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David Carle, author of the book, “Putting California on the Map”

HSUMD puts California on the map November 15


The Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert Nick Rogers– The Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s (HSUMD) monthly general meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 15 at 7 pm at the Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. The guest speaker for the evening will be David Carle, author of the book, “Putting California on the Map: Von Schmidt’s Lines”. 

Allexey Waldemar von Schmidt, surveyor, and civil engineer, lived in California, from 1849 through 1906. The young state had already developed a reputation as a society of innovators and energetic problem solvers. Von Schmidt, an involved citizen of San Francisco, father and husband, and a pioneer whose triumphs and tragedies enlarged the California Dream. His efforts to give shape to California, to devise long-distance water-delivery systems, and to apply creative engineering solutions have been nearly forgotten.

As a surveyor, von Schmidt led the parties that established the baselines in the Eastern Sierra, including those in the Yosemite Valley and the Mono Basin in 1855, long before mining camps, homesteads, or tourism had been established. His daughter, Lily von Schmidt Tilden, wrote in 1906: “My father always thought he was the first white man to look down from the top of the mountains into Yosemite Valley.  I recall his telling us children:  boys, we’ll stop here for grub, although it is only eleven o’clock, while I make a sketch of those beautiful falls.”  From 1872-73, he led the first successful survey of the California-Nevada border, a boundary that became known as the “Von Schmidt line.” The question of why that line has a bend where it should be straight will be explored in the November talk. 

David Carle is the author of 14 non-fiction books and two novels. He grew up in Orange County, California.  He received his bachelor’s degree from UC Davis and his masters from CSU Sacramento. 

Carle was a ranger in the California State Parks system for 27 years, serving the Mendocino Coast, the Hearst Castle, the Auburn State Recreation Area (in the gold country of the Sierra foothills), and the State Indian Museum in Sacramento. From 1982 through 2000, at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, he shared the unit ranger position with his wife, participating in the long effort to protect that Eastern Sierra inland sea from the effects of stream diversions to Los Angeles. He taught biology and natural history courses for several years in the 1990s at Cerro Coso Community College in Mammoth Lakes, and has served as President of the Mono Basin Historical Society.  Since January 2021, Carle has held the position of President of the California State Park Rangers Association (CSPRA). 

The Society meets on the third Tuesday of most months. Meetings are free and all are welcome to attend. For more information on this or future meetings, call the HSUMD at 760-375-8456