Ophir Canyon Nevada

Ophir Canyon is a ghost town from the 1880s and located about 3.5 miles west of State Route 8A north of State Route 92, in Nye County, Nevada. The town began life as Toiyabe City when silver is discovered by a French prospector Boulrand in 1863. Boulrand managed to keeps his find quiet for a year, secreting provisions into the site by night. His secret is finally exposed when he confided his good fortune to countryman on a trip to Austin.

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

The principal ledge, known as the Murphy is purchased by R. B. Canfield in 1864 and the Twin River Mining Company is organized 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.

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. A twenty stamp mill is constructed from natural granite and shale in 1866. The mill produced over $750,000 in silver in the next two years. Despite this, 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.

Well up into the canyon out yonder, one can still see the massive stone foundations of a costly and splendid stamp mill, as well as the stone walls of an elegant office and mansion. Here was the scene of a once busy place, now a ghost town.

Ore was discovered there in 1865 by S. Boulerond and his compatriots. In 1864, the Murphy mine was discovered and became the leading producer; a mining district was organized. During 1865, a 20-stamp mill was completed costing over $200,000. Connected with it was the first experimental Stetefeldt furnace ever built. When the Murphy mill was built, a town was started and it grew to a population of 400, but work in the mines declined in the 1870’s, and Ophir became almost deserted. In the 1880’s, the mines were reactivated, and Ophir had another period of prosperity. By the 1890’s the town was deserted, but some mining activity at the Murphy mine continued sporadically into the 20th century.

Over $2 million 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–school, church, various lodges and, of course, several saloons.

Nevada Historic Marker
The Murphy Mine and Shaft House in Ophir Canyon, Nevada
The Murphy Mine and Shaft House in Ophir Canyon, Nevada

Town Summary

NameOphir Nevada
Also Known AsTwin River, Toiyabe City
LocationNye County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.944444, -117.276667
Elevation2,479 meters / 8,134 feet
GNIS860839
Population400
Post Office June 18, 1867 – December 5, 1893

Town Map

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