WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
REGION 8: Nevada Refuges Home to Wildlife and Historic Homesteads
Region 8, December 30, 2008
This recently restored house at Corn Creek Staion is built from railroad ties and pre-dates the refuge. (photo: USFWS)
This recently restored house at Corn Creek Staion is built from railroad ties and pre-dates the refuge. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Recently restored, Jack Longstreet's cabin sits adjacet to the spring that bears his name at Ash Meadows NWR. (photo: USFWS)
Recently restored, Jack Longstreet's cabin sits adjacet to the spring that bears his name at Ash Meadows NWR. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Scott Flaherty, External Affairs
Southwest Nevada may be best known for the sites and sounds of casinos and other attractions along the city’s famous “strip.” But adventurous travelers who venture north of the city will find special, natural places that first attracted wildlife and people to the region beginning 5,000 years ago.

 

Corn Creek Field Station in Nevada

The 1.5 million acre Desert National Wildlife Refuge is home to desert bighorn sheep,

more than 500 species of plants and 320 species of birds. It’s also home to a trove of American history and prehistory: Corn Creek Field Station.

 

The 650-acre Corn Creek Field Station lies on the northern edge of Las Vegas Valley approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Archeologists have determined the area was used extensively by Native Americans beginning 5,000 years ago.  Europeans settlers to Las Vegas used Corn Creek first as a stop- over for wagon roads and the nearby railroad, and later as a homestead.  Between 1914 and 1939 ranchers and farmers eked out a living at Corn Creek. They raised cattle, planted orchards and vegetables, and some individuals even made bootleg whisky. In 1936 George F. Worts, a writer of Hollywood fame, purchased the farm and lived there three years before selling the property to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By late 1940 the farm was home to the Desert Game Range CCC Camp.

 

Today, this unique remnant of our past is protected as part of the Desert NWR. Five structures, including the Refuge Manager’s House, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Remnants of the CCC camp can also be found. The Field Station houses refuge staff and contains residences, storage and service buildings, offices, and 10 acres of pasture. Water flows from ancient spring mounds into reservoirs.  A detailed history of Corn Creek Field Station is available on the refuge’s website: http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/desertrange/corncreekhistory.htm

 

Nevada Legend Jack Longstreet’s Cabin

Located in the Mojave Desert 30 miles west of Pahrump, Nevada, the 23,000-acre Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge is something of a desert oasis and home to 24 plants and animals found no where else in the world. It’s also home to cabin and former homestead of a charismatic Nevada legend, Andrew Jackson “Jack” Longstreet. 

 

Longstreet came to southwest Nevada in 1882 and opened a drug store and saloon, “a combination of enterprises that promised to cure what ailed a man either one way or the other," observed Sally Zanjani in her book, Jack Longstreet: Last of the Desert Frontiersmen.  In 1896, Longstreet built a cabin at the spring which now bears his name. The original structure incorporated a "spring mound" on the rear wall. By digging a cave into the mound, Longstreet had effectively equipped his home with the earliest refrigeration technology. Other structures on the property included a wooden frame house and a shed. Both are long gone.

 

Jack and his American Indian wife Susie resided in the cabin for five years using the 80-acre property to raise horses. They named the farm Ash Meadows Ranch. He sold it in 1907 for a reported sum of $10,000. The cabin deteriorated badly over the years, but was restored in 2004 through the efforts of the refuge staff, volunteers and the Bureau of Land Management.  Information about the refuge is available on the web at: http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/ashmeadows/  or contact the refuge at: 775-372-5435

 

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov