Nicknamed “The Widowmaker”, Delamar, Nevada is a ghost town and gold mining town in Monkeywrench Wash, Lincoln County, Nevada. Prospectors and Farmers from Pahranagat, John Fergusen and Joseph Sharp officially discovered gold in 1889 around Monkeywrench Wash. This event lead to the founding of the Fergusen Mining District and a camp of that name was established. Initial assays ranged from $75 to $1000 per ton of gold ore. This was more than enough to attract the attention of investors.
Meanwhile, the camp grew and Furgusen, or “Golden City” was a small tent town located near the Monkeywrench mine. The tent city of Helene was founded near the Magnolia Mine, and published a news paper, the The Fergusen Lode. A Post Office was opened in 1892.
De Lamar arrives
Dutch-American businessman Joseph Raphael De Lamar, an investor our of Montana, purchase the principal claims in 1983 for $150,000. He renamed the Fergusen district to Delamar, an obvious rework of this name. De Lamar founded three towns, one each in Idaho, Nevada and California, all of which bare his name. De Lamars investment centralized the people of the area and soon the smaller tent cities closed. The Furgusen Load was remaned to “The Delamar Load” in June 1894 and a post office was founded at the new town site later the same year.
The new town grew fast and by 1895 hosted more than 1500 residents. The citizens enjoyed an opera house, hospital, several churches, schools and a variety of saloons. Many of the towns structures are built from nearby rock. A new mill was processing up to 260 tons of gold ore each day by the end of 1896.
The town and mines of Delamar were the premiere mines of Nevada from 1895 to 1900. The town developed a second cyanide plant to aide in gold production in 1987. This plant was capable of processing 400 tons per day of gold rich ore.
A 900 feet deep well failed to produce failed a source of water for the down. As a result, two pipes were run 12 miles to Meadow Valley Wash and brought the water up 1500 in elevation to supply the town with water. Supplies were packed into Delamar from Milford, Utah, a distance of over 150 miles.
The town was nicknamed the Widow Maker. Poor Ventalation within the dry process mills produce a silica dust. This airborne dust drifted in the air within the mines and mills. The mine works would breathe this dust in and develop a fatal illness, silicosis. “Delamar Dust” and the town became known as “The Maker of Widows”. Despite this public warning, there was no shortage of miners, whom made just $3 / day.
There were an estimated 400 widows in Delamar, which for a population of 3000, in 1897, was quite high.
In the spring of 1900, fire destroyed about half of the town. Two years later, De Lamar divested his holding in his mines after they produced $8.5 million. The town still ranked high in the state gold production race. Despite this fact, the last major mine was closed in 1909 and the town collapsed.