Sometimes when I pull up to the stoplight at Main Street and Highway 50, I look over at the old Barton house and expect to see Chester or Helen Barton peek out from behind the curtains. Now, don't go getting a net to catch me.
By now, you must know I've a lively imagination. I have read so much about the Bartons and heard about Helen from Jannette Hoffert, who cared for her.
The Bartons enjoyed their home and having people in for parties and dinners.
Their house is unique since it was originally the Carson & Colorado train station.
The C&C RR ran through Dayton until April 25, 1933, when the station closed.
The train had run through Dayton beginning in 1880 from Mound House to Keeler, Calif., carrying freight, fresh produce and people. Owens Valley supplied fresh fruit and vegetables to the Comstock until the city of Los Angeles bought the water rights and dried up the valley.
The C&C Depot was sold to a family for a home. On Sept. 29, 1946, Tom and Wilma Allingham bought the depot. They had to do some work on it before moving in. Wilma was one of the children raised by the Bartons; she was nicknamed "Sparky." (Wilma died last month). The Allinghams moved to Ely about 1950 , when Tom, a miner, went to work there.
Chester bought the station from the Allinghams in 1952 for $2,000. He worked on the house for about a year, then, because the Nevada Highway Department was thinking of building the present highway, Chester moved the depot to its present location at the corner of U.S. 50 East and Main Street.
The Bartons moved into the house in 1953. They had many friends and parties in the renovated depot. Chester stored his rattlesnakes under the house in the winter, and had pens built in the back yard to hold all sorts of wild animals. He kept a bobcat in the house most of the time.
Helen was a good homemaker and canned a lot of fruit and vegetables - some are still in jars in a basement next to the house.
The Historical Society of Dayton Valley became interested in preserving the C&C RR Station after Helen died in 1997. With the efforts of a lot of people, we will soon be able to make the depot another historic place to visit in Dayton. We feel fortunate to have preserved it.
The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It's also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week at random hours and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out daytonnvhistory.org. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.
• Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.