Thursday, August 23, 2012

Highways 8, 8A, and 8B

While already busy on the Tuscarora Loop series, which I hope won't be posted in too sporadic a fashion, I noticed that I'm practically living on old Highway 8A!! (How did I not notice this before now??)

Nevada state highways 8, 8A, and 8B used to be a semi-contiguous set of routes that ran from Tonopah to Austin (8A, now S.R. 376), Austin to Battle Mountain (8A, now S.R. 305), Winnemucca to McDermitt (8, now U.S. 95), Winnemucca to Paradise in Paradise Valley (8B, now S.R. 290), and all across northwest Nevada: from between Paradise Hill and Orovada to Denio on what is now S.R. 140, part of the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, and then from Denio or Denio Junction to the California state line near Vya, on what is partly S.R. 140 and mostly an unmarked but possibly still locally signed portion of 8A. This latter portion of 8A, located almost entirely in northern Washoe County, has not been numbered on state roadmaps since 1981.
1929 Nevada Highway Map,
with the first appearance of S.R. 8 and S.R. 8A.
1932 NV Highway Map,
with the first appearance of S.R. 8B.

Highway 8B is shown with varying lengths, sometimes not making it quite to the town of Paradise, sometimes making it to Paradise, and sometimes making it some undefined or variable short distance beyond Paradise.
1939 NV Highway Map,
the last year S.R. 8 was shown for what is now U.S. 95.
1967 NV Highway Map,
the last year S.R. 8A was shown for what is now S.R. 140.
1978-79 NV Highway Map,
showing old and new numbers for 8A, 8B, and 140.
1980-81 NV Highway Map, showing old and new numbers for
8A and 8B, but S.R. 140 is back to it's usual self.
1982 NV Highway Map: all the old numbers of our favorite
roads are gone, replaced by the new ones.
2011-2012 Nevada Highway Map,
the current map.

As far as the maps go, rather than just the highways, a few things are noteworthy: at least one Indian reservation has shrunk over the years, according to these maps, and "DANGER" areas (military bases or withdrawals), which were shown as zero on the 1929 map, have increased over the years, including an increase in the Fallon area on the 2011-2012 map as compared to the the 1982 map.

Oh, and the last time Winnemucca Lake was shown on these highway maps (instead of Winnemucca Dry Lake), was in 1940, though elsewhere it is said to have dried up in the 1930's, more specifically, by 1938. The lake dried up as a result of the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902, specifically the building of Derby Dam in 1905, which diverted water from the Truckee River into the drainage of the Carson (to irrigate Fernley and Fallon). Additionally, at some point after the lake dried up, Mud Lake Slough, the spillover to Winnemucca Lake from Pyramid Lake, was blocked, reportedly by Highway 34, now S.R. 447, an assertion confirmed rather obliquely here in Note 29, giving no timeframe for the action.

Links to all Historical Nevada Highway Maps.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the good burghers of Sulphur chose the British spelling, rather than the American "Sulfur" for their town/village/hamlet/railroad siding/ghost town (?).


Silver Fox said...

The town started as a mining town (for sulfur, surprise!) in the 1860's - maybe the "old" spelling was still prevalent back then. It's now located right on the railroad, so is maybe also a siding, and one website said it once had a railroad station.

I haven't looked around Sulphur much, have seen an old roof lying on the bare ground.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at Google Earth, and there doesn't seem to be much of anything there, now: a maze of old dirt tracks, a couple scars that might have been building lots, and a collection of (?rusted out car wrecks?). If there was a siding there it looks like it's been abandoned.

However, there's a big mine complex just to the east of Sulphur, that appears to be still in operation: what's that?

Anonymous said...

Huh! And it (Sulphur) is within walking distance of your "Pulpit Rock", your topic two posts back! I spotted the rock while I was checking the area of that mine out on Street View--talk about a small world! (the Street View images are too crappy to make out the signs at the mine entrance road).


Silver Fox said...

That's the Hycroft gold mine. It maybe used to be called Lewis&Crowfoot, or maybe that's who used to own it. Been around since the 80's at least.

I've seen photos of Sulphur online, none with any intact buildings, just parts of buildings, cars, cans and things, old equipment.

And you're right, it's *not* a siding, but there is a crossing there.