Babcock to speak in Searles Valley Nov. 15

Babcock to speak in Searles Valley Nov. 15The Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society along with the Searles Valley Historical Society will hold their general meeting Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the SLGM Show Building.

The guest speaker will be Ridgecrest historian Liz Babcock, speaking about “Indian Wells Valley Stage and Freight Stops 1874-1906,” a publication of the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert.

She will also show some of the photographs found in the book’s newest version.

The book, the brainchild of Lou Pracchia, a longtime HSUMD president, was originally published in 1994. Last year Babcock undertook a revision because recent developments in photo software enhanced the possibility of improving the technical quality of priceless 1905-06 photographs by stagecoach driver Everett Grose, documenting the valley’s earliest stage stops.

As Babcock began work, she realized that changes to the terrain and new access to other photos of local stage and freight trails necessitated an expansion of the book. Historian John Di Pol and other reviewers of her manuscript also suggested that the influence of freighting entrepreneur Remi Nadeau needed to be more thoroughly treated.

As a result, the revised version of the book contains more than 100 photos and maps, both historic and recent, and encompasses 107 pages, including a new section on Nadeau by John Di Pol and a new index.

Babcock is also author of the book, “Magnificent Mavericks: History of the Navy at China Lake, California, Volume 3 ,” and has written, edited, and/or designed several books for the Maturango Museum. She was editor and designer of “Soaring Beyond the Clouds” for Bertha Ryan, as well as the designer for the Ridge Writers’ “Planet Mojave.”

A former civil servant at China Lake, Babcock is the copy editor for the News Review and curator of history at the Maturango Museum. Born in Michigan, she graduated with a degree in English literature from Kalamazoo College in 1960, the same year she and her then-husband Gary Babcock came to our valley. Subsequently she earned a master’s in public administration from Cal State Bakersfield.

She is the proud mother of two and grandmother of two.

Story First Published: 2012-11-14