Friday, February 20, 2009

Constantia Ranch

This is Constantia Ranch in Long Valley, California. I just finished reading "Twenty Miles from a Match, by Sarah Olds, a history of homesteading in northern Nevada. Their place was close to Pyramid Lake, north of Reno, and Contstantia, California was their post office, 18 miles away. I drove up there today. It's eight miles from our house.

The drive took just minutes, where it took them all day by horseback and this task was done by their children - the adults had work to do. It is still a working ranch - all of Long Valley is occupied by working ranches.
Ian and I had driven up here a number of years ago and the thing that struck me was the layers of history that are still visible. You can see that this structure was once someone's home. maybe late 19th, early 20th century.
The compound is a litany of ranching history. This house also abandoned is from a later time, though I'm guessing that the garage is a much more recent addition. Always, these ranches are surrounded by poplar and cottonwood trees for important summer shade.
This is another of the abandoned residences in the compound and it seems more recent than the last two. I wish there were a story teller somewhere, because you know there have to be a lot of them. Mim's husband Bob asked me if I knew anything about this ranch. I wish I did. He's the one who told me that it's pronounced Con-stan-sha.
So here the ranch sits at the foot of Virginia Peak, conven-
iently located next to the railroad, which I wonder if it's secret to it's survival. Ironically, it's only one mile from the highway and might as well not exist as far any traveler is concerned.
Driving away, my eye is caught by something. Do you see it? Just to the left of the speed sign? It's a prong-
horn antelope. I had heard a tractor fire up just before this. Did it spook him or did I???

But wait - there's more. About a half dozen more. No wonder I didn't see any evidence of a garden. And if there were one, the antelope would be most grateful. They are great fans of gardens.

13 comments:

Barbara C. said...

Wonderful pictures. Wish I had seen the old homes in person.
Barbara

MiniKat said...

What an extraordinary place! Thank you for sharing it with us.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Beautiful pictures! I have to say though, that I'm pretty sure those are mule deer. They are gorgeous arent they? I love that last picture; are those mountains the Sierra Nevada's?

Mim said...

Looks like you had a nice adventureI love that drive. I'd side with Becky and mule deer! Strange we hardly see them out on the mountain behind us, looks like they've moved to town!

Sharon said...

Becky's right - they are mule deer. I jumped to conclusions since there's a migrating herd of pronghorn, just south of there that I see on my way to work.

As for the mountains, the Sierras are behind the deer crossing the road, and to the east of the valley and behind the ranch photos are the Fort Sage Mountains. The peak in the background is Tule Peak at 8,724 feet. There's a monument on top of it to the Olds Homestead, if you can climb that high!

bspinner said...

All that history so close to you. What an amazing place. Thanks for sharing your pictures. They're great!

Robin said...

Wonderful pictures. Always amazing - the terrain is SO different there in the land where the antelope play.

Birdsong said...

OMG, I have to take Glenn there! And then we will be so close, we will have to stop and visit. We love finding these kinds of forgotten places, and I hadn't realized you were so close to Long Valley (coming from the other direction is too filled with snow to work now though).

beadlizard said...

Drat, our library doesn't have that book. I love reading homesteading stories...

Anonymous said...

That isnt the "great Constantia Ranch", its actually about 1/3 mile up the road, burned down some 30yrs ago! I live right down the road from it!! My Uncles family has been here since 1881!!!

Anonymous said...

That isnt the "great Constantia Ranch", its actually about 1/3 mile up the road, burned down some 30yrs ago! I live right down the road from it!! My Uncles family has been here since 1881!!!

Anonymous said...

That isnt the "great Constantia Ranch", its actually about 1/3 mile up the road, burned down some 30yrs ago! I live right down the road from it!! My Uncles family has been here since 1881!!!

Anonymous said...

Great grandfather Albert E Ross was the original owner of Constantia (which was named by the subsequent buyer, H. Butters. Visited the area and the spot where Ross built the "white house" which burned down in the '60's. Saw the R.E. Ross ranch nearby.