Oreana Nevada is a milling town which was active from 1865 – 1885 in Pershing County Nevada and home to the Montezuma Smelting Works. The townsite is located on Interstate 80 / U.S. 95 about fourteen miles north east of Lovelock.
In 1865 a five stamp mill was relocated from Trinity and located on the eastern bank of the Humboldt River. This mill is used to process ore from the nearby Montezuma mine and the Arabia district.
In 1857 the Montezuma Smelting Works is built in Oreana, Nevada by the Trinity and Sacramento Company. The location of the smelting works is a bold choice for its Superintendent A. W. Nelson, who built the factory, which contained eight furnaces if a location with little fuel. The nearby mining districts of Arabia and the Trinity mining district were the primary source of ore to supply the plant with raw materials.
A hotel, boarding houses, post office, restaurants, meat market and general store kept the citizens feed and houses. In addition to mining and smelting, a livery and blacksmith and kept them working. The Oreana Jockey Club kept them entertained by sponsoring horses races. So long as the mines produced ore, the smelters processed it 24 hours a day.
At the time, Oreana is the largest in the Humboldt Valley. This title would later be taken by Lovelock, Nevada. Despite its solid foundations, Oreana found itself in financial trouble. Debt and Taxes caused a shutdown in 1869. And again in 1871. Today not much remains to indicate a town.
Oreana Town Summary
|Location||Pershing County, Nevada|
|Latitude, Longitude||40.310833, -118.370556|
|Post Office||February 1867 – July 1869|
February 1870 – September 1873
October 1873 – March 1883
Darwin is a unincorporated community, gold mining town and ghost town located in Inyo County, California about 22 miles from Keeler. The town was named for Darwin French, who lead a party of prospectors into Death Valley in 1860 looking for the mythical gunsight lode. This prospecting eventually lead to the wash, canyon and town named in his honor.
The site which became Darwin was formed in 1874 following a discovery of lead and silver. The overall grwoth of the town was limited by its water supply which is piped from over eight miles away. This discovery coincided with near by Panamint, although the rush to Darwin was more muted. Darwin has a population of about 700 at this time.
The Coso Mining News published weekly from 1875 – 1878 by T.S. Harris. The newspaper closed in September 1878 and the publisher moved up north to Bodie. The moved of the newspaper is symptomatic and followed by many others including miners seeker greener pastures. The town of Darwin had a remaining population of about 250 people. Despite the plunging population the town still supported six saloons, four stores, three restaurants and a drug store. Between the years of 1874 and 1877 newspapers reported at least 80 murders.
Darwin is a rarity and survived its original boom. The town remained viable until World Was I, when larger mining operations could profit of lower yielding ores. A post office opened in 1875 and closed in 1902. Eventually, the post office reopened and remains open today.
In 2011, a documentary called Darwin is available on Amazon Prime. The documentary is described, “Propelled from society by tragic turns, the isolated community of Darwin, Death Valley (population 35) must now find ways to coexist in a place without a government, a church, jobs, or children.” I did watch the documentary and found it interesting. However, its focus was on the people living there now and not much on the history.
Recently, Brent Underwood, owner of Cerro Gordo featured Darwin on his youtube channel. He was scrounging old boards from buildings in Darwin to help rebuild Cerro Gordo. I am not sure how I feel about damaging one old town to rebuild another…
Darwin Town Summary
|Location||Inyo County, California|
|Latitude, Longitude||36.268056 -117.591667|
|Elvation||4,790 ft ( 1460 m )|
|Newspaper||Coso Mining News ( Nov. 6, 1875 – Sept. 4, 1878 )|
Darwin Town Map
Fort Churchill is a Civil War era United States Army Fort, Pony Express Station and overland stage stop located in Lyon County, Nevada just West of Buckland’s Station. The fort was commissioned to protect early settlers from the east from Indian attacks. The garrison was the largest, most elaborate fortification in the Nevada Territory at the time.
The discovery of gold in California caused a massive rush of people across the United States. Some of these early settlers came into the Nevada Territory and setup stage stops and mining operations. The arrival of settlers in their territory threatened the the Northern Paiute people. The increase populations of settlers increased the competition for local resources, such as game. These tensions, along with kidnapping and of rape of two young Paiute girls by prospectors from Williams Station erupted into Pyramid Lake War in 1860.
The U.S. Army fort was build along the Carson River and construction of Fort Churchill started on July 20, 1860. The base was named in honor of Sylvester Churchill who was the Inspector General of the Army. The fort is completed in early 1861 and home to some 200 soldiers charged with protecting settlers and mail routes. The post is abandoned in 1869.
On October 6, 1932, Nevada took control of the 200 acre fort and took steps to preserve the ruins as a state park.
Fort Churchill Map
The Stellars Jay ( Cyanocitta stelleri ) is a common character found in the forests of the western half of the United States. The bird is an opportunistic omnivore and closely related to the Blue Jay. The Stellars Jay has a black crested head and a vibrant blue body which is commonly about between eleven and twelve inches long. This bird has a lot of variations depending on location.Continue Reading →
Buckland Station is a pony express station, stage stop, boarding house and supplier near Fort Churchill in Lyon County, Nevada.
In 1857, Samual Buckland moved from California to the future site of Buckland’s Station. Buckland, a cattle rancher, improved the property by building a tradingpost, tent hotel, stage stop and toll bridge over the Carson River. A small log cabin was constructed in 1860.Continue Reading →