By Harold Fuller
Word was received in Hawthorne during late July, 1905 that the site for the new Railroad Division Head, located just north of Sodaville, henceforth would be called Mina. It has been reported that Mr. J. M. Fulton, the railroads number one man in this area, named the site for Vermina Sarrias a lady with alleged valuable copper deposits in that area. Little was known about this lady and soon speculation was in the wind.
There are a large number of railroad people on the site now, including Mr. Fulton, and accommodations are sparse. Complaints that the water wells they have dug at this time run dry every day. Remarks were prevalent that the railroad officials should have bought the rich water sources at Soda even if they were going to get robbed. The howls of the unhappy pioneers are said to rival those of the coyotes. But at least they had some shelter; the workers and their families were provided modified box cars to live in. the town was frequently referred to as “Car Town” probably more so than Mina at this point.
Tracks and shops were being built rapidly with little delay. Tonopah and Goldfield were desperate for mining equipment and goods and Southern Pacific was anxious to keep the line open.
Back on the home front, Hawthorne townspeople were not happy. Fulton had left two stations for Hawthorne to use. One was eight miles to the east and called Dover and the other was seven miles to the north and named Black Jack. These stations were near the points where the CCRR was cut off on each end going in and out of Hawthorne.
Freight would be loaded and unloaded at these points for Hawthorne, Bridgeport, Aurora and Bodie. (This was before Thorne was built) Mr. Fulton had issued orders that no trains would enter Hawthorne after August 6, 1905 and that the mail must be brought in and out to the main line on a handcar.
Hawthorne residents felt even more isolated when the telegraph was removed. They could not then tell when the trains would be at either of the two stations.
Great were the frustrations of local teamsters in trying to get freight off these trains because Tonopah and Goldfield appeared to have priority. The railroad would prefer, in some cases, to haul Hawthorne’s freight on down south and drop it off here on their return. That saved the local transfer time and got the goods on down south faster.
In October, after all tracks had been removed the feelings of even our neighbors surfaced, with the Bridgeport – Chronicle – Union reporting:
“Since the Southern Pacific has seen fit to cut Hawthorne off the line the mail has been very irregular and it seems to be a take-it-when-you-can-get-it proposition. The whole blame of the matter is on the railroad for failing to make connection with Hawthorne stages. It would be better for the people of this section if all the mail came in on the Carson stages by way of Wellington.”