Timothy H. O’Sullivan – Photographer

CDV of Timothy H. O'Sullivan with imprint of F.G. Ludlow, Carson City, Nevada Territory on verso. Taken between 1871–74 while O'Sullivan was the official photographer for the Wheeler Expedition.
CDV of Timothy H. O’Sullivan with imprint of F.G. Ludlow, Carson City, Nevada Territory on verso. Taken between 1871–74 while O’Sullivan was the official photographer for the Wheeler Expedition.

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (c. 1840 – January 14, 1882) was a photographer best known for of the Civil War and the western United States. O’Sullivan began his photography career as an apprentice in Mathew Brady’s Fulton Street gallery in New York City. He moved on to the Washington, D.C., branch managed by Alexander Gardner. In 1861. At the age of twenty-one, O’Sullivan joined Brady’s team of Civil War photographers.

Little is known about his early life. He was either born in Ireland or New Work City. As a teenager, Timothy was employed by Matthew Brady where he learn the newly invented craft of photography. When the Civil War broke out, he is commission as a first lieutenant in the Union Army, in 1861.

After the was, in 1867, Timothy H. O’Sullivan is hired by Clarence King to accompany the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel as a photographer. O’Sullivan was with the Survey for the seasons of 1867, 1868, 1869 and 1872.

During these expeditions, he is known to carry two or possibly three camera outfits which include a 9″x12″ and 8″x1O” plates and for stereoscopic views. He developed the plates in the field, as was necessary with the wet plate process, and worked in either a photographic tent or a mule-drawn ambulance wagon. The negatives were usually sent back to the Survey offices in Washington D.C. where they are printed.

In 1871, O’Sullivan join the geological surveys west of the one hundredth meridian, under the command of Lieutenant George M. Wheeler of the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Wheeler would caption O’Sullivan’s photographs with practical information useful in the later establishment of roads and rail routes and emphasized the west’s suitability for settlement.

In 1873, on another Wheeler expedition, O’Sullivan photographed the Zuni and Magia pueblos and the Canyon de Chelly and its remnants of a cliff-dwelling culture. He returned to Washington, D.C., in 1874 and made prints for the Army Corps of Engineers. Soon after being made chief photographer for the United States Treasury in 1880, O’Sullivan died of tuberculosis at age forty-one.

Sand dunes, 1867, Carson Desert Western Nevada RG 77 Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, 1789-1988 Photographic Album of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel – The King Survey, 1867-1872 ARC ID 519530 77KS-3-160

Timothy H. O’Sullivan Portfolio

Gold Hill, Nevada Circa 1867, 1868 Photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan
Gold Hill, Nevada Circa 1867, 1868 Photographer Timothy H. O’Sullivan


Stokes Castle

Stokes Castle is a point of interest and Nevada Start Historic Marker number fifty nine located in Lander County, Nevada. The granite rock tower is located on a hillside just outside of Austin, Nevada.

Stokes Castle is a three-story stone tower named for Anson Phelps Stokes who was a banker, investor and railroad man who built the tower as a summer home. The design of his summer home is inspired painting which pictures a tower in Roman Campagna, Italy.

Construction is started in 1896 and completed the following year. The hand-hewn granite stones were lifted into place using a hand winch and secured with a rock and clay mortar. The first floor of the tower consisted of a dining room and kitchen. The living room was located on the second floor, while the third floor houses two bedrooms. Each floor benefitted from a fireplace and the second and third floors boasted balconies along with plate glass windows to accentuate the view of the valley below..

Despite the money and time investment, the Stokes family only occupied the granite towerN for a few short weeks. Stokes sold his interest is some of the local mining operations, and moved further west. After which the structure fell into disrepair.

Today, the stone tower is a privately owned property and recognized as Nevada State Historic Landmark. The structure is surrounded by a chain link fence to prevent unauthorized access.

Nevada State Historic Marker #59

Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family, built Stokes Castle as a summer home for his sons.  After the castle (or the tower, as the

Stokes family always referred to it) was completed in June 1897, the Stokes family used it for two months.  Since then, with one possible exception, the structure has remained unoccupied.

Stokes Castle is made of huge, granite stones, raised with a hand winch and held in position by rock wedging and clay mortar.  The architectural model for the castle was a medieval tower Anson Stokes had seen and admired near Rome.  This building originally had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass windows, balconies on the second and third floors, and a battlemented terrace on the roof.  It had plumbing and sumptuous furnishings.

Stokes Castle has served for decades as an iconic Nevada building often photographed by enthusiasts of Western history.


Marker Summary

NameStokes Castle
LocationLander County, Nevada
Nevada State Historic Mark59
Latitude, Longitude39.4936, -117.07986

Nevada State Historic Marker Map


Tenabo Nevada

Located at 5,354 above sea level, Tenabo Nevada is a gold mining camp and ghost town located in Lander County, Nevada

 Wagon train hauling silver ore from the Little Gem mine in Tenabo to the railhead at Beowawe, 25 miles south - 1910 - Stanley W Paher, "Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell-North Books, William Kornmayer collection, p 91
Wagon train hauling silver ore from the Little Gem mine in Tenabo to the railhead at Beowawe, 25 miles south – 1910 – Stanley W Paher, “Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell-North Books, William Kornmayer collection, p 91

In 1907, silver is discovered in the Bullion mining district. The discovery lead to the formation of Tenabo on the eastern slope of the Shoshone Range. The townsite is platted out and located just east of the mining district. Several wooden structures are built and with months a population of about 1,000 people called the town home.

The citizens of Tenabo ran and were serviced by several businesses including a hotel, restaurant, assay office, grocery store, school, post office. Saloons and “Sporting Houses” kept the men inline and happy. Goods and services along with people are delivered with tri-weekly stage service from Beowawe. Automobiles and a steam traction service also provided access to the town.

For three years, several active mines kept the mill running in Mill Gultch. After 1911, the high cost of goods and water hauling hampered continued mining operations. The post office is closed on July 31st, 1912.

About 1916, A. E. Raleigh finds placer gold in Mill Gulch and soon a camp is named for him. Placer mining continue in the surrounding ravines for the next twenty years. In the 1930’s a floating dredge continue placer mining operations and recovered significant amounts of gold until the 1940’s

In 1972, the mines near Tenabo are purchased by the Mid-West Oil Corporation. Mid-West Oil in turn sold the mining rights to the Tenabo Gold Placers Limited Partnership. Today the mines are still actively worked by the Flowery Gold Mines Company of Nevada.

Tenabo Town Summary

NameTenabo Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitutude40.314444, -116.676667
Post OfficeDecember 7, 1906 – July 31, 1912

Tenabo Map


Tenabo Nevada is located about twenty five miles south east of Battle Mountain, Nevada just off I-80 at the Beowawe exit.


Ophir Nevada

Ophir Nevada is a ghost town and 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

In 1864, R. B. Canfield purchased the principal ledge, also known as the Murphy ledge. Canfield utilized the Twin River Mining Company to secure financing. A wagon road is constructed, in 1865, to the site from the Big Smokey Valley for a cost of $8,000 for the two and a half mile road. The steep route suffered from grades of 10 degrees and nine creek crossings are made with wooden bridges.

A Growing Town

The newly founded Toiyabe City has a population of 400 citizens and a tri-weekly stage from Austin brought in people and supplies for the mines. In 1886, a twenty stamp mill is constructed at great costs, from the natural granite and shale sourced in the area. The mill produced over $750,000 in silver in the next two years. Despite this seemingly high rate of production, the mines did not produce a profit, due to the unusually dense rock which slowed operations considerably.

During its heyday, Ophir Canyon boasted saloons, stores and hotels. A post office operated at the site from June 18, 1867 to December 5, 1893.

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.

Nevada State Historic Marker 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.


Nevada State Historic Marker Summary

NameOphir, Nevada
LocationLander County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.9385, -117.1971

Nevada State Historic Marker Map


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
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