Historical Timeline

This timeline is posted for historical reasons and currently ends at 2005.


Small frame building built at Crooked Creek by US Navy Ordnance Test Station (Inyokern CA), also observing site up on hill to the east; land telephone line built; road access improved all the way to the flats SE of WM Peak.  Construction by US Navy under permit from USFS.


Classified and unclassified research at Crooked Creek in field testing of military equipment, astronomy, atmospheric physics, cosmic rays, etc.


Nello Pace (UC Berkeley) and S.F.Cook (UC Berkeley) submit proposal and receive approval from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to build a high-altitude biological field station at Mt. Barcroft.  US Navy Ordnance Test Station transfers Crooked Creek facilities to ONR upon completion of military research.  ONR authorizes UC to begin operating Crooked Creek facilities and proceed with development of Barcroft facilities.  On Sept 1, 1950, UC began operation of WMRS for the ONR, with Nello Pace as Director and site administration at UC Berkeley.  USFS transfers special use permits to the Commandant of the Twelfth naval District.


USFS and ONR sign agreement setting aside 20 sections of the Inyo national Forest for high-altitude research.  Vehicular traffic restricted to the minimal necessary to support research activities.
Barcroft Station building (now known as Nello pace Lab) constructed – shell completed.  Interior not completed for several summers.

Bob Choate engineer for Barcroft construction; other workers (graduate students and others) included Julius T. Hansen, G. Harry Anderson, James A. Bassham, Carl F. Cramer, Joseph F. Garcia, Constantine M. Glafkides, Donald Green, J. Patrick Hannon, Kenneth L. Jackson, David Jensen, John H. Kilbuck, Frank D. Meskauskas, Peter G. Miljanich, William F. Munch, Frederick L. Schaffer, John C. Schooley, Jack V. Shriber, Burton E. Vaughan, and David H. Wiltsie.  Evelyn J. Moreland appointed business officer at UCB.


WMRS Advisory Committee appointed by UC President Gordon Sproul.  NSF and Rockefeller Foundation join ONR in providing funds for maintenance support of WMRS.  Barcroft Station occupied.

William Roche appointed Barcroft Lead Maintenance until about 1963. 


President’s Advisory Committee appointed: S.F.Cook, chairman, with Leslie L. Bennett, Raymond B. Coles, Leo P. Delsasso, William B. Fretter, Max Kleiber, A. Starker Leopold, Samuel Lepkovsky, Emil M. Mrak, Robert Em Smith, George F. Stewart, James M. Miller, and Robert A. San Souci. 


E. Schulman begins research on Bristlecone Pines.


Nello Pace secures NSF funding and constructs a lab on the summit of White Mountain Peak


Mr. Mun Q. Mah becomes business manager in Berkeley

Ralph Kellogg and three volunteers are first researchers to use the summit lab.


Pole power line installed from Silver Peak to Crooked Creek, Barcroft, and WM Summit Lab, funded by NFS award of  $132,000.

power line engineered by Carl T. Grauer, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley


Power line above Barcroft failed owing to icing of poles and lines – abandoned.  Owens Valley base station established in Big Pine ( eased building). UC Regents supplant Rockefeller Foundation in providing funding for WMRS

Harry E. Pike becomes business manager in Berkeley


Raymond Hock becomes first resident scientist at Barcroft, stays until 1965


Others who served on the president’s advisory committee, but not on the 1972 committee (see below) include George A. Bartholomew Jr., Lincoln Constance, , Steven M. Horvath, Robert W. Leonard, Peter R. Morrison, Hermann Rahn, Per F. Scholander, , Robert C. Stebbins, S. March Tennery, and Charles H. Townes.


Nello Pace formally appointed director for WMRS


Nine acres leased from the City of Los Angeles near Bishop for Owens Valley Laboratory facilities, now known as Owens Valley Laboratories (OVL).

Dr. Bruce Murray and Dr. James Westphal, Caltech, construct small observatory dome above Barcroft. 


Small Observatory dome built on plateau above Barcroft Station and used to measure temperature of moon and planets.  By 2005 only the foundation remained.

Paul Manis retires; Charles E. Wilson becomes lead maintenance at Barcroft. 

Robert M. Lloyd and Richard S. Mitchell conduct botanical survey.  Eventually publish A Flora the White Mountains, California and Nevada.


Generator building added to Barcroft station.  Helicopter hangar built at OVL.

Duane Bloom joins station as resident scientist.


Bell 47G-3B-1 helicopter crashes at Crooked Creek – no injuries but helicopter destroyed.  Three frame buildings, including an ice house, were acquired and moved from US Vanadium Corp. to OVL


Prefabricated metal classroom added to OVL; three frame buildings remodeled into office/kitchen/dining room, dorm and lab.  In August the second Bell 47G-3B-1 helicopter crashed with Robert Delker and Charles E. Wilson aboard.  Injuries led to Mr. Wilson’s retirement.

Charles Wilson injured in helicopter crash; eventually retires


Hiller SL-4 helicopter acquired by WMRS.  Don Buser appointed Helicopter Mechanic. WMRS negotiates 470 acre lease from the City of Los Angeles.  Two storage buildings constructed at Barcroft.  8×10′ instrumentation building erected at NASA flats below White Mountain Peak.

Don Buser appointed Helicopter Mechanic at OVL, stays on staff until 1992.


Dr. Duane Bloom appointed assistant director for local administration of WMRS.  Michael N. Antoniou hired as helicopter pilot.  Don Buser appointed operations manager for WMRS


Metal prefabricated building (dorms 2-5) installed at OVL.  Kitchen and dining room built at OVL in main wood frame building.  Advisory Committee on Astronomy established, with chairman George B. Field


The 1951 cooperative agreement between USFS and US Navy replaced by a Classification Order under USDA regulation U-3, to establish the White Mountain Scientific Area.  The area included both the Barcroft and the Summit Lab facilities.  Dr. Blume and Dr. Pace join International Expedition to Mt. Everest.


President’s Advisory Committee.  Arthur H. Smith, chair.  Kinsey A. Anderson, Dana K. Bailey, Arthur S. Boughey, Robert J. Chaffee, John D. French, Robert Galambos, Ralph H. Kellogg, Harold A. Mooney, Emil M. Mrak, Eric T. Pengelley, Robert Em. Smith, Paola S. Timiras, and Albert E. Whitford.

Thomas Ledoux becomes assistant director of WMRS, replacing Dr. Blume.


US Navy offers to transfer all property to and use permits to UC. 

John R. McCombs replaces Mr. Pike (who served for 15 years) as business manager for WMRS.


Environmental assessment (funded by UC $10,000) completed for the White Mountain Scientific Area.


Statement and planning study submitted to USFS for final transfer of US Navy facilities and permits to UC.  First summer field geology class (UCLA) held at Crooked Creek.


Barcroft Observatory constructed on flat above Barcroft Station, with 62″ mirror telescope.  OVL lease renegotiated (with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) and expanded to include 32 acres.


J. Welch becomes Acting Director of WMRS; site administration remains at UC Berkeley

Jack Welch, UCB Professor of Astronomy, appointed WMRS director


Facilities and permits transferred to UC Regents from US Navy.


Power line between Crooked Creek and Barcroft down owing to icing of poles and lines.  USFS informally takes control of Crooked Creek, refurbishes the facilities and proposes to make them available to scientists.


C.A. Hall becomes WMRS director; site administration transfers to UCLA

Clarence Hall, UCLA Professor of Geology, assumes directorship of WMRS


20-year lease negotiated with LADWP for OVL facilities – includes approximately 20 acres.

Dave Trydahl becomes physical plant superintendent, remains until 2002.


Ownership of Crooked Creek facilities clarified; facilities owned by UC Regents.

WMRS Public Lecture Series begun.


Main building at Barcroft remodeled and dedicated as Nello Pace Laboratory.


7 mile Buried power line installed from Crooked Creek to Barcroft and Observatory, funded by NSF ($150,000) and WMRS.


Classroom and dorm buildings remodeled.  First WMRS research symposium on Natural History of Eastern California and High-altitude Research


Plans begin for renovation of Crooked Creek facilities.


Second WMRS research symposium on Plant Biology of Eastern California


75 gal/min well drilled at Crooked Creek for water supply.


Third WMRS Research Symposium on Natural History of Eastern California and High-altitude Research


USFS Special Use Permit granted to WMRS for Crooked Creek, Barcroft, and Summit Lab facilities, until 12/31/17.  Funds provided to begin Crooked Creek construction and renovation.  Fourth WMRS Research Symposium on The History of Water.


Renovated Crooked Creek Station dedication.  Main building completed, but work continues on Bristlecone and Limber Pine cabins.


F.L.Powell becomes WMRS director; site administration transfers to UC San Diego.

Frank Powell, UCSD Professor of Physiology and Medicine, becomes station director.  Other career staff in 1995 include Barbara Fager, Richard masters, Scott Hetzler, Vickie Doyle-Jones, Barbara Widawski, Elizabeth Philips, and David Trydahl.  The advisory committee in 1995 consisted of Philip E. Bickler (UCSF), Diane Campbell (UCI), Ted Case (UCSD), Mark A. Chappell (UCR), Martin Cody (UCLA), W.Gary Ernst (member at large, Stanford U.), Sally Holbrook (UCSB), G. Matthias Kondolf (UCB), Jeffrey Mount (UCD), Joel Primack (UCSC), John Smiley (UCSC), Phil Pister (member at large), Steve Wickler (member at large), Clem Nelson (member at large), Carol McClain (UCOP)


Computer Lab, South Classroom, and double wide residence trailer installed at OVL.


Fifth WMRS Research Symposium on Integrated earth and environmental evolution of the southwestern United States


Native Plant Propagation Center established at OVL, in collaboration with California Native Plant Society and other agencies.  USGS Bishop Field Camp (Angela Jayko) moves to OVL and occupies former library trailer.


WMRS obtains NSF support to install high-speed internet wireless connection to upper stations. NSF funds one hour documentary In the Shadow of White Mountain.


Mike Morrison becomes station manager in charge of site operations.


USFS establishes McAfee Meadow Research Natural Area, approximately 2030 acres north and east of Barcroft.

John Smiley becomes WMRS Associate Director in charge of site operations.


WMRS-OVL library reconstituted in E part of computer lab, includes herbarium, map, reprint, manuscript, and historical document collections.


Owens Valley Laboratories lease from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power approved for 25 years starting July 1, 2003, including same boundaries (approximately 20 acres) as previous lease.