Ophir NSHM Nevada State Historic Marker #64

Ophir NSHM 64 is Nevada State Historical Marker number sixty four and is located in Lander County, Nevada.

Ophir Canyon in the mid 1880's
Ophir Canyon in the mid 1880’s

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Ophir NSHM 64 Text

Well up into the canyon above, the massive stone foundations of a costly and splendid stamp mill as well as the stone walls of an elegant office and mansion are visible.  This is the site of Ophir, now a ghost town.

In 1863, S. Boulerond discovered ore at Ophir.  In 1864, the Murphy Mine opened and became the leading local producer.  In 1865, a 20-stamp mill was completed costing over $200,000.  This included the first experimental Stetefeldt furnace ever built.  When the Murphy Mill was built, the town of Toiyabe City was established, growing to a population of 400.  Through poor management, the work in the mines declined in 1869.  Ophir was almost deserted.  In the 1880s, the mines were reactivated, and Ophir had another period of prosperity.  By the 1890s, the town was deserted but some mining activity at the Murphy Mine continued sporadically into the 20th century.

More than $3,000,000 worth of gold and silver were mined from the Murphy vein and from surrounding properties.  Iron, copper and arsenic were also found in the area.

Ophir managed to have all the accouterments of a large community, including a school, a church, various lodges, and, of course, several saloons.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER NO.  64
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
CENTRAL NEVADA REDEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION

Ophir NSHM Marker Summary

ID64
NameOphir, Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.93854,-117.19713

Ophir NSHM Map

References

Galena Nevada – Lander County Ghost Town

Galena Nevada was a silver mining from 1869 to 1907 and currently a ghost town located just just a west of highway 305 south of Battle Mountain, in Lander County, Nevada. The discovery of Silver at the head of Galena Canyon first lead miners in the area in 1863. Following the silver discovery three years later, in 1866, a mining camp forms to prospect the land.

Galena Nevada in the 1960's - Paher
Galena Nevada in the 1960’s – Paher

In 1869, the townsite of Galena is plotted and originally located in Humboldt County. Daily stage service from nearby Battle Mountain delivered peoples and supplies to the small town. The town grew in size and citizens by the month. The town boasts a park plaza, water system, public hall, schools, and a post office is started in 1732.

Within the boundary of Humboldt County, the towns fortunes could have been secured, however it lost the battle for county seat to Winnemucca. A court house is planned within the town to seat this honor.

After 1875, the town of several hundred people began to succumb to reality as production slowed. In 1874, plans for the court house are abandoned when the Galena Range is ceded to Lander County. By 1886, the French Mining Company took over the mines and later halted development. After the post office closed, there was mining activity in Galena starting around World War I and sporadically into the 1960’s

Town Summary

NameGalena Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude40.564, -117.13
GNIS854456
Elevation1877 meters / 6158 feet
PopulationSeveral Hundred
Post OfficeJune 2, 1871 – March 1873 [Humboldt Co.]
March 1873 – May 27, 1887 [Lander Co.]
As “Blanco” – October 11, 1888 – November 15, 1907

Galena Trail Map

References

Austin Nevada – Lander County Ghost Town

Timothy H. O'Sullivan, Austin, Nevada, 1868, albumen silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment,
Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Austin, Nevada, 1868, albumen silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment,

Austin sprang into being after William Talcott discovered silver at this spot on May 2, 1862.  Talcott came from Jacobsville, a stage stop six miles to the west on the Reese River. He was hauling wood out of Pony Canyon, directly below, when he made the strike that set off the famous “Rush to Reese.”

A town called Clifton flourished briefly in Pony Canyon but fast growing Austin soon took over and became the Lander County seat in 1863. Before the mines began to fail in the 1880s Austin was a substantial city of several thousand people.  From Austin, prospectors fanned out to open many other important mining camps in the Great Basin.

CENTENNIAL MARKER No. 8 – STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

Austin Nevada Map

Town Summary

NameAustin Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Also Known AsJacobsville, Jacobs Station, Jacobs Springs
Latitude, Longitude39.491944, -117.070278
GNIS858766
Elevation2,025 meters / 6,644 feet
Population
Nevada Historical Marker8
NewspaperReese River Reveille May 23, 1863 – 1993 (missing: June 27, July 1, 8, 11, 15, 18, Aug 12, 26, 29, Sept 9, 16, 23, 26,1863)
Daily Morning Democrat Aug 9, 1882 – July 8, 1883
Peoples Advocate Dec 3, 1890 – Jan 31, 1893
Nevada Progressive Dec 31, 1924 – Oct 2, 1926
Austin Sun Sept 2, 1933 – June 23, 1934

References

The Pony Express Trails and Stations In Nevada

The Pony Express operated for a very brief period of time from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861. The mail service allowed quick delivery of mail, messages and newspapers between California and Missouri. The pony express was built and operated around one hundred and eighty six stations, which enabled a rider to change horses frequently and quickly traverse the county.

Pony Express Riders "Billy" Richardson, Johnny Fry, Charles Cliff, Gus Cliff - Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle (original tintype from the Martin E. Ismert Collection - Kansas City, Missouri) - http://www.historybuff.com/library/refrichardson.html
Pony Express Riders “Billy” Richardson, Johnny Fry, Charles Cliff, Gus Cliff – Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle (original tintype from the Martin E. Ismert Collection – Kansas City, Missouri) – http://www.historybuff.com/library/refrichardson.html

The Pony Express only operated for a brief 18 months. Yet, the lore of its riders racing the mail across the country maintains a special place in history. The service was not a financial success and heavily subsidized. Despite this influx of capital, the service was doomed on October 24, 1861 with the success of the transcontinental telegraph.

A Brief History

The Pony Express started to fill a need caused by the growing populations of California. After the discovery of Gold in 1848, thousands streaked to the golden state to seek their fortune in the ground. Additional demand for mail service was caused from migration along the infamous Oregon Trail and the Utah Mormon exodus in 1847. Stage Service was used to transfer correspondence across the Western United States.

The service was built and organized by three men, William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell. These men formed the company Russell, Majors & Waddell and in just two months in the winter of 1860 organized 184 stations, 80 riders and 400 hundred horse to race mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. Some of the stations were existing stage stops while others were purpose built humble buildings deep in the Nevada territory. They hoped with a 10 day delivery time they could secure government contracts. The costs of the expedited service was 25000% greater that the slower stage service and a 1/2 package would cost $5 at the time.

“Men Wanted”

The undersigned wishes to hire ten or a dozen men, familiar with the management of horses, as hostlers, or riders on the Overland Express Route via Salt Lake City. Wages $50 per month and found.

Ad in the Sacramento Union, March 19, 1860

The riders would received their delivery and store them in a special mail pouch or mochila. The rider would travel from station to station and changed horses at each station about every 10 miles. The riders would be changed every 75 to 100 miles and road 24 hours a day. A pony express rider earned $125 / month which was a good salary for the time

The last day of the pony express was October 26, 1861. On this day, the transcontinental telegraph completed the first direct communication between san Francisco and New York. On that day, the pony express officially became too slow, too expensive and ceased operations.

Illustrated Map of Pony Express Route in 1860 by William Henry Jackson ~ Courtesy the Library of Congress ~ The Pony Express mail route, April 3, 1860 – October 24, 1861; reproduction of Jackson illustration issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pony Express founding on April 3, 1960. Reproduction of Jackson's map issued by the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Illustrated Map of Pony Express Route in 1860 by William Henry Jackson ~ Courtesy the Library of Congress ~ The Pony Express mail route, April 3, 1860 – October 24, 1861; reproduction of Jackson illustration issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pony Express founding on April 3, 1960. Reproduction of Jackson’s map issued by the Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Nevada Pony Express Stations

  • Alpine Ranch Station
  • Antelope Spring Station
  • Buckland’s Station ( Lyon County )
  • Butte Station
  • Carson City
  • Carson Sink Station
  • Cold Springs Station
  • Dayton
  • Deep Creek Station
  • Diamond Springs Station ( Eureka County )
  • Dry Creek Station
  • Dry Wells Station
  • Edwards Creek Station
  • Egan Station
  • Eightmile
  • Fort Churchill ( Lyon County )
  • Friday’s Station
  • Genoa
  • Grubb’s Well
  • Hooten Well Station
  • Jacob’s Well Station
  • Jacobsville Station
  • Middlegate Station
  • Miller’s Station
  • Mountain Spring Station
  • Prairie Gate
  • Robert’s Creek Station
  • Ruby Valley Station ( White Pine County )
  • Sand Springs Station
  • Scheel Creek Station
  • Simpson Park Station
  • Smith Creek Station
  • Spring Valley Station
  • Sulpher Springs Station
  • Van Sickle’s Station

Pony Express Rider Oath

I, … , do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

Oath sworn by Pony Express Rider

Pony Express Trail Map

References