OTRA - NV - Hawthorne
Jul 27, 2012
|After spending yesterday wandering around Carson City and getting some caches, today it was time to head south on our way back to Vegas. Tonight we're at the Whiskey Flats RV Park in Hawthorne , Nevada.
Wow! What a neat old town...and non-town. One couple here have put out lots of caches, most located in the old, abandoned, torn-down town of Babbit that was originally built to support the more than 7,000 armed forces and civilian workers at the then naval ammunition depot. Since that time, the Army took over the base and now it's run by civilians.
I did some early geocaching around the non-town (all that's left are foundations but the couple who put out the caches also describe some of the areas as they were which is really neat!) and then Bob and I visited the museum which had some pretty neat stuff in it. I'm not really a museum fan but I do like the old, small town museums. Just some of the history I learned while geocaching:
"This area was once a thriving, booming, Naval military town and the home for over 5,000 people. The town was built during the 1940 to 1945 time period, when 580 duplexes (1,160) housing units were built. These duplexes consisted of 1,2, or 3 bedroom units. Community buildings were also constructed and included a grocery store, post office, bank, barber shop, clothing store, shoe shop, drug store bowling alley, nursery/day care center, receration and community center, dispensary and a rental office which later encoumpassed a Federal Credit Union. The town was built by the U.S. Navy in support of World War 11, and was used during the Korean War and Vietman as well. Several houses were sold off during the early 1960's and the rest of the buildings, except the Bowling Alley and the School, were either sold or demolished and the area was cleared by 1994. It was common to refer to Babbitt as "the only Ghost town in the country with a Bowling Alley and School"."
"When this part of Babbitt was built during World War II, segregation between Blacks and Whites was commonly practiced and the U.S. Navy proved no exception. To the south of you, (nearest Hawthorne) you will find 27th street and to the north you have 26th street. This area between these two streets provided the division between the two races. The Blacks were assigned housing on streets 27th through 31st streets and the Whites lived on 11th through 26th streets. Integration took place during the late fifties and early sixties and the south Babbitt houses were eventually sold and relocated to other areas."
"This (trailer)court was built during the late 1930's for the use of construction workers who were building the Naval Ammunition Depot and also,a little later the Babbitt Housing area. It remained in use up until the mid 1950's when it was phased out of operation and the buildings were removed, torn down or sold. During the the early World War 2 period, Hawthorne was literally busting at the seams with a huge influx of workers and sufficent housing, of any type, was not available."
"The theater was built during World War 2 and was used up until about 1954. It was torn down just a few years later. The town of Babbitt sported a population of about 5,000 souls during its peak years and the Theater provided a healthy means of entertainment. Movie prices ranged from ten to fifty cents for the best shows available at the time."
"This area was once the shopping and services complex for the Babbitt housing area residents. Working your way around the “Mall” area, with your back to the highway, you have from left to right the Shoe Shop, whose foundations have been removed, the Tumbleweed Clothing Store, the Johnson Pharmacy, Hansen’s Food Market ( later Safeway) the US post office, a Barber Shop which was later used as the Babbitt Police Station, a Beauty Shop, and the Security National Bank. This area was phased out of service during the early 1970’s and complety torn down just a few years ago along with the rest of the Babbitt housing demolition."
Just a few tidbits about Hawthorne. So ends your history lesson for the day. Tomorrow we head for Beatty, NV.