Oreana Nevada

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.

 Smelting Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca. 1857 by Timothy H. O'Sullivan - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Smelting Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca. 1857 by Timothy H. O’Sullivan – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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.

Montezuma Silver Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca 1857 by Timothy H. O'Sullivan - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Montezuma Silver Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca 1857 by Timothy H. O’Sullivan – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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

NameOreana Nevada
LocationPershing County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude40.310833, -118.370556
GNIS
Elevation4160 Feet
Post OfficeFebruary 1867 – July 1869
February 1870 – September 1873
October 1873 – March 1883

Oreana Map

References

Darwin California

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.

The Darwin Store run by Reynolds and Etcharren Partners, 1906.  |  Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern California Museum.
The Darwin Store run by Reynolds and Etcharren Partners, 1906. | Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern California Museum.

Darwin 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

NameDarwin, California
LocationInyo County, California
Latitude, Longitude36.268056 -117.591667
Elvation4,790 ft ( 1460 m )
GNIS241269
Population3500
Post OfficeOpen
NewspaperCoso Mining News ( Nov. 6, 1875 – Sept. 4, 1878 )

Darwin Town Map

Resources

Johntown Nevada

Located in Gold Canyon between Silver City and Dayton, Johntown Nevada is the first ghost town in Lyon county. None of the buildings are currently standing to mark the site of the original workings. The camp was started as a placer mining operation just off of the road in Gold Canyon in the early 1850s. The initial camp started when James Fenemore setup his tent in the side of the hill and started washing gravel for gold.

Placer mining, 1880s, in Gold Canyon. The original site of Johntown mining settlement , south of Silver, City Nevada - Stanley W. Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, Howell North, 1970, p 70. courtesy of Nevada Historical Society
Placer mining, 1880s, in Gold Canyon. The original site of Johntown mining settlement , south of Silver, City Nevada – Stanley W. Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, Howell North, 1970, p 70. courtesy of Nevada Historical Society
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Hedges California

Previously known as Tumco, Hedges California is a ghost town and former mining town located in Imperial County, California along the Tumco Wash in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. The Hedges Cemetery is located just out of town to the north east.

[Circa 1905] Tumco Historic Mining Town, California - Hedges California
[Circa 1905] Tumco Historic Mining Town, California – Hedges California
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Potholes California

Potholes California is a former gold mining camp and ghost town located in Imperial County, California. The town is located on the western side of the Colorado River near the present day Laguna Dam. The location was first mined by Spanish Miners in 1871. These early workings and miners were lost during the Yuma War, 1850 – 1853.

Potholes California
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