Fletcher has never been more than a dot on maps of Mineral County (Nevada), but in the late 1860s, when Aurora was a busy mining camp, this little spring-fed oasis at the northern tip of the Aurora Crater lava field became a welcome rest stop on the rough wagon roads from Hawthorne to the east and Carson City to the north.
A plaque in the shade of a tall willow reads: “FLETCHER: Formerly known as Six Mile Station, this stage stop and way station provided service between some of the smaller mining camps and Aurora and Bodie, CA during the late 1860s. The area became of greater importance with the arrival of the Carson and Colorado Railroad in 1881. With increased passenger and freight traffic between Hawthorne, Aurora, and Bodie and the expanding local population, a post office was established on October 24, 1883 and named for H. D. Fletcher, the first postmaster. The post office was removed on November 10, 1918, when Hawthorne became the mailing address for area patrons.”
The spring here is one of the few perennial sources of potable water in the eastern Bodie Hills and in all of Fletcher Valley. It also supports a few acres of wetland and riparian vegetation, so it’s attractive to wildlife. It has probably been attractive to all inhabitants of the region for thousands of years.
Trees here include four species of Populus: Fremont cottonwood (P. fremontii), black cottonwood (P. trichocarpa), quaking aspen (P. tremuloides), and the non-native Lombardy poplar (P. nigra ‘Italica’). At least two, probably three willows are here, but I need to return for flowering material to key them reliably.
Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.
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