Fort Ruby

Fort Ruby, also known as Camp Ruby is an old U. S. Army post which was built in 1862 during the American Civil War, The post is located in the “wilderness of eastern Nevada.” and protected the overland mail coaches and Pony Express, in order to maintain links and communication between residents of California and the Union states to the East.

Photo of Fort Ruby as it appeared in 1868, when famed western photographer Timothy Sullivan captured this image.
Photo of Fort Ruby as it appeared in 1868, when famed western photographer Timothy Sullivan captured this image.

The fort operated from 1862 to 1869 and was a small outpost in the land of the Western Shoshone tribes. The outpost is built prior to the signing of the Treaty of Ruby Valley in which the United States and the Western Shoshone agreed to allow access and mineral rights to the land in exchange for $5,000 a year for twenty years. These payments was supposed to be delivered in goods and livestock for the tribe. Sadly, only the first payment is delivered.

“Ruby Valley is a bleak, inhospitable place — no forage, nor lumber to build with, and as far as the Indians are concerned, entirely unnecessary to keep troops there,” 

Col. Patrick E. Conner

Col. Patrick E. Conner lead the expedition to the site in 1862 and along with 600 men from the 3rd Regiment of California Volunteers, built the fort from stone and wood from the nearby mountains. Fort Ruby was comprised of fourteen buildings including living quarters, stables, corrals and store houses. Water is supplied by the Fort Ruby Spring located close to the fort. Just one month after initial construction of the fort, the men prepared the fort for winter. Upon doing so, the majority of the soldiers packed up and left for Salt Lake City to establish Fort Douglas. In 1864, the California troops were replaced by the Nevada Volunteers, Company B, 1st Nevada Infantry.

The outpost is located in a vast remote location about halfway between Carson City, Nevada and Salt Lake City Utah. The main threat to the men after the treaty is boredom. Aside from a brief action known as the Goshute War with the local natives, there is nothing for the Troops to keep busy after the treaty is signed.

The camp is decommissioned on September 20th, 1869. As the troops left the outpost, ranch families waved goodbye. Fort Ruby and its soldiers had become a welcome part of the valley. the closing of the fort was a social and economic blow to the local ranchers.

Fort Ruby was salvaged by local ranchers and today, no much remains at the site aside from several graves and a historic marker.

Fort Ruby Summary

NameFort Ruby
LocationWhite Pine County, Nevada
Also Known AsCamp Ruby, Old Camp Ruby, Old Fort Ruby
Latitude, Longitude40.0677778, -115.5294444
GNIS1681469
Elevation1826 meters / 5991 feet

Fort Ruby Map

Resources

Calico California

Calico California is a ghost town located just outside of Barstow in Mojave desert of San Bernardino, California. The town began its like in 1881 when four miners from Grapevine Station (present day Barstow) began prospecting the “Calico Colored” mountains to the north east. The prospectors soon found the Silver King Mine, which was the largest producer of Silver in California in the 1880’s.

Calico California
Calico California

The prospectors were grubstaked by John C. King for whom the the Silver King Mine was named. John King also served as the San Bernardino County Sherriff from 1879 to 1882.  The post office is added to the town in 1882 along with the publishing on the newspaper the Calico Print which is published weekly. A typical assortment of business are started to support the mining efforts including three hotels, bars, brothels, boarding hoses, restaurants and a Wells Fargo office.

During the heyday, Calico boasted 500 mines, 3,500 townspeople, two constables, a deputy sheriff, two attorneys, two doctors and a boot hill cemetery. In 1890, the Silver Purchase Act drove down the price of silver and the decrease in profits made the town no longer economically viable. Future attempts at a rebirth and revival failed.

Miner and workmen crews at the Silver King Mine — in the Calico mining district, Mojave Desert, southern California.
Miner and workmen crews at the Silver King Mine — in the Calico mining district, Mojave Desert, southern California.

The town was purchase from Zenda Mining Company in 1951 by Walter Knot. It so happened, that Walter Knott was the nephew of John C. King and the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm. Mr. Knott invested over $700,000 restoring Calico in an attempt the create a road side attraction. Some of the original buildings are removed and replaced with facades similar in construction to a Hollywood set. Despite this fact, Calico played an important role and holds a special place in California history.

Calico Trail Map

Town Summary

NameCalico, California
LocationSan Bernardino County, California
Latitude, Longitude34.948889, -116.864167
GNIS1660414
Elevation2,285 feet
Population3,500
Post Office1882 – 1898
NewspaperCalico Print

References

Metropolis Nevada

Metropolis Nevada is a ghost town about 14 miles north west of Wells, Nevada and located in Elko County Nevada. The town was the brainchild of the Pacific Reclamation Company, which is based in New York. In 1909, the company envisioned build a city to host up to 7,500 people, which was surrounded by 40,000 acres of farm land.

Metropolis Nevada
The $75,000 brick Hotel in Metropolis Nevada

Pacific Reclamation Company opened an office in Salt Lake City beginning in 1910 to promotion the future site of Metropolis in the Nevadan desert. In 1911, streets, lots and even two public parks were staked out for development and the newspaper, the Metropolis Chronicle began publication in 1911. All of this promotion and interested boosted the cost of land from as low as $10 an acre to $75. Town lots ranged from $100 to $300 per lot.

The towns infrastructure was second to none in Nevada. There streets were graded and line with fire hydrants and street lights and a four block commercial district is established. Railroad tracked is connected to the townsite by the Southern Pacific, from Tulasco about eight miles away. A train depot is built to welcome new visitors who are greeted with a small tree lined park built by the railroad.

In 1912, a one hundred foot tall damn is built along with canals to distribute the water. As the reservoir filled, the town of Metropolis grew. Over 700 citizens called the town home, the majority being Mormon. To serve the population a Post Office is opened along with several business including a brick hotel, saloons and a wagon factory.

1912 also witnessed the demise of the town of Metropolis. Lovelock Valley filed suit with Pacific Reclamation Co. seeking an injunction from water utilization from the headwaters of Humboldt. The court ruled against the Pacific Reclamation Co, only allowing them to supply water to support 4,000 of the 40,000 planned acres of farmland. Following this ruling, the reclamation company went into receivership and the newspaper is closed in 1913.

The town continued but languished. By 1925, the town was in steady decline and the railroad abandoned its footprint in Metropolis. In 1936, the hotel is a victim of fire. In 1942 the post office is closed and in 1947 the school is closed.

Metropolis Trail Map

Town Summary

NameMetropolis Nevada
LocationElko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.228056, -115.056111
Elevation5675 Feet
Population700
Post Office1912 – 1942
NewspaperMetropolis Chronicle Sept 15, 1911 – Apr 15, 1913

References

Dinner Station Nevada

Dinner Station, Elko County, Nevada
Dinner Station, Elko County, Nevada

Dinner Station is a ghost town and stage station located in Elko County, Nevada. The station started with a wood building in the 1860s or 1870s. The station served as a station and meal stop for passengers on the Tuscarora and Mountain City Stages Lines. This building was destroyed by a fire in 1884 and was replaced by a two story stone building and corral. Stage service picked up travelers from Elko destined for Tuscarora and stop for dinner, which was happily provided for fifty cents. The station was one of the more popular inns of the era.

By 1900 the station had a population of 40 inhabitants. The budding automobile industry caused the station to loose some of its importance and necessity. This fact spelled the end of Dinner as city and it became just a private residence.

A fire in 1991 destroyed the sole building, however the structure is rebuilt in 1996.

Dinner Station Trail Map

Site Summary

NameDinner Station
Also Known AsWeiland Station, Oldham’s Station
LocationElko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.0999142, -115.8661870
GNIS845151
Elevation1817 meters / 5962 feet

References

Midas Nevada

Midas is a populated location and gold mining town located in Elko County, Nevada. The town is located in a valley along the Midas Creek on the south eastern slopes of the Owyhee Bluffs about 42 miles north east of Golconda, Nevada and 42 miles west of Tuscarora.

In 1907, the settlement of Midas, was called Gold Circle, because the mining area encircled the camp. - Stanley W. Parmer, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970)
In 1907, the settlement of Midas, was called Gold Circle, because the mining area encircled the camp. – Stanley W. Parmer, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970)
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