Ophir Nevada

Ophir Nevada is a ghost town and Nevada State Historical Marker number sixty four and is located in Lander County, Nevada.

Ophir Canyon in the mid 1880's
Ophir Canyon in the mid 1880’s

In 1864, R. B. Canfield purchased the principal ledge, also known as the Murphy ledge. Canfield utilized the Twin River Mining Company to secure financing. A wagon road is constructed, in 1865, to the site from the Big Smokey Valley for a cost of $8,000 for the two and a half mile road. The steep route suffered from grades of 10 degrees and nine creek crossings are made with wooden bridges.

A Growing Town

The newly founded Toiyabe City has a population of 400 citizens and a tri-weekly stage from Austin brought in people and supplies for the mines. In 1886, a twenty stamp mill is constructed at great costs, from the natural granite and shale sourced in the area. The mill produced over $750,000 in silver in the next two years. Despite this seemingly high rate of production, the mines did not produce a profit, due to the unusually dense rock which slowed operations considerably.

During its heyday, Ophir Canyon boasted saloons, stores and hotels. A post office operated at the site from June 18, 1867 to December 5, 1893.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Well up into the canyon above, the massive stone foundations of a costly and splendid stamp mill as well as the stone walls of an elegant office and mansion are visible.  This is the site of Ophir, now a ghost town.

In 1863, S. Boulerond discovered ore at Ophir.  In 1864, the Murphy Mine opened and became the leading local producer.  In 1865, a 20-stamp mill was completed costing over $200,000.  This included the first experimental Stetefeldt furnace ever built.  When the Murphy Mill was built, the town of Toiyabe City was established, growing to a population of 400.  Through poor management, the work in the mines declined in 1869.  Ophir was almost deserted.  In the 1880s, the mines were reactivated, and Ophir had another period of prosperity.  By the 1890s, the town was deserted but some mining activity at the Murphy Mine continued sporadically into the 20th century.

More than $3,000,000 worth of gold and silver were mined from the Murphy vein and from surrounding properties.  Iron, copper and arsenic were also found in the area.

Ophir managed to have all the accouterments of a large community, including a school, a church, various lodges, and, of course, several saloons.


Nevada State Historic Marker Summary

NameOphir, Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.9385, -117.1971

Nevada State Historic Marker Map


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