Critical Archaeology at 19th Century Western Way Stations: Granite Creek Station, Nevada

Cold Spring Pony Express

Publication: University of Nevada

Author: Laura Sechrist

Date of Publication: December 2014

PDF File: out.pdf


Though there is a rich potential for archaeological investigation at 19th century way stations in the American West, projects at stations have primarily stayed within archaeology’s grey literature. Through a survey of archaeological projects conducted at western stations, this thesis uses a critical archaeological lens to challenge perceptions of the physical and social spaces at way stations, while providing an in-depth examination of a recently excavated station in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Between 1852 and 1868, Granite Creek Station operated as an emigrant campsite, trading post, stagecoach station, and military camp along the Nobles Trail. Granite Creek exemplifies the ways in which stations combined traditional construction techniques while adapting to local conditions, and is an excellent example of the complicated social environment found at many stations. A critical archaeological examination challenges both historical accounts of a battle at Granite Creek and the general perception of homogeneity at stations.