Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Ghost Town Of Zurich, California

Zurich, California was a stop on the Carson & Colorado narrow gauge railroad that ran on the eastern shore of Owens Lake from Laws to Keeler, California. It's located on Highway 168 about two miles east of Big Pine, California. Zurich was founded in 1888 and its original name was Alvord. It was renamed Zurich in 1913 because the wife of the depot master said the view of the Sierras reminded her of her home town of Zurich, Switzerland.

This railroad stop operated until 1932 and as a result the depot is still well-preserved:

The station platform is now crumbling:

Here is why the depot master's wife wanted to change the name to Zurich. There are five 14,000+ foot peaks in the photo below; the snow to the left is the southernmost glacier system in the United States. IMO, the view of the Sierras from Big Pine is the most sublime and beautiful vista you'll find along that range:

Just north of Zurich is the Cal Tech radio astronomy observatory. If you look carefully in the photo below, you can see the "dish" antenna structures of the observatory: