Wednesday, December 23, 2015

St. Thomas Tour - 12/21/15

St. Thomas as seen from Parking Lot

Information Sign

Starting Down to Town Site

Helmut & John at Gentry Store
  After completing the six-mile Blue Point Spring hike, seven hikers continued on to St. Thomas for a two and a half mile hike to the old ruins uncovered with the shrinking waters of Lake Mead.  At one point St. Thomas was covered by 60 feet of water.  St. Thomas was founded by Mormon pioneers in 1865 and flooded by Hoover Dam in 1938.  It was a stop on the old Arrowhead Trail (Highway 91)that stretched from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. 
St. Thomas is accessed off Northshore Road In Lake Mead Recreation Area at about mile marker 50 (just inside the entrance station near Valley of Fire State Park).  A dirt road goes for about three miles to a parking area.  When you get to the parking area, head toward the big sign and park there.  The trail starts here.  It is a very smooth trail and very easy walking.  You head downhill to reach the ruins.
Artifacts at Gentry Hotel

Remains of First Post Office

Chuck at the School House

  The Visual Field Guide of St. Thomas issued by Lake Mead Recreation Area is very useful  We had one copy and after trying to go by pictures, a map-oriented hiker got familiar with the included map and told us what we were seeing as we went along.  The pictures were useful for labeling our pictures later.
Since St. Thomas was under water for so many years, there are many seashells near the ruins.  As we followed the loop trail through the ruins, we came to many cisterns and took our first group picture at the Gentry House ruins.  We then arrived at the ruins of the Gentry Hotel and Gentry Store and the First Post Office.  Near the hotel and store were rusted artifacts and old broken glass remnants.  The post office had big blocks of cement in one section.  
Ice Cream Parlor


Highway 91 - Main Street

Studying Ruins
  We were looking forward to coming to the schoolhouse and after rounding a curve in the trail came to it.  Large steps leading into the schoolhouse remain and we perched near them for another group picture.  The schoolhouse was a 2-story building.  One hiker noted how dirt had filled in the ruins and what had once been windows were now against the ground.
Near the schoolhouse was the Ice Cream Parlor, a chimney –looking building.  Perched on one wall were numerous rusted artifacts and nearby was another cistern.  We saw many cisterns during our loop, including some with a little water at the bottom.  

Since this was the second hike of the day and it was the shortest day of the year, we were mindful of the time and headed back to the parking lot exploring as we headed back.  John O. took a detour and found the old rail ties and some other ruins.
As we left, we walked along Highway 91 “Main Street” with old tree stumps lining its remains.

Foundations with Sea Shells all Around

Group at the School House

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