Rawhide was a mining town 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 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.
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
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.