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

Rawhide Nevada

Rawhide, Nevada. 1908.
Rawhide, Nevada. 1908.

Rawhide Nevada was a mining town in Mineral County. The town site is 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 - 1915
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.

The city of Rawhide was already in decline, when in September 1908 a fire tore through the town.  In August 1909 the town flooded and destroyed much of the town as described in this excerpt from a Colorado newspaper.

Sept. 4, 1908. Devastating fire in Rawhide Nevada. Over $1 million in property damage and thousands were left homeless.
Sept. 4, 1908. Devastating fire in Rawhide Nevada. Over $1 million in property damage and thousands were left homeless.


Ten-Foot Wall of Water Overwhelms Squattertown, Near Rawhide, in the Night.


300 Families Rendered Homeless and Property Piled in Tangled Heap by the Flood.

Rawhide, Nev., Aug. 31.  “Squattertown”, a settlement just south of Rawhide, was swept by a ten-foot wall of water, following a cloudburst in the hills to the north tonight, and 130 buildings were partially or completely destroyed.

It is reported that two women and four children are missing, but up to a late hour tonight it was impossible to obtain verification of this report.
The cloudburst occurred on the summit of the low hills to the north of the camp. In a few moments a three-foot wall of water was pouring down the slope, covering the three miles from the summit to Main street with the speed of a railway train. The flood rushed into the street, which lies in a hollow and forms a general drainage canal, and every business house on the east side was flooded to a depth of from one to four feet.
Several structures were torn from their foundations and floated some distance down the street, while the crest of the flood was covered with furniture, animals and debris.

Gathering force as is poured down the channel, the flood swept into and over Squattertown, half a mile further down. The water formed a wall 10 feet high as it crashed into the frame structures, inhabited for the most part by miners and their families, and buildings were overturned and demolished at the first blow.

Darkness had fallen and the worst of devastation went on in the night.
Before the wave had passed 500 persons were homeless and their property piled up a tangled heap in the basin at the foot of National hill.
Several daring rescues were made. Mrs. Hobeloff and her two children clung to the wreckage of their home as it floated down the street and were rescued by Emil Gutt and P. R. Whyteck.

The Fountain Bar, a saloon located in a small frame building was swept from its foundations and carried five blocks down the street to be landed high and dry on a low bank, with its fixtures little disturbed.

Colorado Spring Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO 1 Sept 1909

Streets of Rawhide, Nevada 1908
Streets of Rawhide, Nevada 1908

The town survived but was never the same.  The twin tragedies gave the citizens more than enough reason to leave and the over promise of gold gave them little reason to stay.  In 1941 the post office closed and the town ceased to be.  Mining is still alive and well in Nevada, and sadly a modern mining operation has destroyed the town site.

Rawhide Trail Map

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Marietta Nevada

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.

Francis “Borax” Marion Smith prospected the Marietta Nevada Area
Francis “Borax” Marion Smith prospected the Marietta Nevada Area

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. 

In the 1880’s due to increased demand for borax,  Borax Smith relocate is Marietta location down south to larger deposits found in Death Valley.  This moved singled the end of Marietta due to the loss of its biggest industry and by the early 1900s the town was virtually dead.  The was a period resurgence when other mining concerns prospected the area.

Marietta is currently located on BLM land.

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Broken Hills Nevada

Broken Hills Nevada, c 1915. Ore sacks being loaded for shipment to the railroad at Fallon.
Broken Hills Nevada, c 1915. Ore sacks being loaded for shipment to the railroad at Fallon.

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 effort, the founders of Broken Hills pulled only $68,000 of gold.  The two men sold their claim to George Graham Rice.

George Graham Rice
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.

There was a stockholder investigation, however nothing was pursued as George Graham Rice was now a resident in state prison for mail fraud. George Graham Rice was also a player in Rawhide, Goldfield, Bullfrog and Rhyolite Nevada.

Today, Broken Hills is empty.  The buildings and people are all gone with the lone exception of a mine head frame. Broken Hills Nevada is located in Lincoln County, Nevada

Broken Hills Trail Map

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Pine Grove Nevada

One of the lesser known yet longest running gold mining camps is Pine Grove, Nevada.  Located in Lyon County, Nevada just East of the 338 highway .Pine Grove was founded in 1866 when gold was discovered by William Wilson and he founded the Wheeler Mine the following year.   Within a year the town grew to about 300 people and the site was named Pine Grove Hills.

Pine Grove, Nevada - 1880s
Pine Grove, Nevada – 1880s

A post office was opened in 1868 in the small town along with a newspaper. A two stamp stamp mill was built to process the gold and silver ore.

The town of Pine Grove grew to 1000 people by the time the 1880s came around and the three mills processed $10,000 in gold bullion in a week. At its height, the town was spread out over a mile. The citizens enjoyed saloons, three hotels, stores, assorted businesses to support the mining effort.  A dance hall was also built to keep everyone entertained.

The mining effort stalled in 1883 due to a depression in the United States. Work recovered, and the mines were again active from 1900 to 1910 with marginal results. Although there was some prospecting, mining ceased production for a final time in 1918.

The town continued to support a small population, however it finally expired in the 1930’s after over 50 years to activity.

Steam boiler, Pine Grove, Nevada, 1880s. The steam from the boiler supplied a small engine which powered a ventilation fan.
Steam boiler, Pine Grove, Nevada, 1880s. The steam from the boiler supplied a small engine which powered a ventilation fan.

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