Potosi Nevada

Potosi Nevada is the oldest lode 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.  

Potosi mine, south center of sec. 12, T. 23 S., R. 57 E., the mine workings explore a zone at the base of the Yellowpine limestone. Clark County, Nevada. Circa 1921. Plate 33-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Professional paper 162. 1931.
Potosi mine, south center of sec. 12, T. 23 S., R. 57 E., the mine workings explore a zone at the base of the Yellowpine limestone. Clark County, Nevada. Circa 1921. Plate 33-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Professional paper 162. 1931.

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.

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

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.

Town Summary

NamePotosi
LocationClark County, Nevada
GNIS849366
Latitude, Longitude35.9708047, -115.5408395
Elevation5705
Population100
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Anniversary Mine and Narrows

The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool.  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

The Anniversary Mine and Narrows trail is truly a fun place to go and the location has a little bit of everything. This is a very short side trail found off the northern shore of Lake Mead and suitable for almost any vehicle.

Located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Anniversary Mine was founded in 1921.  The colomanite mine operated at seven years until 1928 and produced an estimation 200,000 tons of ore.  The mine is located a short ways off North Shore Road (167).  There exist some foundations, and tunnels along with some minor infrastructure of the operation.

The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool.  Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The narrows near the Anniversary Mine are a fun place to hike and keep cool. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

Should you drive down into the wash you have the opportunity to continue on to the left, or you can turn right and drive towards the mine narrows located at the end of the canyon.  The only obstacle is right at the beginning and and easy to get past with some clearance. Once past the trail is just a wash, but do yourself a favor.  Park the 4×4 and take the time to walk it. Just past the beginning obstacle, there are some tunnels about 20 feet up on the side of the canyon wall, which are fun hike up to and explore.

Leaving the side trail from the Anniversary Mine, Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Leaving the side trail from the Anniversary Mine, Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

There are things to explore all along the route to the narrows and it is a great excuse the get out of the truck.  The slot canyon is about 1/4 of a mile in length and a bit tight in the few places. This is a nice place to hike on a hot day.

Anniversary Mine 4×4 Trail and Destination

Goodsprings Nevada

Goodsprings, Nevada is locate about seven miles west of the I-15 near Jean, Nevada.  Mining activity in the area started in 1868 when a group of prospectors formed the New England district and since renamed the Yellow Pine.  Early efforts where soon abandoned due to the lack of silver in the ore.  The prospectors soon moved on, and Joe Good remained and the local springs were named for him.  In 1886, several prospectors from Utah came into the area and founded a permanent site which still exists today.

Goodsprings, Nevada - 1924
Goodsprings, Nevada – 1924

In 1892, the Keystone gold mine was discovered and established during an increase in activity due to the completion of the Nevada Southern Railways from Goffs, CA to Manvel.    The Keystone mine remained active until 1906 and produced some $600,000 in gold before closing.

An old water tower located inside Goodspings, Nevada
An old water tower located inside Goodspings, Nevada

1901 saw the consolidation of several mines into the Yellow Pine Mining Co.  Only the highest grade ore made it cost effective to deliver to the railroad in Manvel, some 45 miles away from the site.  In 1905, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake railroad was completed to Jean, Nevada which shortened the distance to deliver down to 7 miles.  Mining activity continued to flourish with improved mining technique, higher mineral costs and lowered delivery costs all of which lean to a peak in production between 1915 and 1918.  During this time the site boasted 800 souls, several stores, a post office, hotel, hospital and a weekly paper.  As with many towns, mining production and profitability waned and the population fell.

The Pioneer Saloon located in Goodsprings, Nevada is still open and quite busy
The Pioneer Saloon located in Goodsprings, Nevada is still open and quite busy

Goodsprings Mines

  • Alice Mine
  • Argentina Mine
  • Belle Mine
  • Columbia Mine
  • Cosmopolitan Mine
  • Fredrickson Mine
  • Green Copper Mine
  • Hermosa Mine
  • Hoosier Mine
  • Iron gold Mine
  • Lookout Mine
  • Keystone Mine
  • Lavina Mine
  • Middlesex Mine
  • Surprise Mine
  • Table Top Mine
  • Yellow Pine
The mill site located just outside of Goodsprings, Nevada
The mill site located just outside of Goodsprings, Nevada

Goodsprings Nevada Trailmap

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

Echo Bay Campground

Echo Bay Campground is in Lake Mead NRA
Lake Mead NRA

Echo Bay Campground is located on the shores of the Lake Mead National close to Lake Mead’s Overton Arm and is found about 3 miles east of Highway 167. The campground is organized into two sections, an upper and lower campground. The lower campground is about 3/4 miles closer to the water and consists of 34 campsites. The larger upper campground consists of 112 campsites and located about 1.5 miles from Lake Mead. The lake levels are lower at this point in time, so these distances may vary.

Both campgrounds have sites which contain tables, fire rings and grate. The campgrounds also have bathroom facilities with showers, flush toilets and water.

The campgrounds offers all of the activities associated with Lake Mead including hiking, fishing, boating etc… There are a few small beaches to enjoy the shoreline a the lake. A boat ramp offers launch facilities for those who are inclined to fish for some the the lakes bass. For those of use so inclined St Thomas Nevada is in the area.

Campground Summary

NameEcho Bay Campground
LocationLake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.308159, -114.430389
Elevation1230 feet (Lower)
1320 feet (Upper)
Number of sites146
AmenitiesTables, Fire Rings, Water, Flush Toilets, Showers

Campground Map

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