Old Iron in Death Valley


Death Valley National Park in California is known for many natural wonders and a desolate beauty all its own.  It also is known for having one of the harshest environments in the world.  Despite this harsh environment there have been many different human endeavors in the valley including mining and prospecting, establishment of a first class hotel, a "castle" in the northern part, date farming, a golf course, etc.  Below is a collection of pictures I've taken of an interesting power generating plant at Scotty's Castle and a variety of old equipment located on the grounds of the Furnace Creek Ranch.  The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest has much information regarding the desert area in general and Death Valley in particular.  It is not unusual for the temperature to approach 130° F. (54° C.) during the summer months on the valley floor.

There are large pictures behind these thumbnails.
Scotty's Castle in the northern part of Death Valley. This bell tower sits atop the power house.
An example of the unusual architectural accents of the castle. A picture of the power house in its early days.
The power house as it exists today. This 18 inch Pelton water wheel drives a 7.5 KW DC generator and is still functional.
This Fairbanks Morse diesel generator was added when more power than the Pelton could generate was needed. The power distribution panel with a small modern generator in the foreground.
A tile mosaic showing the general layout of the power system. Some of the construction materials were produced in this gravel separation plant on the premises.
The remains of a very early solar water heating system. The weather was a little threatening the day I took these pictures.
A "less than complete" Atlas Imperial diesel. The other side of same engine.
Valve train. Oil filter housing which may also function as an oil cooler.
The reason I think it is the oil filter. A small Fairbanks Morse generator set.
The generator itself. I suspect this is some sort of voltage controller.
A possible project for some minor J-B Weld repair. Small interesting locomotive from an old mine operation.
Interesting variable drive mechanism. The friction material is wood.  As the friction wheel is moved left to right the ratio changes and beyond center the direction changes.
The chain in foreground transfers power to the drive wheels. A small rock crusher.

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Updated 12-11-02

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