Some day we will have a Donner Summit museum
and there will be displays. We have Norm Saylor’s huge archive of historical photographs and documents that he’s accumulated over years of searching, cajoling, and gathering. We also have promises of historical equipment, machinery, and artifacts, but we actually took possession of our first artifact in August, 2008.
Stu Treon had been in Serene Lakes on Donner Summit for many decades. His wife’s family, the Wallins, had been coming to Serene Lakes even before there were houses, camping at what was called the Sierra Lakes Club. His father in law, Fred Wallin, on one of his explorations along the old emigrant trails, found half of an ox shoe among other things. Ox shoes protected ox hooves of course, and come in two parts as opposed to horseshoes which come in one part. Oxen were preferred for use on wagon trains; few trains were pulled by horses. Oxen were also used in the lumber industry which was extensive on Donner Summit. Stu Treon donated his half of an ox shoe to the Donner Summit Historical Society. It's pictured top right.
Margie Powell, of the Historical Society, received from Stu a huge horseshoe as well pictured at the bottom. It must have belonged to a large draft animal. This shoe is not just a normal horseshoe however. It has lumps of metal welded to it to give its owner traction in the snow. You can see the lumps in the picture here: primitive snow chains for the vehicles of the time (where the arrows point)
Just for comparison upper right shows a whole ox shoe, cleverly made whole with PhotoShop. That ox shoe came from the archives at Big Bend Ranger Station courtesy of Phil Sexton, the ranger there.
For the full story see our November, 2008
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