Ghosts Of Black Rock

“You are unable to count on your eyes when your creativity is out of emphasis”

Mark Twain

Black Rock is found at the northern tip of the Oquirrh Mountains wherever the variety finishes abruptly at the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake. This is a extremely historical place and it is an complete disgrace that it is in the issue it is. Black Rock is now a spot wherever fools go to exercise their graffiti or toss their garbage. There are outdated pilings, significant blocks of concrete that no doubt when served as breakwaters for the many resorts that have been positioned listed here more than the a long time. Aged supports of prolonged gone piers jut from the salt water below at the edge of the inland sea. The put has a type of skeletal appearance to go alongside with the ghostly heritage of the rock.

Quite a few several years back, Black Rock was a pretty different area. Lush grasses, reeds and rushes as soon as crept down to the seashores of the lake in this spot. Streamlets of pure, crystal very clear drinking water, fed by the melting snows of the Oquirrh Mountains once flowed into the lake in this region. 1 of the initially mentions created of Black Rock was Heinrich Lienhard’s Journal. In this journal Lienhard held a daily account of what he observed and experienced as a member of an emigrant party which passed via Utah and crossed the Excellent Salt Lake Desert on their way west, only weeks ahead of the Donner Celebration.

Here is an excerpt from that journal “August 8th, 1846 In the vicinity of this spring, stood an immense, isolated, rounded rock below which was a cave and those people going into it uncovered a human skeleton.” Now it is crystal clear that the get together was in the vicinity of Black Rock at the time but regardless of whether this is a description of Black Rock or 1 of the many caves and boulders just up the hill at the foot of the Oquirrh Mountains is unclear to me. There have been many studies of archaic human continues to be becoming located in caves in the vicinity of Black Rock. The space will have to have held some significance to the ancients as it was a substantially used burial ground. College archaeologists thoroughly examined the web-sites and a lot expertise was gained about these peoples who lived in this location very long in the past.

In 1850, Captain Howard Stansbury was conducting a survey of the Terrific Salt Lake and adjacent locations. He utilized Black Rock for numerous applications. Captain Stansbury retained a very careful document of this expedition and these information culminated in the following perform “An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah – Including an investigation of its geography, normal history, and minerals, and an examination of its waters” by Captain Howard Stansbury – Captain Corps of Topographical Engineers, U.S. Army. This quantity is one more a person of my own favorites about Utah Heritage.

The next are excerpts from this quantity that relate to Black Rock “April 19th, 1850 Soon after erecting a station on it is northern issue (Stansbury Island), it was my intention to carry on to Black Rock, a big isolated rock on the southern shore of the lake, midway concerning the two islands (Antelope & Stansbury), to erect a station on it” In get to perform his survey of the lake, Stansbury erected triangulation stations on the superior peaks of the islands and other prominent landmarks. He continues “April 20th, 1850 A refreshing gale was blowing in from the northwest which ongoing to boost in the course of the working day. The wind was excessively chilly, and the men had been obliged to wrap them selves in Buffalo skins to maintain heat. Environment the fore sail, we ran to Black Rock, a length of much more than 20 miles in 3 hrs. A station was framed from timbers beforehand slice in the mountains and hauled to the spot for the purpose but the force of the celebration was not enough to raise it”. Stansbury goes on to state that they were being in a position to erect the station on major of Black Rock the next working day and that he had the crew of the boat camp at Black Rock although he went to Salt Lake for materials.

Upon his return to Black Rock, Stansbury determined to exam out a principle he had “Ahead of leaving Black Rock, I designed an experiment upon the attributes of the h2o of the lake for preserving meat. A substantial piece of new beef was suspended by a twine and immersed in the lake for alternatively much more than twelve hrs when it was located to be tolerably perfectly corned. Immediately after this, all the beef we wished to protect while functioning upon the lake was packed into barrels without any salt in anyway, and the vessels had been then filled up with the lake drinking water. No more treatment or preparing was essential, and the meat retained beautifully sweet, while consistently exposed to the sunshine. I have no question that the meats set up in this drinking water would stay seem and very good as very long as if organized immediately after the most approved strategies. In fact we have been obliged to combine clean h2o with this normal brine, to reduce our meat from getting as well salt for existing use – a quite couple of times immersion changing it is really character from corned beef to what the sailors named “Salt Junk”

When I visited Black Rock and stood at the edge of the crack h2o, listening to the waves lap towards the rocks, I imagined Captain Stansbury and his crew, in their makeshift boat, traveling listed here and there around the lake. To consider that those people men camped around this place and erected a station with tall timbers on leading of this rock.

Stansbury was not the only one who would ply the waters of the lake. In 1854, Brigham Young had a ship produced and named it “Well timed Gull” in honor of the seagulls that saved the saints crops from the cricket hoards. Well timed Gull was employed for recreation needs and for transporting livestock to and from Antelope Island. The ship was fundamentally a 45 foot barge with a sail. Well timed Gull operated on the lake from it is really mooring at Black Rock for 4 a long time until a storm broke it free of charge from its mooring and swept it across the lake to the much shore in which it was wrecked.

I was contemplating of these things as I walked close to Black Rock hunting for a feasible route to its summit. It was a cold, grey, blustery February working day and the daylight was fading away. The flash of the strobe lights on the Kennecott Smelter stack to the east appeared to assault the coming darkness with a vengeance. The wind was blowing a bit tougher now and the waves grew greater and ended up now crashing against the rocks. As I viewed as the coming darkness and a realization that I would not want to linger at the rock right after darkish, I discovered a notch on the west side that authorized comparatively easy entry to the leading of the rock.

The moment on best, I stood there in the breeze and surveyed the scene. It appears corny but I was get over with a emotion of loneliness and disappointment, and a creepy emotion that I was not by yourself there. I really don’t always believe in ghosts but if I did, I would probably keep away from Black Rock because I had the previously described feelings just before I knew the heartbreaking tale of Mrs. Charley White.

Mildred Mercer wrote a fine piece on the background of Black Rock and it is found in the e book “Background of Tooele County – Quantity I” Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1961. The adhering to facts on the tale of the White household was received from that resource. When Captain Stansbury and his outfit visited Black Rock in 1850, his assistant, Lieutenant John W. Gunnison (Gunnison died in 1853 on the Sevier River bend west of Delta when his expedition was massacred by Indians) produced point out in his information that a Mr. Charley White and his spouse experienced built a hut on the lake shore and they had a salt developing small business in operation. Gunnison noticed that Mr. White had 6 big – 10 gallon kettles in operation. He would boil 60 gallons of lake water at a time and could produce 300 kilos of salt per working day. Gunnison stated that they could obtain 1 pail of salt from every single 4 pails of lake h2o.

Charley White ran a herd of cattle in the region all over Black Rock as very well and he was constantly owning troubles with Indians managing off with his stock. Seemingly all was not very well within just the White home and Charley at some point remaining his spouse who was identified locally as “Mom White”, and their two young children at Black Rock. Mom White continued to care for the animals and generate salt from the lake whilst elevating her younger daughter and son. Mother White was not a character to be taken flippantly as she was described by some as a significant girl who was normally observed carrying a double barreled shotgun. She would have experienced to have been hard as nails to endure as lengthy as she did on the shore of the lake, on the veritable edge of civilization.

If her partner abandoning her was not plenty of, one day in 1856, the two modest little ones went wading in the lake about a ¼ mile from the shore. If you have at any time waded out into the Fantastic Salt Lake, you will fully grasp the temptation to go ever farther as the drinking water is even now knee deep even a mile from the shore in quite a few destinations. The winds can alter the water depth abruptly on the other hand and waves can all of a sudden seem. This is what took place to the youngsters. An un-anticipated gale rose up on the lake, driving waves at the children. The minor boy was knocked down by a wave and he strangled and drowned in the brine. His sister ran to shore as quick as she could to get assistance but by the time Mom White arrived at the boy, he was lengthy long gone. She buried him on the slope of the Oquirrh’s at the rear of Black Rock.

Mom White should have been pretty frustrated following these gatherings. The gnats and mosquitoes that collect by the hundreds of thousands in the area would have been more than enough to depress any human being but these particular tragedies definitely manufactured factors substantially worse. Mother White and her daughter continued on at Black Rock until finally 1861 till they mysteriously disappeared. It was commonly considered that she experienced been murdered for her cattle as some of her inventory was later observed with some gentlemen in Tooele Valley. 1 principle was that her system was sunk in the Fantastic Salt Lake in the vicinity of Black Rock. Other folks believed that her physique was discarded in a shallow grave up Black Rock Canyon. What occurred to her daughter is not recognised. Whichever the reality of the story is, if there were being at any time a purpose for a ghost to haunt a area, Mom White certainly would have lots of motives to haunt the rock.

Several other fascinating activities transpired at Black Rock and not all of them are melancholy. In 1851, 150 carriages, buggies, and wagons traveled from Salt Lake Town to Black Rock wherever cannon ended up fired and a big American Flag was unfurled from the best of the rock in celebration of the 4th of July. Patrick Edward Connor operated quite a few ships from Black Rock that would haul ore from the Stockton Mines across the lake to Corrine and the railroad for transport to smelters. There was also a big resort at Black Rock in the late 1800’s that consisted of 100 tub homes, a big pavilion, an amusement park with a big merry go spherical, and the website visitors would arrive by prepare from Salt Lake Town in open air cars.

Right now, Black Rock is not even a shadow of the bygone glory days as it is an appealing place for scum to paint graffiti, litter, or carry out unscrupulous and illegal transactions. That becoming stated, It is a quite appealing place and a important landmark and aspect of our heritage. I just desire that some entity would clear it up, secure and maintain it in some trend for long term generations to delight in as the check out to the west from the rock throughout the lake cannot be defeat. To get there choose the Saltair exit #104 off of Interstate 80 and get on the north frontage road and generate west previous Saltair and the Fantastic Salt Lake Marina. The street will turn into unpaved, rocky, and bumpy but most cars can make it the past ¼ to the place the road terminates on the edge of the lake at Black Rock. Yet again, not a place you want to be just after darkish but if you have not been to Black Rock or to the Fantastic Salt Lake in standard, it is a really fascinating put, if not a spooky a single – worthy of a go to.