Saturday, December 03, 2011

Aurora Ghost Town (West Pine Street)

(GPS: N38° 17.200 W118° 54.055)

Imagine a square grid with roads and that is the way Aurora was mapped out. However, most of the roads within that grid are at different levels. So, back during the time of this town you would have to gain or lose some elevation traveling around town. Maybe not too significant, but trying to imagine where buildings were on some of these roads is a little different than what you see at Bodie.

In the next picture I am at the main crossroads of the town. I would say it is slightly north of the center of town. I am looking south here, but the main street of town, Pine Street, intersects the road running east and west here. In the next few blogs I will be covering the west side first and then the east side.
Now turning around back to the north you can see the craggy cliff area I mentioned in the previous blog. The armory would have been up there on that side overlooking the town. You can see a vehicle parked on the left. Most people park there when they come here. Oddly enough, that person came alone and was looking for birds from what I could tell. At least he was making bird calls for them. It was kind of annoying because we had to purposely evade him so he would not show up in the pictures or video. He was still there when we left. This is the wall that I showed some of in the previous blog. I think I have read that it might have been part of the bank. I can't remember right now, but its importance is it makes a good reference point while exploring the area.
Turning a little more to the left from the above picture will give us where the west part of Pine Street would have been. The sagebrush has completely covered the road, but you can see traces of where it once was. In fact, if you use above GPS coords with satellite maps you might be able to make out this part of the old street.
In this direction the Merchants' Exchange Hotel would have been. It was used as a hotel, a saloon, and a restaurant. There were a bunch of saloons in this town. The Daly Gang got into a bunch of gunfights that usually started and ended at them. The Merchants' Exchange played a part in one of the killings. I will comeback to the gang in a later blog.
In the above picture you can see the remains of the Merchants' Exchange Hotel. It is the last building on the left in the background. The original caught on fire, and this one you see decaying was the rebuilt one. It is difficult for me to describe where it was, but it is important to notice in the artist's depiction that Pine Street runs right next to the second level of the building.

In my picture below, you will notice the dirt road heads to the right. However, Pine Street would have been very close to continuing straight into the middle of the picture. Again, the sagebrush overgrowth now covers that up.
I'll head out to close to where the Exchange would have been in the next blog.

Aurora Ghost Town: West Pine Street (Youtube Version)

Aurora Ghost Town: West Pine Street (Vimeo Version)