Inyo Development Company Records

Identifier: NC73

Scope and Contents

The Inyo Development Company Records cover the period 1885-1916. The primary subject is the development, manufacture, and distribution of soda products from the Keeler works. Over half of the collection is correspondence. The remainder consists of financial statements, receipts, labor records, soda records, and legal documents. Material is primarily handwritten originals and typewritten copies.

The company records also contain Chinese and Indian payrolls, a transatlantic cable code, and several letters and newspaper clippings about the Owens Valley water project. However, gaps occur in the correspondence and most other records. For example, the company's letterpress book no. 4 was never received. Some documents referred to in the correspondence, such as the ledgers and journals "only temporarily removed from Carson" (June 28, 1913), are not found within the collection.


  • 1885-1916


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Administrative History

The Inyo Development Company was formed to evaporate, process, and ship the natural soda found in the brines at Owens Lake, Inyo County, California. Soda works were located at Keeler, on the east side of the lake, where the company owned approximately three thousand acres of clay lands, including town lots; buildings; soda vats; pipelines; furnaces; and other machinery.

H. M. Yerington incorporated this Nevada company in April 1885. Early officers were Yerington, president, and G. J. Ford, later E .B. Yerington, secretary. Stockholders included D. O. Mills, W .E. Sharon, and E. D. Boyle. Superintendents at Keeler included L. F. J. Wrinkle, R. J. Laws, Noah Wrinkle, and L. F. Young. Following H. M. Yerington's death in 1910, the office of president was held by H. H. Taylor, and in 1911 by John. F. Cannon. In 1913 A. B. Davis became vice-president and general manager. These last three officers were based in San Francisco, California. The material ends with correspondence dated November 1916, at which time it appears the company was still active.

In 1885 the Inyo Development Company began by producing crude soda for the borax manufacturers. In the period 1898-1899 the company also started producing soda ash which was sold to glass, soap, and other manufacturers. The company was represented by a soda agent in San Francisco and at various times employed chemists to experiment with processes and equipment.


9.521 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Inyo Development Company was formed to evaporate, process, and ship the natural soda found in the brines at Owens Lake, Inyo County, California. Collection contains correspondence, financial statements, labor records, soda records, legal documents and maps from 1885-1916.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Soda Memoranda and Shipping Records; 3) Legal Documents; 4) Financial Records and Accounts; 5) Labor Records; 6) Maps

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Gordon A. Sampson circa 1965.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the photo archive of the Special Collections Department as collection number UNRS-P0076.


Guide to the Inyo Development Company Records
April 1982
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)