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Hawthorne, NevadaHawthorne is the seat of Mineral County on US 95, the main Reno - Las Vegas highway, and serves as Nevada's gateway to Yosemite and the High Sierra. Good food and lodgings choices, and all services to travelers
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    Artscape in Hawthorne

    Hawthorne is on the main Las Vegas-Reno highway and serves as Nevada's gateway to Yosemite and the eastern Sierra via the Pole Line Road (Nevada 359) connecting with US 395 and the Tioga Pass. Founded in 1881 as a division point on the Carson & Colorado Railroad, Hawthorne's site was selected by the mules used by the work crews to grade the right-of-way. Turned loose to forage for themselves in the winter, they found the most sheltered spot on the valley Travel Nevadato protect themselves from the freezing wind. The humans had the wisdom to accept their critters' advice, and Hawthorne was established in this favored location in the valley.

    Hawthorne became the Esmeralda County seat in 1883, replacing Aurora where the mines were in deep decline. In 1905 the SP changed over to standard gauge and bypassed Hawthorne completely by going around the east side of Walker Lake. The railroad built a new terminal at Mina and in 1907 the booming mining city of Goldfield took the Esmeralda County seat away.

    In 1911, State Senator Fred Balzar of Hawthorne was able to persuade his fellow legislators that Esmeralda County was too large. Mineral County was created from its northern part with Hawthorne as its seat, and the old Court House was put back into service. In 1926 half of Hawthorne's business district burned down, but even this was not enough to kill the tough little town.

    And finally Hawthorne had some luck. Lake Denmark, New Jersey, was blown off the face of the earth by a huge explosion at the naval ammunition depot there, and Congress wanted to find some less valuable real estate for the new one. After a nationwide search, Hawthorne was the choice, the Yucca Mountain of its time. In 1984, after nearly 50 years without a major mishap, one of the storage bunkers exploded. The blast was contained as intended, blowing up instead of out, and the deeply feared chain-reaction causing immense damage and loss of life did not occur.

    Hawthorne's crown jewel is the long-established El Capitan at the enter of town. The Mineral County Museum on the north end of town is an enjoyable collection of local area artifacts and discoveries dating back as far as the Miocene Era fossils from nearby Stewart Valley and as recent as the collection of hand-made knives confiscated at the state prison.

  • Hawthorne Correspondence – December 2016
  • Hawthorne Ordnance Museum

    Historic Hawthorne’s Guns and Roses

    With awe inspiring views of Mount Grant and Walker Lake, Hawthorne is nestled in as a historic landmark of military pride and sentimental gardening qualities, which yields a true “Guns and Roses” opportunity to visit. Over the years, the Hawthorne Army Depot boasted a medium-sized population of military families eager to plant their roots and become community members. The local military base began it’s active history in 1930 as an ammunition storage and assembly-line bomb making facility, but as time marched forward the employee base gradually declined as the fashion of wars changed, which altered many current weaponry pieces required in the latest warfare.

    Today, as the base’s contracted employees concentrate a large part of their time on ammunition de-mil efforts, while balancing the storage of out-of-date items and renovation of salvaged pieces, the community spirit has retained it’s positive momentum.  This is seen best in the welcoming Garden Club’s flower pots along the main street of Hawthorne and at the predominant Ordnance Museum, located just two blocks east of Highway 95.  The Veteran’s Park flanks the corner with tributes: a large Naval warfare piece and creative bomb-salvaged windmills turning in the breezes.

    On the north side of E Street, large windows encase the Ordnance Museum’s vast collection of military items, which are easily seen from the street. A Patton Tank welcomes visitors for photo ops, along with the outdoor display of original military bombs. Outdoor photo opportunities abound, drawing visitors to stop on a daily basis.

    With winter hours of 10 to 3 Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 to 2, a volunteer greets you with a guest book inside this unique museum. A roomy Ordnance Gift Shop offers the chance to purchase one-of-a-kind articles, such as bomb canisters, bullet keychains, cheaply priced ammo boxes, military overages, and handcrafted items which help support the museum’s overhead. It’s a nice seasonal shopping spot for the Christmas Season.

    Looking around, there is an overwhelming awe, as one can see intricate historic war displays and handle items once used in warfare. It is a place for the young to experience the touch of history, as well as for the old to reminisce about the many eras of our country’s strides.  Visitors freely walk through the many rooms, open to photograph anything and are encouraged to enjoy the visit with any questions they may have.

    The museum remains a constant work in progress, always expanding as new items are curated. Clothing and various donated memorabilia are lined up behind eight-foot glass cases, with intricate collectables one may never see anywhere else. An upcoming enclosed aircraft building is slated as their next large project, especially to house a UH-1 Huey Helicopter that was obtained and transported in two recent trips from the White Sands, New Mexico missile range. Pieces are shared nationwide, with some duplicate items given to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. These priceless artifacts of torpedoes, ammunition, guns, bombs, a 1960’s flight drone, transportation items, and military bunkhouse pieces hold an Americana value enjoyed by people throughout the world who have visited Hawthorne’s Ordnance Museum.

    — Sheri Samson

    The post Hawthorne Correspondence – December 2016 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network - Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7.

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