PDA

View Full Version : Henry Chenoweth Entries



warc1
09-23-2005, 11:00 AM
Henry Chenoweth has to be the most prolific writer of entries on this website's list of ghost towns. To that end, this is a great service. However, I recently returned from a trip that focused on ghost town hunting in Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. I initially used Henry's entries as a guide as to which towns would be worth visiting. I also picked up a number of ghost town books as further research before embarking. This is where I discovered a troubling trend. Two books, Black Hills Ghost Towns (Parker/Lambert) and Southern Idaho Ghost Towns (Wayne Sparling) appear to be the sole sources of Henry's entries on ghost towns in these areas to the point that some of his writing is near plagerism of these books.

The problem is that these books were both written over thirty years ago. I would guess that 80% of what is described and illustrated in them has deteriorated to the point of being a small fraction of what was documented, if not having dissapeared entirely. For example, Annie Creek in the Black Hills has been buried under the spoils of a current open pit operation for at least 15 years. Yet Henry still describes it as containing many buildings worth seeing. There are numerous examples like this. My question is whether I should be taking all of his descriptions for the many areas I have yet to visit with suspicion. I can't help but notice that none of his entries contain any photographs which doesn't add to my confidence in his documentation of current conditions.

Regards
Warc1

Ghosttowns.com
09-24-2005, 03:54 PM
Ghosttowns.com is supposed to be a site that is for and made by its users - to that end, the most current info posted on each town is the most current info that has been submitted to us whether from a book or from a users actual visit. The more people who submit updates/corrections and pictures, the more accurate the site will be. Obviously the towns with "current" looking color photographs will be more accurate then the ones with no photographs, and the ones with "update" in the comments section are more current. In the case of visiting the towns you mention we hope you will be submitting updates and pictures for the greater good of all the users of ghosttowns.com. As a side note, the conditions at ghost towns change daily. Entire towns can and do disappear overnight. Many of the towns with color pictures and recent visits and updates by ghosttowns.com users are not even there anymore. Unfortunately, it would probably not be a good idea to expect to see exactly what is written up about any particular town, on this website or in any book no matter how recent. But the more pictures everyone submits the better historical record we will have for when things do disappear.

warc1
09-29-2005, 10:26 AM
I fully accept that I'm taking a gamble in visiting any ghost town for the first time. It's part of the attraction for me. The exhileration of exceeding expectations on a first visit makes up for any dissapointment in coming across a site that has been lost to time or redevelopment. Like any gambler, I work hard to minimize my risks. That is why I value this site in particular. However, I think it is a disservice when dated information is not identified as such.

That is why I started this thread. From the evidence I have (which I will gladly expand upon if need be), all of Henry Chenoweth's entries for southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota are near transcriptions of portions of two 30 year old publications. My fear is that this may be true of all of his entries on the site which number in the hundreds.

My intent is not to discredit Mr. Chenoweth. Like I said in my first post, the information still provides a benefit. However, if it can be demonstrated that all of his data is from dated, external sources, then the community should be aware of this so they can assess its utility in a proper context. That is why I asked if others have had similar experiences with the entries he has written for areas outside of the two I have researched.

I fully understand that this site is only as good as the contributions of its members and I think this issue is at the core of that sentiment. I will definitely be submitting photographs and updates for the sites I visited on this trip.

Regards
Warc1

Mikejts
10-02-2005, 09:17 AM
WOW, I agree. I first started looking for Ghost towns in the 80's and was frustrated by all the "old" outdates materials I ran into. Since then I have learned to do more research than looking at one source. Fortunately I was lucky enough to run into two gentlemen in Colorado that had both done research and written about ghost towns in the state. Their guidance was invaluable. Even with all the data in their books and conversations with one of then I rarely get skunked.

Cecile
10-02-2005, 11:31 AM
I think it's important to remember when researching for ghosttowns, or even when out on the dirt road looking for them, things can change instantly! Weather, vandalism, and goverment land agencies in the areas where ghost towns are can have an effect on these places. You can't depend on what you saw last time being the same, even if was just a short time ago that you were last there.

So far as websites & old guidebooks, I often find the older information valuable historically, but remember to keep in mind that was what it looked like the date the information was published, not necesarily what it's going to look like by the time I get there. That's where forums like this are more valuable sometimes than the information that is posted on their main page. I can find out that Johnnie or O.J. were there yesterday and hopefully when I get there today it's going to look about like it did when they were there.

When I see pictures or read information in old guidebooks or websites, of buildings & things that I can no longer find, I'm glad at least that was recorded somewhere & I'm jealous that I wasn't around at that time when the buildings were still there. Any tidbits of history that I find from old sources, is always a treasure also. But thank goodness somebody recorded them for me to enjoy! And obviously during the time the pictures were published they
were current and up to date and provided valuable resources for ghosttowners of the time.

Also when coming across information anywhere, even in a newer guidebook, I sometimes find someone has a different pereception or interpretation that I might, and I need to keep that in mind. Case in point, Roger Mitchell's recently published SUV guides can be a wonderful source of information, but some of his interpretations are wrong. When talking about Cerro Gordo Ghost Town in the Inyos, he has Cerro Gordo meaning Fat Pig. It was probably a typo, or perhaps because he's getting older his mind failed him for a moment, and his editors and publishers didn't catch the mistake. Cerro Gordo means Fat Hill, and was so named because it was a mining town at the top of the mountain that was fat (rich) with silver. Mitchell and other authors of more recent guidebooks I have found, also have incorrect information about both caretaker & visitor status up at Cerro Gordo which is privately owned. However the status has changed many times over the years, and that's hard to keep up with. These types of things, ghosttowners need to keep in mind no matter what source they use.

Mikejts
10-02-2005, 08:21 PM
Very well said, Cecile


THANKS

oro-y-plata
10-04-2005, 10:19 AM
The comments made by Cecille, & the webmaster are well stated, but getting back to warc1's original topic of Henry Chenoweth's entries being outdated. This is only a part of the problem. Checking his entries for Montana, several of the entries are completely erronious both in content and location - how can every town be 'not far from Helena'. I have my doubts that Mr. Chenowith actually visited any of the towns he writes about. After all, this forum is supposed to be written by ghosttowners giving current info following visits to ghosttowns - even if the town may disappear the day after their visit - not by armchair wantobe's. Oro-y-plata

Bob
10-04-2005, 10:40 AM
There are several sites I know a bunch about but cannot locate. There are sites I can locate on a map but lack justification, security clearances and healthy respect for the guns the Wackenhut rent-a-cops carry prevents me ever visiting but I still would like to discuss these places. I would hope that those willing to share information aren't discouraged by this criticism. This site succeeds because people share. I know while I snicker when read stuff here that has no relationship to reality, I would be much more upset if someone didnít share for fear of being lampooned. There are several places in Nevada on public land (Not DOD or DOE).that I canít find after bouncing around the desert (Three of them had post offices). I donít think getting there should be the only consideration in such discussions. Iím more than glad to share what Iíve dug up on places, even if I havenít always been there I can vicariously enjoy the others sharing.

warc1
10-05-2005, 06:44 AM
To be absolutely clear, I don't think anyone on this thread is trying to discourage people from sharing information. Any criticism that I started has nothing to do with trying to restrict new information or delete old information. If anything, I am asking for more information about Henry Chenoweth's entries.

I agree that even dated information can have substantial value. However, to realize it fully, you need to know that it is dated. This is all that I am asking. In fact, I'll take any information available - century old diary entries, old atlas descriptions or even outright speculation. I just need to know to the origins so that I can make an informed assessment on whether I want to visit any particular site.

Regards
Warc1

Tsarevna
04-08-2008, 03:37 AM
Wow, this thread is super-old.
However, it's got me interested. Many of the ghost towns in Oregon are submitted by Henry Chenowith, and it makes me wonder.

I thought he must be a local but if he's submitting towns in Montana etc too, I don't think he's visited the ones out here, probably gets information from books.

Sometimes "many remains" are marked for western Oregon ghost towns, but I find it hard to beleive. The 1962 Columbus Day Storm killed many historic buildings, also our general soggy climate wreaks havoc on buildings, especially wooden ones. You'd be lucky to find brick foundations at most of our ghost towns, but I guess I'll have to go see for myself! :o

Spree
05-05-2008, 09:58 PM
I was looking at the entry for Shelburn, Oregon and having been there recently and noticing something familiar about the text, I found that he is using Oregon Ghost Towns by Lambert Florin as his source. The book is from 1970. This book is a great starting point, but any info in the Oregon entries from Chenoweth are likely to be out of date. Though he seems to have gotten the info about the cemetery from another source, it seems unlikely that he has actually visited the place. Use caution, and go to the library before traveling.

Joel
05-07-2008, 04:50 PM
I find that research does help. The old map makers weren't always accurate and the USGS are removing ruins, graveyards and caves from the maps.
My big gripe is how tall tales and legends from some towns have made their way into history and have shoved out a lot of the smaller towns. So much history has been lost while the same old myths get passed around. I can find reams about Tombstone and the Earps, but try finding out about the gun portals that face west at Alto or much about William Fourr. There is so little information that I can find. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to bury myself at historic societies the way that I want to. I'm forced to rely on the internet and authors who focus on what sells or what they imagine what sells.
Quite often I find that a single old topo map is far more valuble than quite a few books in finding the ghost towns and ruins. Roads and rivers change, the hills and mountains do, but not as quickly. The hard part is getting the story behind the ruins. I missed all the hubris and find myself with too many questions.

brian10x
05-08-2008, 05:30 AM
If that is the Fourr of Fourr's Fort, I've tried finding it once already. I'm sure its there.

http://www.mindat.org/maps.php?id=47988

Joel
05-08-2008, 05:52 AM
Yes, the same. He was quite a character in Arizona. http://files.usgwarchives.org/az/yavapai/bios/fourr.txt

All those gated roads don't help in finding these ruins do they?

danny_stoddard
06-07-2008, 08:15 PM
I concur - and have submitted some updated photos - - - but one thing that has annoyed me about ghost town information both in "new" books and online is that they are using information and pictures that are very outdated........

Mikejts
06-08-2008, 06:30 AM
I concur - and have submitted some updated photos - - - but one thing that has annoyed me about ghost town information both in "new" books and online is that they are using information and pictures that are very outdated........

What you are experiencing is familar to many of us. I started only 25 years ago looking at sites here in Colorado. I bought every book I could find and started visiting sites. Many times when I got there I ended up finding only foundations and scap metal. When that happens I get out this book to help piece things together. The Mining Camps Speak. At least then it is not a total loss.

Jusy an FYI - I am updating my site so it is unavaaillable for a today.

Bonnie
06-24-2008, 10:26 AM
I found this site while looking up Henry Chenowith to find out who he is. I'm writing an article on Northport WA & found an entry by him.

Is his history accurate? He described Northport as "one of the rowdiest mining camps in Washington."

And how would I describe Chenowith? Amateur historian? Well-known?

David A. Wright
06-24-2008, 02:34 PM
As another of the prolific posters on this site in its earliest days online (along with Mr. Chenowith and Delores Steele), I have a comment about the concern as stated in the original post.

I also used books and other materials when assembling a brief history of each of the ghost towns I posted information and photos on. It is often the most convenient location to gather information to write a brief history instead of making a big project out of it or simply relying on memory. I also attempted to leave out any errors I caught or update statements. I made an effort not to re-state what my source materials stated, but put them into my own words.

I haven't updated any of my photos in years, even if I have been to the same ghost towns since my original postings. I posted all of my hundreds of photos on this site back in the first years of this decade, with dial up Internet connection. And that was in the days that 52KB connection speeds were seldom achieved. Needless to say, that was an undertaking!

Some of the towns I posted photos on I've been back to, some I haven't.

I understand what the author of the original post is trying to say. I do not know Mr. Chenowith nor am trying to defend his methods. However, this proves it's best not to allow the Internet to make us lazy and not do our homework before embarking on our own adventures. There are plenty of resources, including government websites (which are also prone to mistakes!), online bookstores and online sources for topographic maps; as well as regional sources when you arrive in the region you plan on looking around in.

Apollo
03-16-2015, 12:37 PM
Henry Chenoweth has to be the most prolific writer of entries on this website's list of ghost towns. To that end, this is a great service. However, I recently returned from a trip that focused on ghost town hunting in Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. I initially used Henry's entries as a guide as to which towns would be worth visiting. I also picked up a number of ghost town books as further research before embarking. This is where I discovered a troubling trend. Two books, Black Hills Ghost Towns (Parker/Lambert) and Southern Idaho Ghost Towns (Wayne Sparling) appear to be the sole sources of Henry's entries on ghost towns in these areas to the point that some of his writing is near plagerism of these books.

The problem is that these books were both written over thirty years ago. I would guess that 80% of what is described and illustrated in them has deteriorated to the point of being a small fraction of what was documented, if not having dissapeared entirely. For example, Annie Creek in the Black Hills has been buried under the spoils of a current open pit operation for at least 15 years. Yet Henry still describes it as containing many buildings worth seeing. There are numerous examples like this. My question is whether I should be taking all of his descriptions for the many areas I have yet to visit with suspicion. I can't help but notice that none of his entries contain any photographs which doesn't add to my confidence in his documentation of current conditions.

Regards
Warc1


I won't beat around the bush here.

Mr. Chenoweth may be prolific but certainly not as a writer; rather, he is a plagiarist.

His entries for New Mexico are taken almost word for word from James E. and Barbara H. Sherman's 1975 book "Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico." Quite a few black and white photos for the NM sites are lifted right out of that book as well. Now whenever I see his name after an entry, I completely ignore all that came before it. He would have done the ghost town hunting community a great service IF he had simply stated his quoted source. Copying another's work and dropping a few words here or there is not journalism; it is plagiarism, pure and simple.

Such behavior is not only in violation of too many laws to count, it is also highly unethical and a huge injustice to those who have dedicated years of their lives to research.