Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues in the modern era, what is the true distance between the ghost towns?

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain an unofficial rivalry that continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and Aurora, NV boomed with the gold rush of the 1870s and busted just years later when the gold ran out and faded into history.  Miners, merchants, and people would undoubtedly moved either direction between the two cities and with good fortune would undoubtedly talk down the previous city.  Such is human nature, but why would this rivalry continue long past the demise of both towns?

 

Bodie, CA -2016

Bodie, CA -2016

Continue Reading →

Downeyville, Nevada

Downeyville is an old mining camp and ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada.  In May 1877 silver-lead discoveries in the area caused a large influx of start up mining camps and development.  Most of a local site, Ellsworth, made the journey to the yet to be named location.  So many people made the trip, that frequently, they were greeted with no accommodations and would be forced to sleep outside or camp.

The town of Downeyville was founded in 1878 and had a populationsof 200 men, stores, stables, Wells Fargo Express, saloons and stage lines.  A post office was added in March of 1879 and the town was named after the first postmaster, P. Downey.  By 1881 ore was shipped to the nearby Carson & Colorado railroad for processing, until a lead smelter was constructed several years later.  Like many boom towns, Downeyville passed into history with the next big discovery and by 1901 the post office was discontinued.

Continue Reading →

Marietta, Nevada

F.M "Borax" Smith

F.M “Borax” Smith

Located at 4947 feet above sea level, Marietta was formally established in 1877 near Teel’s Marsh and is now a ghost town in Mineral County, Nevada.   F.M. “Borax” Smith a silver and gold prospector, found his place in the world, when he established a borax works in Teel’s Marsh in 1872.

Soon after the town was founded, the populations swelled to several hundred people, however exact figures are unknown due to inaccurate record keeping among the Chinese populations who worked in the borax plant.  The town soon boasted 13 saloons, a post office and several stores.

The town had a rowdy image and due to its remote location made it an easy target for robbers, and for criminals to run free.  At one point in the 1880 the stage was reported robbed 30 times.  Continue Reading →

Rawhide, Nevada

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, Nevada

Rawhide, Nevada 1915

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.

Continue Reading →

Broken Hills, Nevada

George Graham Rice

George Graham Rice

Broken Hills, Nevada is more a descriptive term than the name of a town.  Broken Hills began life in 1913 when two Englishmen, Joseph Arthur and James Stratford prospected the site and gold was found in the area.  After five years of effert, the founders of Broken Hills pulled only $68,000 of gold.  The two men sold their claim to George Graham Rice.

Born Jacob Herzig, George Graham Rice appears to have been a ruthless self promoter with a get rick quick financial strategy and a criminal history for forging checks.  The self serving Mr. Rice promoted the Arthur and Stratford mine, and sold shares of the property.  Mr. Rice is said to have invested $75,000 of stockholder money into the mine and produced revenues of only $7,000.

Continue Reading →