Vanderbilt California

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an short lived gold mining town which lasted just a few short years, from 1891 to 1895. The mining district is found in the northeastern section of San Bernardino County, right at the California and Nevada Border and almost within sight of Primm, Nevada.

Gold was discovered in the New York Mountains, in January 1891 by a Piute Indian named Robert Black. Soon after, the news of the strike traveled quickly and there were several mines in operation, including the Gold Bronze, the Sagmore and the Boomerang. The district was named for the the Vanderbilt Family, in the hopes the gold strike would prove as rich as the Vanderbilt Fortune. A small camp was built to support the operation and with additional gold veins found in the fall of 1892, word got out and the rush started.

Two years later, in 1893, the small mining camp has attracted 150 people and boasted two stores, one saloon, three restaurants, stable, lodging house, a blacksmith shop and about 50 tents. The post office was added in February of 1893 and a Justice of the Peace, W. A. Nash was appointed. A weekly newspaper, the Shaft was soon published. A railway line and water works were planned, but never completed.

A population of about 400 was found in the small town in 1894. In addition of adding more buildings and saw more saloons and businesses followed to service the town. Two ten-stamp mills were constructed at the two large mine sites, however the service was short lived. Almost as soon as the mills were built, the mines struck water and the ore changed and made it such that the mines could not recover gold. The town died with the gold production in 1895. 1895 also saw work on the railroad to Vanderbilt ceased. The school closed in 1898 and the Post office closed in 1910.

Perhaps the towns biggest modern claim to fame was one of its famous citizens. Virgil Earp, older brother of Wyatt Earp and survivor of the infamous gunfight at the O. K. Coral, owned and operated a two story building which was served as saloon and hotel in the small town of Vanderbilt. It should be known that there were a lot of Earp Brothers, and there was a lot of migration during this period as populations moved quickly from town to town looking for fortune and opportunity.

Virgil Earp 1843 -1905
Virgil Earp 1843 -1905
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Vanderbilt, California

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Vanderbilt, California 35.330500, -115.251000

Further Reading

Desert Fever – An overview of Mining History of the California Desert Conservation Area

The Historical Mining Towns of the Eastern Mojave Desert

Berlin Nevada

Berlin Nevada - 1910
Berlin Nevada – 1910

Berlin Nevada is a ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada and found within the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park some 19 miles east of Gabbs. Originally founded in 1895 by State Senator Bell, Berlin was named for Berlin Germany, the home land for some of the local prospectors. Berlin was worked for silver when the enterprise was sold to John G. Stokes of New York.

The Nevada Company bought up property in 1898 including the Knickerbocker and Pioner mills new Ione, Nevada. All of the machinery was then moved up to Berlin where it was used to build a thirty stamp mill and production was started.

The town of Berlin Nevada continued to prosper and grow and supported some 250 citizens who benefited from a store, post office, schoolhouse, auto shop and stage lines to nearby settlements.

The school house in Berlin, Nevada
The school house in Berlin, Nevada

Following many other towns, Berlin Nevada says its production falter during the panic of 1907, which was caused by the San Francisco Earthquake of the prior year. At its height, the towns 75 buildings housed some 300 people. Ore yields continued to fall and the mills were shutdown despite a report from a Goldfield newspaper from the previous year which stated that ore was available for at least three more years.

Perhaps not wanting to read the writing on the wall, between 1911 and 1914 develop of a fifty ton cyanide plant was completed and continued to work the tailings of Berlin. However, this late effort only recovered about $2.50 per ton. The Berlin Mine boasted over three miles of tunnels, but the mine failed to produce at just under $1 million in silver and gold.

During World War II, the large mill was dismantled of its machinery. Today, the town is part of a state park and several structures are preserved including a machine shop, assay office and mine supervisors house. The 30 stamp mill is preserved and stabilized and is one of the best in the state.

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Berlin Nevada

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Berlin Nevada 38.881900, -117.608000 Berlin Nevada is a ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada and found within the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park some 19 miles east of Gabbs.

Manhattan Nevada

Manhattan Nevada 1906
Manhattan Nevada 1906

Located about fifty miles north of Tonopah, Manhattan Nevada is ghost town located at the end of Nevada State Route 377 in Nye County, Nevada. Originally founded in 1866, the location is one of many which experienced a silver boom. The ore from this production was processed in Belmot, Nevada however the district was in 1871.

1905 brought new life to the district as a gold boom and “4,000 people flooded into the region”. The story is that on April 1st, 1905, John Humphrey and two companions discovered a gold while riding after cattle in the area. The new mine was dubbed the April Fool mine. Better discoveries were soon found in the area, undoubtedly due to the influx of people and a total of eight townsites were stacked. The end of 1905 found a gold ledge assayed at $10,000 per ton and several hundred citizens living in the town.

South end of April Fool Hill, showing workings in the White Caps Mine limestone. The outcrop of folded limestone is outlined by the position of the shallow shafts. Nye County, Nevada. 1915. Plate 13-A in U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin 723. 1924.
South end of April Fool Hill, showing workings in the White Caps Mine limestone. The outcrop of folded limestone is outlined by the position of the shallow shafts. Nye County, Nevada. 1915. Plate 13-A in U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin 723. 1924.

Manhattan continued to flourish in 1906 with the town swelling by 4,000 people in just two weeks time. Freight wagons, automobiles and stages all hauled supplies into the fledgling town and the road between Manhattan and Tonopah was traveled 24 hours a day. To support this influx of people and entrepreneurial saloon keepers sold floor space for people to sleep and a bath cost $3. Although most people lived in a quickly erected tent city, lots along main street were sold for between $1300 and $1900 and several wood framed structures housed the various local businesses.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 dealt a blow to the mining industry when Manhattan was “humming loudest”. Investment from the bay area dried up, while the citizens of San Francisco prioritized the rebuilding efforts. Local mines all but ceased production during this time.

Placer mine in western part of Manhattan Gulch, showing sluice boxes and pond. Nye County, Nevada. 1915. Plate 17-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin 723. 1924.
Placer mine in western part of Manhattan Gulch, showing sluice boxes and pond. Nye County, Nevada. 1915. Plate 17-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin 723. 1924.

The town on Manhattan saw a resurgance in 1909 and the population of 800 to 1000 people and their town matured into great little town. Local mines produced Gold, Silver and Copper, while Frank Garside published a weekly newspapper, the Post. The town continued its mining operations, including a gold dredge.

In total, the mines of Manhattan Nevada produced a total of 10.3 million dollars until it ceased operations in 1947. Today, Manhattan is home to 124 people and boast two bars, The Miner’s Saloon and and The Manhattan Bar and Motel.

Manhattan Nevada Map

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Manhattan Nevada

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Manhattan Nevada 38.538700, -117.074000 Located about fifty miles north of Tonopah, Manhattan Nevada is ghost town located at the end of Nevada State Route 377 in Nye County, Nevada. Originally founded in 1866, the location is one of many which experienced a silver boom. The ore from this production was processed in Belmot, Nevada however the district was in 1871.

Tybo Nevada

Tybo Nevada - 1875
Tybo Nevada – 1875

Tybo Nevada is a ghost town in Nye County located some 8 miles north west of U.S Route 6 and some 10 miles north east of Warm Sprints Nevada. The towns name is dervied from the Shoshone phrase tybbabo or tai-vu and is translated as “white man’s district”.

The townsite of Tybo was first introduced by the Native Americans to the white man in 1870 when they told of small seems of silver ore. Initially, the miners only worked small seems of silver ore, until later in 1870 they discovered the 2G main load. Despite this find, the boom of the town site of Tybo did not occur until 1874.

Tybo, Nevada - 1881
Tybo, Nevada – 1881

Early on, unlike other mining camps and boom towns, the town enjoyed a peaceful reputation. It was reported in the nearby Belmont news paper, that the lack of shootings and fights were not a good sign for the start up town. This reputation was not to last, in 1875 found the import of Chinese laborors to cut pinon lumber to produce charcoal for the smelters. The white laborers revolted and ran the Chinese out of town is whips and bullets, for undercutting the lumber workers wages.

The Trowridge General Store in Tybo Nevada - 1881
The Trowridge General Store in Tybo Nevada – 1881

Between 1875 and 1877 the small town of Tybo grew to support a population of about 1000 people, and the location was the sensation of the county. The Trowbridge Store, Rosenthal Store, Streitberger Store, Barney McCann’s Restaurant, W.F.Mills, and Company Bank were just some of the businesses which owed their existence to the 2G mine. In 1877, 187.5 tons of freight were brought in to town by 16 mule teams from nearby Eureka. 262 tons of lead and silver bullion were taken from the town by the same teams.

The Tybo Consolidated Mining Company failed in 1879 due to ore reduction difficulties. Like many other mining towns, this singular failure caused the newly found caused the company town to in 1880. The town of Tybo continued to linger with multiple attempts at resurgence ub 1901, 1906 and 1917. The mills steadily produced 500,000 tons of lead and zinc ore until 1944

Tybo Nevada today exists in a deep canyon in the mountains and .boasts a cemetery, brick and wooden ruins including a head frame.

Tybo Nevada Map

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Tybo Nevada

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Tybo Nevada 38.369900, -116.401000 Tybo Nevada is a ghost town in Nye County located some 8 miles north west of U.S Route 6 and some 10 miles north east of Warm Sprints Nevada. The towns name is dervied from the Shoshone phrase tybbabo or tai-vu and is translated as “white man’s district”.

Belmont Nevada

Following a silver strike and quatz vein by a Native American in the area, Belmont Nevada was founded in Nye County, Nevada. The silver boom along with other minerals including copper, lead and antimony brought in the settles and the town of Belmont was growing in 1867.

Belmont in 1871
Belmont in 1871

Located at 8000 feet in the Toquima range, the small town was the center of the Philidelphia Mining District. In 1867, the small town became the county seat for Nye County when this honor was transferred from Ione, which was in decline at this time. The settlement boasted two saloons, four stores, post office, livery, bank, assay office school and all of the assorted business to support the mining activities. A court house was built in the county seat in 1875 by the county commission, which still stands today.

Like many small mining towns, the prosperity of Belmont the ebbed and flowed with the price of metals. The town boomed in 1866/67 and between the years of 1883 and 1885. The estimated population of the town ranged between 4,000 and 15,000.

In 1887, meager mineral production caused to town to wain and soon the sole purpose of Belmont was to provide government service. This sole source of industry was removed in 1905 when the county seat was relocated to nearby Tonopah, Nevada.

CANFIELD'S MILL, BELMONT, NEVADA - NARA - 524117
CANFIELD’S MILL, BELMONT, NEVADA – NARA – 524117

Belmont Nevada Map

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Belmont Nevada

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Belmont Nevada 38.596000, -116.874000 Belmont Nevada is a ghost town in Nye County.