In the 1870’s bullion bars from Cerro Gordo
mines were hauled across Owens Lake on the steamer “Bessie Brady” to Cartago boat landing. There was so much mined bullion that the miners stacked the bars into walls and put canvas on top and lived in silver walled huts. Then Remi Nadeau took the contract to move the bullion to los angeles with 14 mule teams. The steamship across owens lake (now dry but once 30 feet deep and 15 by 10 miles wide) cut the 3 day trip by road to three hours.
‘s 14-mule teams hauled the bullion to Los Angeles returning with freight.
Cartago is located on the west side of Owens Lake 3 miles north of Olancha, at an elevation of 3629 feet
* Cartago Wildlife Area is 218 acres of fresh water wetland and springs providing habitat for waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds including western snowy plovers, white-faced ibis and rails. Owens Lake has been designated a Nationally Significant Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and American Bird Conservancy and 144 bird species have been documented on the area.
* Topography of the area is generally flat and at an elevation of 3,600′.
* Ruins of an old soda ash processing plant are on the southwest side of the wildlife area. Old dikes 3′-4′ high extend into Owens Lake bed and encircle ponds which were once used as soda evaporators. Snowy plovers nest on the salt pans.