Hamilton Nevada

Hamilton is a small ghost town located in White Pine County, Nevada, in the western United States. Despite its current state, the town has a rich and fascinating history. Hamilton, originally known as “Cave City,” was established in 1868 by prospectors searching for silver in the surrounding mountains. The town was renamed Hamilton in honor of a prominent local businessman, W. A. Hamilton, who helped finance the development of the area.

Main Street in Hamilton, Nevada, 1869 showing the two-story Withington Hotel,
Main Street in Hamilton, Nevada, 1869 showing the two-story Withington Hotel,

During its peak, Hamilton was a bustling town with a population of over 2,000 people. The town had several hotels, saloons, stores, and a post office. It also had a school, a church, and a theater, which hosted traveling shows and performances. The town’s main industry was mining, and several mines operated in the area, including the Hamilton, Treasure City, and Ward mines.

In the late 19th century, Hamilton was a prosperous town, and its residents enjoyed a good quality of life. However, in the early 20th century, the town began to decline as the mines ran out of ore and the price of silver fell. Many of the town’s residents left in search of better opportunities, and the town’s population dwindled.

During World War II, Hamilton briefly experienced a resurgence as the demand for minerals increased. The town’s mines were reopened, and new mining techniques were introduced. However, after the war, the demand for minerals declined, and the mines were once again closed.

By the 1950s, Hamilton was virtually abandoned, and most of its buildings had fallen into disrepair. However, the town’s history and architecture attracted the attention of preservationists, and efforts were made to restore some of the buildings. In 1961, the Hamilton Ghost Town was established, and the remaining buildings were preserved as a tourist attraction.

The Smoky Mill, built in 1869 for $60m000 was at the east end of Hamilton, receiving ore from Treasure hill
The Smoky Mill, built in 1869 for $60m000 was at the east end of Hamilton, receiving ore from Treasure hill

Today, Hamilton is a popular destination for tourists interested in Nevada’s mining history. Visitors can explore the town’s preserved buildings, including the schoolhouse, the jail, and the saloon. The town’s cemetery, which dates back to the late 19th century, is also a popular attraction.

In recent years, Hamilton has been the subject of several documentaries and books, which have helped to raise awareness of its history. The town’s abandoned buildings and desolate surroundings provide a glimpse into Nevada’s past and remind us of the hardships and challenges faced by those who settled and worked in the area.

Hamilton, Nevada, may be a ghost town today, but its history and legacy live on. The town’s story is a reminder of the boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized Nevada’s mining industry and the resilience of the people who lived and worked in the area. Hamilton is a testament to the human spirit and a valuable piece of Nevada’s history that should be preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

Hamilton Nevada Town Summary

NameHamilton Nevada
LocationWhite Pine county, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2529, -115.4864
Elevation2456 meters / 8058 feet
NewspaperInland Empire Mar 27, 1869 – Apr 10, 1870; Oct 4 – Nov 9, 1870
Nevada State Historic Marker No53
Nevada State Historic Marker Lat/Long39.3535, -115.3946

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Hamilton Nevada is Nevada State Historic Marker number fifty three.

The mines of the White Pine district were first established in 1865.  Between 1868 and 1875, they supported many thriving towns including Hamilton, Eberhardt, Treasure City, and Shermantown.  These communities, now all ghost towns, are clustered eleven miles south of this point.

Hamilton and its neighbors thrived as a result of large-scale silver discoveries in 1868.  Experiencing one of the most intense, but shortest-lived silver stampedes ever recorded, the years 1868-1869 saw some 10,000 people living in huts and caves on Treasure Hill at Mount Hamilton, at an elevation of 8,000 to 10,500 feet above sea level.

Hamilton was incorporated in 1869 and became the first county seat of White Pine County that same year.  It was disincorporated in 1875.  In this brief span of time, a full-sized town came into bloom with a main street and all the usual businesses.  Mine brick courthouse was constructed in 1870.

On June 27, 1873, the main portion of the town was destroyed by fire.  The town never fully recovered.  In 1885, another fire burned the courthouse and caused the removal of the White Pine County seat to Ely.


Trail Map


One Reply to “Hamilton Nevada”

  1. Pingback: Palisade Nevada - Destination4x4

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.