Historic Linear Sites Intersect the UNEV Pipeline Corridor
In examining historic maps of Utah and Nevada it becomes clear that the vast open spaces of both states contain a multitude of historic linear features. In an effort to better understand and protect Utah’s linear sites, the Utah Professional Archaeological Council (UPAC) developed guidelines for recording these sites and determining their historic context and physical integrity. WSA incorporated the guidelines in its cultural resources surveys for UNEV. Major categories of historic linear sites include roads and trails, water conveyance features, telephone and telegraph lines, electrical and fence lines, and railroads.
Recording historic linear features poses a unique challenge. Unlike most sites, linear sites may span hundreds of miles and extend far beyond project survey boundaries. The UNEV survey corridor is 250 feet wide and 400 miles long, itself a linear feature.
Historic records and maps and archival research provided a wealth of useful information prior to field surveys. Widely scattered maps in state and county records, General Land Office (GLO) plats, and historic U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maps were examined and used for comparative purposes. Railroad records, surveyors’ notes, newspapers, utility company records, and other historical documents were reviewed when necessary.
A variety of significant historic linear sites intersect the UNEV pipeline. The first transcontinental telephone line crosses the pipeline. The separate lines of the Mountain States Telephone Company and the Pacific Telephone Company met at the Utah-Nevada border railroad town of Wendover in 1914. The first transcontinental highway, the Lincoln Highway, crossed Utah in 1925 with its “Wendover Route” across the salt and mud flats south of the Great Salt Lake. The Arrowhead Trails Highway, completed in 1910, was the first “all-weather” road connecting Salt Lake City to Los Angeles via Las Vegas. It later became U.S. 91 and eventually Interstate 15, the main transportation corridor between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The UNEV right-of-way crosses a segment of the Old Spanish Trail, a congressionally designated National Historic Trail. Historic irrigation canals were recorded in the pipeline corridor near Salt Lake City. The best known features are railroads, and a complex network of main lines, spur lines, and abandoned lines intersect the UNEV corridor. The UNEV pipeline follows the general route of the Union Pacific from west of Salt Lake City south to Milford and crosses its tracks and abandoned grades several times.
A total of 13 of the linear historic sites recorded during survey were selected for additional documentation through archival research and digital color photographic documentation. Each of these features is, like the UNEV pipeline, a long, narrow feature created to transport something—whether people, water, livestock, freight, fuel, or electricity—between two or more locations. The 13 sites include portions of three canals, four railroads, five roads, and one telephone line. Although all of the sites share a linear design, the recording of each and associated research into its history varied according to the original function of the site.
Recording the remnants of historic linear features in the UNEV corridor and associated archival research conducted increases our understanding of the development of transportation and communication networks and their historic contexts across Utah and southeastern Nevada.
For further information:
O’Mack, Scott, with contributions by Jennifer Levstik
2012 Data Recovery along the UNEV Pipeline—Utah Segment; Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Juab, Millard, Beaver, Iron, and Washington Counties, Utah: Volume V. Aligned with History: Mitigative Documentation of Historic Linear Sites. Utah State Project No. U-11-SQ-1012bfmps(e); WSA Technical Report No. 2011-29. John C. Ravesloot, Scott O’Mack, Michael J. Boley, and Melanie A. Medeiros, general editors. 6 vols. William Self Associates, Tucson, Arizona, and Cedar City, Utah.
Complete references can be viewed in our Additional Information section.