Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps

Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps - By Stanley W. Paher
Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps – By Stanley W. Paher

Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps is a wonderful book written by Stanley W. Paher and published by Nevada Publications. The book is Copyright 1970 and contains 492 pages of “Brillantly illustrated with 700 historic and modern photographs; with numerous maps, complete index, appendix and bibliography.” This book contains information and stories from more than 575 mining sites and ghost towns in Nevada.

My copy of this book was purchased by my father for $15 at a thrift store. The pages are dog eared and well worn and covered in yellow post-it notes for later reference. The book is wonderfully organized, the source of a lot of great information about the early days of Nevada mining. The stories, photographs paint a fantastic picture of the rough and rugged individuals who settled my new home state. In many ways, the enjoyment and knowledge that I have, is based and builds upon the great work of Mr. Paher.

Stanley Paher grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and jeeped thousands of miles over the rough roads of back country Nevada. He graduated from Sacramento State with a B.A. in English. He continued his educations at the University of Nevada, where, in 1969 he earned a Masters Degree in Political Science.

The book is available for purchase from Amazon and quite a hefty price on this writing, however you can find it much cheaper at various other online stores.

Anyone who is at all interested in ghost towns, mining or Nevada history really needs a copy of this book in his/her library.

ISBN-13: 978-0913814048

ISBN-10: 0913814040

Additional Reading

Potosi Nevada

Potosi Nevada is the oldest load mine in Nevada and the town site is located just off highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada.  The site was started in 1856 by some Mormon prospectors who were lead to the location with the help of a Piute guide.  The Mormons found the site in April 1856 and a month latter it was named Potosi after the boyhood home of Nathaniel Jones.  They did not begin mining until August after a return trip to Utah for supplies.  

Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi
Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi

By September, the first wagon of ore sent back to Utah for trading and three months later three wagons returned with supplies including bellows, furnace, and hearths among other things.  On Christmas day 1856, an crude adobe furnace was used to smelt ore.

In the spring of 1861, a larger smelter was setup by the Colorado Mining Company at the Potosi Spring.  News of new silver mine spread all over the west in no time.  The town of Potosi was setup 700 feet below of the Potosi Mine or the Las Vegas Silver Mines as they were called and was soon home to 100 miners.

The site continued to slowly grow and develop until 1906.  In 1913 the Empire Zinc Company purchased the rights and was soon Potosi was Nevada’s largest producer of Zinc.  After nearly 100 years of production Potosi produced about 4.5 million in lead, silver and zinc.

Potosi Nevada Mine and Townsite Trailmap

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Nelson Nevada and Eldorado Canyon

Rock spires carved by erosion located in Eldorado Canyon, Nelson, Nevada.
Rock spires carved by erosion located in Eldorado Canyon, Nelson, Nevada.

The ghost town of Nelson, Nevada, which is located in Eldorado Canyon along Lake Mojave, is a quaint destination which offers the visitor a brief glimpse into the past.

History

El Dorado Canyon has a long and storied mining history which includes 150 years of mining activities by Native Americans, Spanish Explorers and Mormons prior to 1861. In 1863, miners from nearby Potosi flooded the area and established four town sites in the narrow canyon, the establishment of which caused some excitement on the western coast.

Many structures are still standing, Nelson, Nevada.
Many structures are still standing, Nelson, Nevada.

In 1864, near the mouth of Eldorado canyon a ten-stamp stamp mile is built. This despite a six month lead time for supplied to arrive in the remote location. At the time, Eldorado canyon was part of the Arizona territory and the Eldorado mill was the first in the Arizona territory.

As the town grew, in 1865 the town added a post office. However the area was a rough camp with the nearest law about 300 miles away. Vigilantes dispensed justice to those who crossed the line.

Founded in 1905 Nelson, Nevada is located some seven miles west at the head of Eldorado Canyon. The town of Nelson slumped for two decades beginning in 1909, but the 1930’s found a resurgence in gold production. By 1941, the three cyanide mills processed 220 tons of ore daily. The population reached 600 persons, however increased costs caused the gold production to slow and eventually cease. The Techatticip mine produced over half of the total gold produced in the area. The gold produced by the region has an estimated valued at $10,000,000.00.

In 1951, Davis Damn is completed. The original town site in Eldorado canyon was buried and drowned by the rising waters of Lake Mojave.

A visitors center and store are open to those who travel here.  Nelson, Nevada
A visitors center and store are open to those who travel here. Nelson, Nevada

Today

Today, the town of Nelson hosts some 37 people in the 2010 census. The older section of town hosts many old buildings, ruins, cars, mining equipment and all in all is an eclectic collection of mining and western history. The current occupants have a wonderful collection of old mining gear and western history, mixed with an eclectic collection of art.

Nelson, Nevada

The town was recently used as a movie set, and the a tour of the town is available to those interested.

Nelson, Nevada is a quiet destination worthy of a few hours if you are in the area.
Nelson, Nevada is a quiet destination worthy of a few hours if you are in the area.

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Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA
A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils and can be reached using the White Mountain Road.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

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St Thomas Nevada

Founded in 1865 when Brigham Young sent settles to the confluence of the Virgin River and Muddy Rivers.  St Thomas Nevada remained a Mormon settlement until 1871 when a surveying correction placed the town in Nevada.   When the Mormons abandoned the area, other settlers claimed the property.  St Thomas used to served as a pit stop for travelers between Los Angeles, California and Salt Lake City, Utah using along the old Arrow Highway (US 91).

St Thomas Ghost Town is accessible with lower water levels in Lake Mead, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
St Thomas Ghost Town is accessible with lower water levels in Lake Mead, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

The United States Federal Government “purchased” the land as part of the Hoover Dam project.  In actuality, there were multiple suits as the residents of St. Thomas raise complaints about the amount the federal government was paying for their land.  In time, the residence lost and the entire town was doomed to its destiny and the water of Lake Mead continued to rise.

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