- May 10, 2012
- By admin
- In Glamis Dunes, Imperial Sand Dunes, Tour Yuma AZ, Trail riding
- Tags Buttercup Dunes, Greys Well, History of the Dunes, Imperial Sand Dunes, Imperial Valley, Old Plank road, Old Plank Road history
One of the interesting things you will find in the Imperial Sand Dunes specifically speaking of Buttercup Dunes or Greys Well, is Old Plank Road. Old Plank Road is a road that connected southern Arizona, to Mexico to California. The Imperial Sand Dunes are massive. Can you image trying to cross them by horse? I can’t image going through them in a Ford Model A! During the time the Plank Road being built there was a heavy competiion between Los Angeles and Sand Diego for popularity. Among the main promoters for the road was a man by the name of Ed Fletcher. He was a road builder and business man who built the road from Phoenix Arizona to San Diego. He sponsored a race which he won with 6 horses through the Imperial Sand Dunes, in 19 1/2 hours. He then campaigned to collect money for the planks. 13,000 planks! A man by the name of L.F. Gray was a local man that was chosen to supervise the project hence the name Grey’s Well. Grey’s Well was the work site for The Old Plank Road.
The first plank was laid down in February 1915 and they finished in April 4 1915. It was declared a success by the 25 cars that crossed it shortly after it was done! In June of 1915 The California State Highway C omission assumed responsibility of the road. It ultimately connected Southern California to Arizona. After the excitement died down it became a headache. Maintaining the sand off the road was difficult the sand blew over the road constantly. Not to mention it was a one way road. Yes! seems a bit out there since we are use to two way roads, but Imagine driving down the road thinking I’ll be on the other side in a matter of hours just to realize there is a car coming in the opposite direction and there is 19 other cars behind that one!! Years later a road was built.
Some of the Road went to a Ford Museum. most of it went to fuel fires A section of the Old Plank Road is preserved in Greys Well where it is fenced in.