Leete, Luva, &
Eagle Salt Works

Rich salt deposits were discovered just east of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1869 by B.F. Leete, who established the Eagle Salt Works and began recovery operations in 1871. Salt was shipped via the railroad to the mills on the Comstock Lode, and during the summer months ten tons of salt could be produced daily per acre of evaporation vats. Later the salt was also refined for dairy and domestic use. The salt works peaked between 1879 and 1884, during which time about 334,000 tons were shipped.

Production slowed until after the turn of the century, when the Southern Pacific rerouted the railroad through Hazen and left Leete without a connection. In January 1903, the rails were pulled up, but Mr. Leete negotiated an agreement that every other tie would be left in place for construction of a light rail. The following month the Eagle Salt Works Railroad Company was organized, and by June the 14½ mile railroad was completed. It left the main SP line at Luva, just east of Fernley, before joining the old CP grade at the former location of Thisbe, then followed the CP grade to Leete where it turned east toward the salt works.

To finance his little railroad, Leete borrowed $23,535 from Southern Pacific using the stocks for both his railroad and the Eagle Salt Works as collateral. Unable to make the annual payments of $4,000, SP acquired Leete's holdings in 1910. Production was little if not nonexistent for the next few years, and the Eagle Salt Works was abandoned in March 1916; the railroad was dismantled a month later.

Central Pacific Railroad
← Muriel • Leete • Hot Springs →

Southern Pacific Railroad
FernleyLuva • Argo →