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Chloride Mining Town - Located just south of the Hoover Dam off US 93 is the charming town of Chloride. Chloride derived its name from the ore in which many miners found caches of silver, gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise. Chloride began its boom in the late 1860's when silver was found on "Silver Hill." The town continued to grow to just over 2,000 residents by 1920. Two transportation lines served Chloride, the Butterfield Stage from 1868 to 1919 and the Santa Fe Railroad from 1898 to 1935. When the cost of mining materials and labor escalated in the mid 1940's, the mines were shut down. The townspeople left and it appeared Chloride would become a ghost town. But visitors to the area fell in love with the climate and the nearby Cerbat Mountains and settled there again. In 1966, Nevada's famous local artist, Roy Purcell, painted murals on the rocks high above the town near the mines. You can still visit these works of art but a 4-wheel drive vehicle or hiking in is suggested. Be sure to stop by the Tennesee Saloon for the finest $3.50 hamburger around. In the back room of the Visitor's Center you'll find a cache of fine old photographs depicting the beginnings of Chloride. The Infamous Gunfighters put on a great old west show on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays during the summer months. Chloride residents get together for All Town Yard Sales, Old Fashioned BBQ's, Auction Day, and Arts & Crafts Fairs during the year. This tiny tourist spot is a great place to see western hospitality. For more information contact: Chloride Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 268, Chloride, AZ 86431, (520) 565-2204.
Goldfield Ghost Town - Once this was Nevada's largest city after gold was discovered in 1902. It was known for its opulence and luxury, seldom seen in mining towns. Goldfield, also called the "Queen of Camps" had over 20,000 residents at its peak. Its mines produced $10,000 a day back in 1907 which made the five banks in town very happy. It even had several mining stock exchanges, three newspapers and five railroads. Goldfield became national recognized when they held a prize fight to bolster mining investments. The fight, recorded in the Guinness Book of Records went 42 rounds between Joe Gans and Battling Nelson. Nelson was disqualified for a "vicious foul" and Joe Gans won the Lightweight Championship of the World. A flood in 1913 and a fire in 1923 destroyed much of Goldfield's past but there is still much history to see today. The famous "Tex" Rickard house is standing, along with the courthouse which was built in 1907 for a meager $140,000. And don't miss the Santa Fe Saloon built in 1905. The miners got more than a few drinks at this place by the look of the small beds out back! For more information contact: Goldfield Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 219, Goldfield, NV 89013, (702) 485-6365.
Oatman, Arizona - About 20 miles East of Laughlin lies the ghost town of Oatman, AZ. Once a thriving mining town during the gold rush, wild burros now wander the streets of this popular TV and movie western backdrop. Although they never lived here, the town was named in memory of the Oatman family. Six of the nine family members were massacred by the Apaches near Gila Bend, Arizona. The Oatman Hotel located in the center of town is the oldest two story adobe building in Mojave County. Originally built in 1902, it was called the Durlin Hotel. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding night at the hotel after being married in Kingman, Arizona on March 29, 1939. It is also the home of Oatie the Ghost, Oatie, whose real name was William Ray Flour, came to Oatman from Ireland to work as a gold miner and lived in the hotel. It is told that he sent for his family to join him but neither his wife nor two children survived the trip. He died in 1930 behind the hotel after drinking himself to death. He still walks the halls of the hotel performing harmless pranks on tourists and employees alike. You can even rent out the Gable & Lombard Honeymoon Suite or Oatie's room if you have the nerve. On weekends you can take a trip back to the Old West as you experience free cowboy gunfights and showdowns on main street. More info (520) 768-3990. Or write: Oatman Chamber of Commerce, Oatman, AZ, 86433
Pioneer Saloon - A hot spot for Hollywood movie making, the Pioneer Saloon also boasts a colorful history. Built in 1913, it's barely changed. If this place doesn't make you think you just stepped into the old wild west you haven't seen enough Westerns. The bartender will fill you in about how the Bullet holes through the wall tell a story of lively poker games years ago. The original pot-bellied stove stills heats the saloon since the day it opened. Screen actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash on the nearby Double Deal Mountain in 1942. Her husband, Clark Gable sat in the Pioneer Saloon for days after the tragedy waiting for news. The building is made of stamped out metal. The outside covering was designed to look like blocks. The cherrywood bar itself was constructed in the 1860's in Brunswick, Maine. Shipped in three separate sections around Cape Horn and into San Francisco, one section was lost to fire, one section never arrived, and the third is what stands there today. A small room at the side of the saloon offers artifacts and newspapers from the height of Goodsprings success in the mining booms and a nearby old cemetary remembers former residents. Open everyday at 10:00 a.m., it is easy to locate in Goodsprings, NV, only a short 35 minute drive from Las Vegas. Take I-15 South 25 miles to the Jean - Goodsprings exit, then take NV-161 West 7 miles to W Spring St. For more information contact Pioneer Saloon, Goodsprings, NV, (702) 874-9362.
Potosi Ghost Town - Potosi is Nevada's first ghost town. Settled by Mormon pioneers, their drive for economic self-sufficiency led to mining here for lead. In 1856, Nathaniel V. Jones was sent to recover ore from the "Mountain of Lead" 30 miles southwest of the mission at Las Vegas Springs. About 9000 pounds of lead were recovered before smelting difficulties forced the remote mine to be abandoned in 1857. Potosi became the first abandoned mine in Nevada. In 1861 California mining interests reopened the mine. A smelter and rock cabins of 100 miners made up the camp of Potosi. More extensive mining operations resulted after the transcontinental Salt Lake and San Pedro Rail Road (now the Union Pacific) was built through the area in 1905. During World War I, Potosi was an important source of zinc.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
- One of Nevada's most
prominent ghost towns, Rhyolite was once a bustling metropolis. In 1904 gold
was discovered in the area and the towns of Rhyolite and Bullfrog were born.
Rhyolite was named after one of the main minerals found locally. At it's peak,
this town housed almost 10,000 people. It boasted over 50 saloons, 18 grocery
stores, 8 physicians and a half dozen barbers. There were over 15 hotels in
town to accommodate visitors. But due to a loss of financial backing it
became a ghost town by 1911. Rhyolite was a city built to last; which is
evident in the ruins you can see today. You can see the three story stone
frame of the $90,000 Cook Bank Building and a two story concrete school
building. Still standing, the train depot marks the spot were one of three
railroads ran through the town. The jail walls are intact but the roof has
given way to time. And a house built in 1905 entirely of bottles
(51,000 bottles) is definitely worthy of a visit. You can stroll through
hundreds of house and business foundations made from adobe. Rhyolite is a
great place to take pictures, search for ghosts and learn about the history of
the old west. For more information contact: Friends of Rhyolite, PO Box 85,
Amargosa Valley, NV 89020.
Searchlight - Just southeast of Las Vegas on your way toward Laughlin, you'll find the little town of Searchlight. G.F. Colton first laid claim to this area when he discovered gold ore here on May 6, 1897. Soon Colton's Duplex mine brought others to the area. In 1900, the Quartette Mining Company was formed and became the mainstay of the Searchlight district. It produced almost half of the entire area's total gold ore output. A 16 mile narrow-guage railroad was constructed to carry the ore from the hillside down to the mill located on the Colorado River. Searchlight began to boom in 1902 and reached its peak in 1907. Gold production reached over $4.5 million by 1940. On March 3, 1907, the 23.22 mile Barnwell and Searchlight Railroad connected the town with the then main Santa Fe Line from Needles to Mojave. But by 1919 trains were operating over the B & S Railroad only twice a week. A severe desert storm washed out the tracks on September 23, 1923. This halted traffic completely and the train service was never restored.
Austin Mining Town - Austin got its start when a retired Pony Express rider discover gold there in 1862. This town rivaled for first spot in the production of silver and gold. The town buildings, still in perfect condition, have stood the test of time. Stoke's Castle, an eccentric looking Italian tower is a great spot to overlook the Reese River Valley. It was built as a summer home in 1897 and only used for one month. Three original churches remain. The Catholic Church is the oldest in the State of Nevada. The Methodist Church was built in 1866 with monies raised by the pastor's mining stock scheme. For more information contact: Austin Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 212, Austin, NV 89310, (702) 964-2200.
Berlin Ghost Town - Berlin was founded in 1900. This is one of only a few places in Nevada to see an intact stamp mill. A stamp mill pulverized rock into ore for extraction. You can stop by the assay office, rooming house or even the old stage stop. Don't miss the 1955 excavation site of the Ichthyosaur. It was here that 40 fossilized remains of the 60-foot fish-lizard were found. The Ichthyosaur is believed to have swum the sea 90 to 240 million years ago. See our Las Vegas and Nevada State Parks page for more information on the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park.
Gold Point Ghost Town - In 1868 this ghost town was founded as Lime Point, the name was then changed to Hornsilver and finally to Gold Point in 1927. There are about 50 original buildings still standing. The old post office serves as a museum to the rich history of the area. You can tour through over a dozen deserted mining camps and there are hundreds of nearby mines. Within a short drive you can visit a waterfall where wild horses and burros refresh themselves, see Indian petroglyphs, hot springs and a petrified woods. There is also a gorgeous view of Death Valley from a nearby mountaintop. It is located 30 miles from Goldfield Mining Town.
Silver Peak Living Ghost Town - This town has seen mining since 1863. The stage stop, Silver Peak's oldest building is made of rock. Current mining activities for lithium and gold keep the town alive today. The old post office and the remains of 5 mills can still be seen. An old townsite known as Blair is nearby. This is where the railroad ended. A 375 foot high cinder cone of a newly extinct volcano is a short distance from the townsite.
Tonopah Historic Mining Park - A must see for all mining enthusiasts, this park is situated on the original site of Belle and Jim Butler's 1900 mining claim. Called the "Queen of the Silver Camps" it set the way for future mining practices in the United States. Jim and Belle did not have enough capitol to develop the mine so they leased the mine by the foot to all interested parties for 25% of the profit. Many miners became very rich with the leasing method and this leasing practice spread to other mining areas. The "Grizzly" Silver Top Mine stands as a beacon above Tonopah. It is estimated that the precious metals extracted from this area would exceed $1,200,000,000 at today's prices. For more information contact: Tonopah Historic Mining Park, P.O. Box 965, Tonopah, NV 89049-0965.
Tonopah Mining Town - Tonopah's mining boom left the most relics behind than any other mining town. Large mine head frames dwarf the town and many piles of rock decorate the landscape. This town was once called the "Queen of the Silver Camps." The Mizpah Hotel in downtown Tonopah was built in 1907. Most of the buildings were made from yellow stone. Famous westerners like Wyatt Earp and Jack Dempsey used to call Tonopah home. For more information contact: Tonopah Chamber of Commerce, 301 Brougher Avenue, P.O. Box 869, Tonopah, NV 89049.
Eureka Mining Town - Eureka was established on the silver strike in 1864. At its height, in the late 1870's, many red-brick buildings for public use were constructed. These buildings are what makes Eureka unique today. Several buildings are currently under renovation, including the 1880 County Courthouse. You can find a frontier newspaper print shop housed in the Eureka Sentinel Museum. The town's restoration is being financed by a gold strike which was recently found. For more information contact: Eureka Chamber of Commerce, Monroe and Bateman, P.O. Box 14, Eureka, NV 89316, (702) 237-5484.
Fort Churchhill - What sightseer doesn't like to visit old forts? This one is a beauty. In 1861, the first military post was built in Nevada. Fort Churchill was used as a military garrison for federal troops during the Civil War. Troops patrolled to protect the citizens from hostile Indian uprisings. This post is being maintained in a state of arrested decay. The ruins of the adobe building are perfect for picture taking. A campground and picnic area is located nearby on the banks of the Carson River.
Virginia City Mining Town - In 1859 a solid vein of gold bearing quartz had been found in Gold Canyon and as they mined they found amalgam gold in a blue-gray mud clogging up their equipment. This was the beginning for Virginia City, the richest strike in history. Money from these mines helped build San Francisco and financed the Union side of the Civil War. Virginia City reached its peak in 1876 with a population of 23,000. Visit the Castle on "B" Street which is still the same as the day it was built in 1868. Or take in a cultural event at the old Piper's Opera House. Built in 1880, this opera house brought in famous stars from as far away as Europe. In the book, "Roughing It", the author Mark Twain recounts his days as a young newspaper lad living in Virginia City. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad still operates, offering a steam train ride from Virginia City to Gold Hill. For more information contact: Virginia City Chamber of Commerce, V&T Railroad Car, P.O. Box 464, Virginia City, NV 89440.