Potholes California – Colorado River Streamship Landing

Potholes California is a former gold mining camp and ghost town located in Imperial County, California. The town is located on the western side of the Colorado River near the present day Laguna Dam. The location was first mined by Spanish Miners in 1871. These early workings and miners were lost during the Yuma War, 1850 – 1853.

Potholes California
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Callville Nevada – Colorado River Steamship Landing

Callville Nevada is a ghost town and Colorado River Steamboat port, which is now submerged below the waters of Lake Mead. Bishop Anson Call founded and established a colony and warehouse on the Colorado River at the direction of the Mormon Leader Brigham Young. The settlement was located about 15 miles up river from the location of the future site of Hoover Damn.

  Call's Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 - Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Call’s Landing or Callville looking toward the west as it appeared in 1926 – Photo courtesy of R. F. Perkins
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890
Bishop Anson Call, Mormon Colonizer, May 13, 1810 – August 31, 1890

Callville was established on December 2, 1864 when Anson Call arrived on a small bluff over looking the Colorado River in the Arizona Territory. The settlement was located at the conjunction of the later named Callville wash and the Colorado River.

The founding of the settlement was the churches effort to expand trade routes and European immigration into Utah from the south. The small portgage and landing site was one of several along the Colorado including St. Thomas, Saint Joseph, Overton, West Point, Mill Point ( Simonsville ) and Rioville.

During the Civil War, the army of the United States garrisoned at the site, to protect the Colorado River Steamboats and serve as a landing point for army. In December 1865, the outpost had the honor to become the county seat for Pah-Ute County, Arizona Territory. The station was short lived and transferred to St Thomas just two years later.

In 1869, the army garrison was removed. Following the war, Congress redrew some of the state boundaries and the settlement in the Arizona Territory is moved to Nevada. From 1866 to 1878, the landing at Callville was the High Water of Navigation for steamboat traffic on the Colorado River, which is 408 miles from Fort Yuma. The town was abandoned in June 1869 when the Steamships discontinued service to the site.

Today, the town lies in under 400 feet of water. However, the water levels in Lake Mead are at an all time low, and St. Thomas is currently above water.

“Take a suitable company, locate a road to the Colorado, explore the river, find a suitable place for a warehouse, build it, and form a settlement at or near the landing.” 

Brigham Young instructing Anson Call, 1864

Town Summary

LocationCallville
LocationLake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.1133128, -114.6888720
GNIS863773
Other Common NamesCall’s Fort, Old Callville

Callville Map

Resources

Rioville Nevada – Colorado Steamship Landing

Founded in 1865, Rioville, Nevada was founded by Daniel Bonelli at the confluence of the Virgin River and the Colorado River. Bonelli was a Mormon settler who was sent to the area by Brigham Young. The town is long since drowned in the rising waters of Lake Mead.

Rioville, Nevada also known as Bonelli's Landing, circa 1900
Rioville, Nevada also known as Bonelli’s Landing, circa 1900

Originally known as Junction City, the small crossing of Stone’s ferry was purchase by Bonelli in 1870. Stone’s ferry was renamed Bonelli’s Ferry for its new owner, and the ferry crossing was moved to Junction City which was about two miles down river. In 1871, the site was abandoned by its settlers.

In 1880, a second wave of settlers arrived and the town was renamed to Rioville. The ferry was pulled over the river by a man with a rope line. It cost $10.00 to cross, which included a wagon and 2 persons with an additional charge $0.50 for each additional person. A post office was founded in 1881 and operated until 1906

The original ferry boat at Bonelli's Landing - 1890
The original ferry boat at Bonelli’s Landing – 1890

On July 8, 1879, the steamboat Gila, piloted by Captain Jack Mellon, made Rioville the uppermost landing for steamboats of the Colorado River. The arrival made the town high water head of navigation on the Colorado River and Captain Mellon finally proved that it was indeed the head of steam navigation on the Colorado River. The
Mormon population in town were “wonder-struck” to see a steamboat; one proclaimed it the “biggest thing he ever saw in water.”

Steamboats continued to traffic high up the Colorado River until 1887 when silver mining activity declined during high water months. The town was service from 1879 to 1882 the the sloop Sou’Wester during low water, carried locally mined salt to process silver ore in El Dorado Canyon. From 1869 to 1887, the landing at Rioville was the High Water of Navigation for steamboat traffic on the Colorado River, which was 440 miles from Fort Yuma.

The town was abandoned in the 1890s but the post office lingered to 1906 and the ferry until 1934. The rising waters of Lake Mead, caused by the construction of Hoover Damn drowned the location in water.

Town Summary

NameRioville, Nevada
LocationUnderwater Lake Mead, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.1502603, -114.3994176
GNIS849516
Post Office 1881-1906
StatusVery Wet
Also known asJunction City, Junctionville

Town Map

Resources

Nelson Nevada and Eldorado Canyon – Clark County Ghost Town

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

The Southwest Mining Company Quartz mill located just off the Colorado River.
The Southwest Mining Company Quartz mill located just off the Colorado River.

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.

The steamboat Mohave departing the landing in El Dorado Canyon.
The steamboat Mohave departing the landing in El Dorado Canyon.

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.

Mill in Eldorado Canyon, circa 1890
Mill in Eldorado Canyon, circa 1890

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.

Nelson and El Dorado trail map