‘Old Dinah’ And The 20 Mule Team Wagons Are On The Move in Death Valley
DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – September 16, 2015 – History is on the move at Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley. If you think transportation is a challenge today in Death Valley, America’s largest and seriously intimidating national park, imagine the task of hauling 12 million pounds of Borax from Death Valley 165 miles away to Mohave over a century ago? Between 1883 and 1888, the famed 20 Mule Teams of the Borax Company did just that only to be replaced by Old Dinah, a massive steam driven tractor. The trip took ten days.
This past weekend, for the first time since 1932 it is believed, Old Dinah and one of the famed 20 Mule Team wagon trains were ever-so-gently moved out of the ancient flood plain and into Zabriskie Park at Furnace Creek Resort closer to the iconic Borax Museum on the grounds of the Ranch at Furnace Creek.
These fragile wood and iron treasures of the American West have been preserved and revered since their retirement at the turn of the last century. Old Dinah was purchased in 1894 and it was intended to replace the 20 Mule Teams. However, Old Dinah required constant maintenance and had major problems with sand and steep grades. After a one-year trial, mules proved more productive and reliable, but they, too, were replaced later by a narrow gauge railroad in 1898. The railroad’s steam engine is also on the grounds of Furnace Creek Resort.
In 1910, Old Dinah was sold to haul supplies between Beatty and the Keane Wonder Mine. After a couple of years, she broke down and her owner abandoned her in disgust. In 1932, Old Dinah was rescued and brought here to her present location at the Ranch at Furnace Creek. She’s been there ever since and had not moved until this weekend.
The Ranch at Furnace Creek is a true American oasis, open year-round and situated on the desert floor. Fed by the same spring waters as The Inn at Furnace Creek, it boasts a golf course, post office, general store, casual dining restaurants, horseback riding and 224 family-friendly rooms. The Borax Museum also calls The Ranch home. Guests at The Inn and The Ranch have access to both properties and most facilities.
Located between Los Angeles (a four-hour drive) and Las Vegas (two hours away) and literally steps from the National Park Service Visitor Center to Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek Resort is a unique vacation experience at a true American oasis.