A Bit of History at Dutch Pete's
Known as an honest man, he and his better half give more than the worth of your money
for those weary travelers
Bodie Weekly Standard, October 9, 1878. 

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Dutch Pete then.....

In the summer of 1878, the Geelhoeds purchased the Hightower ranch south of Black Lake, and for the next two generations it became known as "Dutch Pete's Place."  Dutch Pete first came to the Benton area from Holland in the spring of 1869, at the age of 28. At that time, he worked on the Edward Dexter Ranch Canyon, farther north in the Adobe Valley. Soon after returning from a visit to Holland, where he met and married Jane Nolet,  he became a naturalized citizen at the Mono County Courthouse in Bridgeport (1876).  He ranched, worked as a teamster, operated his ice business, and played an active part in this Benton community. Dutch Pete's Place, was one of the best stagecoach stations to be found on the route. He had a reputation for keeping the roads around Benton in very good shape.
In 1925, an excerpt from his obituary read "Another pioneer of Mono County called to rest: Peter Geelhoed, for fifty years a resident of Benton and neighborhood, died at his home at Black Lake, about ten miles from that town, on Friday, June 6th, of ills of advanced age. The wife and mother passed on, leaving two sons, Peter and Henry, and a daughter, now Mrs. Frank Saulque, of Big Pine. Mr. Geelhoed, almost a pioneer of the section, had many acquaintances, in which he stood well, in both Mono and Inyo Counties."
Bridgeport Chronicle Union,
June 27, 1925.
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and now....ranching & lodging

In the early 2000s, Robert Fletterick, Emeritus professor of Biochemistry at UCSF and amateur astronomer, fell in love with the Adobe Valley and the shimmering Black Lake first seen by moonlight on his way to stay at Benton Hot Springs. After years of studying the property, Robert engaged his friend Reiser and architect Chapman, to design and build a compound that they felt fit in with its surroundings. Robert, with partner Sarah, enjoy visiting the property with their children during the different seasons, returning to favorite swimming holes, horse riding, hiking, BBQing, stargazing, 4-wheeling, sleuthing through old ruins and enjoying local markets and eateries in the Eastern Sierra!
The original corral and four fenced paddocks and a (new) windmill stand on the 160 acre property.  There is much history to learn about the Geelhoed family and the ranchers who lived and worked the land for the past century--with family names of Shaw, Simmons, Schindler, Tatum, Rossier, Harris, Taylor and currently, Doonan.
  The Doonan's Montgomery Creek Ranch Grass Fed Beef is a purveyor of Eastern Sierra local grass fed beef, offering beef directly to customers and through local food-minded retailers since 2007. Their beef is raised on high sierra native grassland of the Benton, Hammil, and Adobe valleys, and finished on grass and alfalfa hay from their family farming operation. The Doonans truly believe that a local food system is paramount to sustainable agriculture, and are proud to be a part of a thriving and vibrant Eastern Sierra local food culture. 
During the autumn/winter of 2020-2021,  Jake began restoration of the historic pastureland. As well, he managed to replace the old windmill, which pumps and recharges the groundwater at that site for the cattle.  If you see him around the ranch, checking on cattle or fences, he is quite approachable and happy to tell you about his family's operation.

Black Lake Preserve

Stretching northwest of Benton along Highway 120, Adobe Valley is known for its "emerald islands":  rare wetlands in the midst of the California desert – and one of the more secluded regions of the Eastern Sierra.
 Black Lake has a rich geologic, agricultural, and ecological history. It was one of the attractions for purchasing Dutch Pete's, with the desire to conserve it.  Now that the Black Lake portion of property is owned by the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, as a protected preserve, this oasis for birds and other wildlife is available for the public to visit.  As a whole, the Adobe Valley has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society; and waterfowl and migrating bird species.
(excerpt borrowed from Eastern Sierra Land Trust, www.eslt.org)
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The Notch in the Benton Crags

In 1846, noted explorer Edward Kern, for whom the Kern River is named, travelled through Adobe Valley as part of John C. Fremont's Third Expedition. The expedition crossed the Black Lake Preserve and walked down the notch in the Benton Mountains to the south, en route to a "delightful bath" at what is now Benton Hot Springs. In the 1870s, freshwater springs located to the west of the Preserve provided an important watering stop for travelers between Benton and the mining town of Bodie. These springs have served as important water sources for native Paiute families, whose presence in the valley goes back at least 10,000 years.
(excerpt borrowed from Eastern Sierra Land Trust, www.eslt.org)  

Sacred Place

The Native Paiute presence goes back thousands of years. The Benton Paiute Reservation, established in 1915,
is the home of the Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe which
translates into "Hot Water Place People",
a name derived from the "Numic" language,
originating from their location next to their ancestral hot springs, a natural flowing spring discharging at 140F.
Today, it is called Benton Hot Springs, and has been owned by the Bramlette family since the 1920s. Also adjacent to the Reservation is the historic silver mining town known as "Old Benton".
(excerpt borrowed from www.BentonPaiuteReservation.org)

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