as there were no rocks near, he used some of the best looking tombstones to mark the boundaries of his claim.
Others soon followed suit, and now the relatives of the departed, interred there years ago, would have a hard time recognizing one grave from another.
-Sausalito News, 4 December 1915

Sodaville - SOLD!

Robert J. Stewart, former owner of the Sodaville townsite and springs consisting of 160 acres, came in this morning from San Francisco where he went to close the sale of his property to the Atkin-Kroll company, the big tungsten operators. The deal was consumated but it did not include the old homestead that Stewart has occupied for so long and which he says he will continue to occupy for the rest of his days as he say he does not want to liver anywhere else and no one would let him live elsewhere. The little town which sprang into prominence when Tonopah was discovered is experiencing another boom through development of tungsten. THe Atkins-Kroll company has a large force of carpenters busy framing timbers for the new 100 ton mill under construction. As soon as the concentrating pant is finished the mine force will larely be increased from its present number of 85 men.
-Tonopah Daily Bonanza, May 3, 1916

Well, let's hope ol' Bob was able to enjoy a couple more good years.

The death of Bob Stewart, known all over Southern Nevada as the mayor of Sodaville, removes on the the old poneers of Southern NEvada and a man who was probably known to more prospectors and mining men that anyone in the southern part of the state. Mr. Stewart resided at Sodaville for many years, where he conducted a hotel. He was there before the railroad reached the Southern Nevada gold field and his motel now stands within a few feet of the railroad track and contains the post office and depot. He owned the greater part of the land around Sodaville and was a continnual booster for the little town, situated close to the junction of the Tonopah & Goldfield road and the Southern Pacific road running to Keeler. The soda springs near Sodaville were the main attraction of the place for a time and of late years the discovery of tungsten nearby has given it a "boom" appearance.
-Reno Evening Gazette, March 20, 1919

As time passed, Sodaville got less important.

SODAVILLE, 147 mi. (hot mineral baths), once the most important town between Reno and Tonopah, is now almost deserted. Before the railroad was carried to Tonopah, this was the point at which all freight for the town was unloaded-- and also the place there most of the boomers transferred to stages for the slow, dusty trip across the desert. One man said it was necessary to take a shovel at the end of the trip to discover which of his fellow passengers was his wife. Night and day the railroad and stage officers here were besieged by frantic people-- mine owners trying to discover where machinery was, restaurant-keepers imploring priority for their perishable shipments. Swearing, sweating freight agents threatened to disappear forever. One in Sodaville an unthinking store-keeper suddenly appeared behind his counter garbed in a Hallowe'en mask and costume that had been ordered for the daughter of one of the prominent mining men of the area. It was Saturday night pay day, and the store was jammed with Indians. What was intended as an innocuous joke proved to be the merchant's undoing. The terrified Indians fled in panic, not bothering to seek the door but plunged headlong through the window glass. Convinced that the Devil had appeared among them, they refused thereafter to enter the store. Here, too, in 1904, "Two Gun" Mike Kennedy, self-styled the toughest man that ever came out of the East, met his death. According to old-timers, Kennedy had bullied the camp for weeks; and on Saturday night he was cutting it wide and handsome when he ran into a quiet and peaceable miner named James Lund, in from his diggings for a little quiet drinking and fun. Lund, unarmed, called the braggart's bluff, and Kennedy, inviting him to shoot it out, offered him one of his guns. The two men squared off in the center of the main street with the residents lined along the walks, and blazed away. The toughest man ever to emerge from the East fell with six bullets in his body, and the miner, unscratched, walked into a saloon for another drink.
-The WPA Guide To Nevada- 1940

It was still used for other things, though.

Members of the carpenters union, local No. 632, and laborers union, local 313, will stage a picnic at Sodaville springs, four miles south of Mina, next Sunday. All members of organized labor and their families are invited to participate in the day's entertainment, which will include races, swimming events and softball games for both men and women. The picnic will start at 9 o'clock in the morning and continue throughout the day, with the ball games featuring the afternoon program.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 20, 1941

Its location still provided a good spot for milling ore from nearby mines, however.

The Nevada Tungsten Corp. was organized in 1950 by Mr. Sanborn and Mr. Thomle under Deleware laws with offices in Sodaville, Nevda. It includes a ball and floation mill on a 40-scre patented mill site near HIghway 95 at Sodaville. The mill, capable of processing 100 tons of ore daily, was purchased for $45,000.
-Nevada State Journal, May 10, 1952

It was learned that K.W. Dunham, who was manager of the Lindsay mine operation under former ownership, now has a crew of five men engaged in getting the Sodaville mill in shape to handle tungsten ore from the SIlver Dyke mine.
-Reno Evening Gazette, Octoer 17, 1955

POST OFFICE October 9, 1882- February 10, 1911 [Esmeralda Co.]
February 10, 1911- March 31, 1917 [Mineral Co.]

Well, we were going to check it out but the gate said "no trespassing" and, frankly, the area looks a little creepy, so maybe we'll check it out some other time. No photos, but have some maps showing the rise and fall of the little burg. Mr. Moreno has a nice little article here.

Returned later as promised and it's just as creepy as ever. Just a big private junk pile, frankly. Would have liked to get back to check out the cemetery or poke around the spring, but no dice. Keep moving.

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