Rawhide Nevada

Rawhide, Nevada. 1908.
Rawhide, Nevada. 1908.

Rawhide Nevada was a mining town in Mineral County. The town site is located approximately 55 miles south of Fallon, and 22 miles down a dirt road south of highway 50.  The town was founded in 1906 when gold and silver deposits were discovered by prospector Jim Swanson in the hills surrounding Rawhide.  Charles  B. Holman and Charles “Scotty” A. McLeod soon join him and also found gold on nearby Holligan Hill.

Rawhide, Nevada - 1915
Rawhide, Nevada – 1915

Rawhide is an example of a town that existed on the promise and promotion of gold rather than the production of gold.    Fueled by rampant speculation the population swelled.  Rawhide boasts four churches, three banks, twelve hotels, twenty eight restaurants, thirty seven saloons, a theater and a school to support a population of 7,000 in 1908.  However, the over promise and under delivery of gold doomed the town, at its glory began to fade.

The city of Rawhide was already in decline, when in September 1908 a fire tore through the town.  In August 1909 the town flooded and destroyed much of the town as described in this excerpt from a Colorado newspaper.

Sept. 4, 1908. Devastating fire in Rawhide Nevada. Over $1 million in property damage and thousands were left homeless.
Sept. 4, 1908. Devastating fire in Rawhide Nevada. Over $1 million in property damage and thousands were left homeless.

NEVADA TOWN SWEPT FROM MAP BY CLOUDBURST

Ten-Foot Wall of Water Overwhelms Squattertown, Near Rawhide, in the Night.

SIX REPORTED MISSING

300 Families Rendered Homeless and Property Piled in Tangled Heap by the Flood.

Rawhide, Nev., Aug. 31.  “Squattertown”, a settlement just south of Rawhide, was swept by a ten-foot wall of water, following a cloudburst in the hills to the north tonight, and 130 buildings were partially or completely destroyed.

It is reported that two women and four children are missing, but up to a late hour tonight it was impossible to obtain verification of this report.
The cloudburst occurred on the summit of the low hills to the north of the camp. In a few moments a three-foot wall of water was pouring down the slope, covering the three miles from the summit to Main street with the speed of a railway train. The flood rushed into the street, which lies in a hollow and forms a general drainage canal, and every business house on the east side was flooded to a depth of from one to four feet.
Several structures were torn from their foundations and floated some distance down the street, while the crest of the flood was covered with furniture, animals and debris.

Gathering force as is poured down the channel, the flood swept into and over Squattertown, half a mile further down. The water formed a wall 10 feet high as it crashed into the frame structures, inhabited for the most part by miners and their families, and buildings were overturned and demolished at the first blow.

Darkness had fallen and the worst of devastation went on in the night.
Before the wave had passed 500 persons were homeless and their property piled up a tangled heap in the basin at the foot of National hill.
Several daring rescues were made. Mrs. Hobeloff and her two children clung to the wreckage of their home as it floated down the street and were rescued by Emil Gutt and P. R. Whyteck.

The Fountain Bar, a saloon located in a small frame building was swept from its foundations and carried five blocks down the street to be landed high and dry on a low bank, with its fixtures little disturbed.

Colorado Spring Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO 1 Sept 1909

Streets of Rawhide, Nevada 1908
Streets of Rawhide, Nevada 1908

The town survived but was never the same.  The twin tragedies gave the citizens more than enough reason to leave and the over promise of gold gave them little reason to stay.  In 1941 the post office closed and the town ceased to be.  Mining is still alive and well in Nevada, and sadly a modern mining operation has destroyed the town site.

Rawhide Trail Map

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Rawhide Nevada

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Rawhide Nevada 39.016600, -118.391000 Rawhide Nevada

Chloride City California

Chloride City California is located within Death Valley National Park and Inyo County, California. The town arose out of silver discoveries in nearby Chloride Cliff in 1873 and is one of the earliest of the Death Valley mines.

The first road through Death Valley was constructed from Chloride City, California to San Bernardino, California which was the nearest town 180 miles away. In the 1870’s ore was shipped out using trains of pack mules which would return carrying food and supplies to the camp. The mines of this small community struggled on for a few years, but by 1880 no mines were producing and everybody had moved on.

Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915
Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915

The nearby Bullfrog, Nevada, gold discovery excitement of 1904 brought in new capital. The Chloride Cliff Mine was bought by investors in nearby Rhyolite and re-opened in 1908. Sufficient ore was produced in subsequent years to warrant the construction of a cyanide mill in 1916. By 1918 the camp was deserted again.

The ghost town contains numerous adits, dumps and the grave of James McKay, of whom nothing is known. The town also holds the remains of three stamp mills.

Chloride City Trail Map

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Chloride City

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Chloride City 36.706600, -116.882000 Chloride City California

Potosi Nevada

Potosi Nevada is the oldest load mine in Nevada and the town site is located just off highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada.  The site was started in 1856 by some Mormon prospectors who were lead to the location with the help of a Piute guide.  The Mormons found the site in April 1856 and a month latter it was named Potosi after the boyhood home of Nathaniel Jones.  They did not begin mining until August after a return trip to Utah for supplies.  

Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi
Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi

By September, the first wagon of ore sent back to Utah for trading and three months later three wagons returned with supplies including bellows, furnace, and hearths among other things.  On Christmas day 1856, an crude adobe furnace was used to smelt ore.

In the spring of 1861, a larger smelter was setup by the Colorado Mining Company at the Potosi Spring.  News of new silver mine spread all over the west in no time.  The town of Potosi was setup 700 feet below of the Potosi Mine or the Las Vegas Silver Mines as they were called and was soon home to 100 miners.

The site continued to slowly grow and develop until 1906.  In 1913 the Empire Zinc Company purchased the rights and was soon Potosi was Nevada’s largest producer of Zinc.  After nearly 100 years of production Potosi produced about 4.5 million in lead, silver and zinc.

Potosi Nevada Mine and Townsite Trailmap

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Potosi Nevada

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Potosi Nevada 35.966900, -115.542000 Potosi Nevada

Marietta Nevada

Located at 4947 feet above sea level, Marietta was formally established in 1877 near Teel’s Marsh and is now a ghost town in Mineral County, Nevada.   F.M. “Borax” Smith a silver and gold prospector, found his place in the world, when he established a borax works in Teel’s Marsh in 1872.

Francis “Borax” Marion Smith prospected the Marietta Nevada Area
Francis “Borax” Marion Smith prospected the Marietta Nevada Area

Soon after the town was founded, the populations swelled to several hundred people, however exact figures are unknown due to inaccurate record keeping among the Chinese populations who worked in the borax plant.  The town soon boasted 13 saloons, a post office and several stores.

The town had a rowdy image and due to its remote location made it an easy target for robbers, and for criminals to run free.  At one point in the 1880 the stage was reported robbed 30 times. 

In the 1880’s due to increased demand for borax,  Borax Smith relocate is Marietta location down south to larger deposits found in Death Valley.  This moved singled the end of Marietta due to the loss of its biggest industry and by the early 1900s the town was virtually dead.  The was a period resurgence when other mining concerns prospected the area.

Marietta is currently located on BLM land.

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Marietta Nevada

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Marietta Nevada 38.243300, -118.339000 Marietta Nevada

Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues to this day

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain, the Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and Aurora, NV boomed with the gold rush of the 1870s and busted just years later when the gold ran out and faded into history.  Miners, merchants, and people would undoubtedly moved either direction between the two cities and with good fortune would undoubtedly talk down the previous city.  Such is human nature, but why would this rivalry continue long past the demise of both towns?

The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun
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