John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell, a remarkable American explorer, geologist, and ethnologist, was born on March 24, 1834, in Mount Morris, New York. His expeditions through the uncharted territories of the American West not only added to scientific knowledge but also provided invaluable insights into the land’s geological and cultural diversity. Powell’s legacy as a pioneer of exploration and his tireless efforts in promoting conservation measures have left an indelible mark on American history.

Powell served as the second Director of the United States Geological Survey, a post he held from 1881 to 1894. This photograph dates from early in his term of office.
Powell served as the second Director of the United States Geological Survey, a post he held from 1881 to 1894. This photograph dates from early in his term of office.

Early Life and Education

Powell grew up in rural New York, where his love for nature and the outdoors was nurtured from an early age. Although he lost his right arm in a childhood accident, Powell’s determination and thirst for adventure were undeterred. He developed a keen interest in natural sciences and geography and pursued higher education at Illinois College and later at Oberlin College, where he focused on geology.

Grand Canyon Expeditions

Powell’s most famous and daring expedition was his 1869 journey down the Colorado River, known as the Powell Geographic Expedition. With a team of nine men, Powell set out to explore the largely uncharted canyons and rapids of the Colorado River and gather valuable scientific data. The expedition faced numerous hardships, including treacherous rapids, scarce food supplies, and hostile encounters with Native American tribes. Miraculously, Powell and his crew successfully navigated the treacherous river and completed the journey, providing unprecedented knowledge of the Grand Canyon and its geological formations.

First camp of the John Wesley Powell expedition, in the willows, Green River, Wyoming, 1871. - E. 0. Beaman - War Department. Office of the Chief of Engineers. Powell Survey. (1869 - ca. 1874)
First camp of the John Wesley Powell expedition, in the willows, Green River, Wyoming, 1871. – E. 0. Beaman – War Department. Office of the Chief of Engineers. Powell Survey. (1869 – ca. 1874)

Powell’s subsequent expeditions further solidified his reputation as a fearless explorer. He embarked on multiple journeys across the American West, including explorations of the Green and Colorado Rivers, the Rocky Mountains, and the Uinta Mountains. Powell’s meticulous record-keeping and scientific observations greatly expanded the understanding of the region’s geology, hydrology, and ethnography.

Scientific Contributions

Powell’s expeditions were not merely adventurous endeavors but also scientific ventures aimed at advancing knowledge in various fields. He published numerous papers and reports detailing his findings, including “Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and its Tributaries” and “Canons of the Colorado.” These works significantly contributed to the geological understanding of the American West, shaping subsequent research and studies in the region.

Additionally, Powell’s expertise in ethnology led him to conduct extensive research on Native American tribes. He documented their cultures, languages, and customs, recognizing the importance of preserving their heritage. His ethnographic studies formed a crucial foundation for future anthropological research in the United States.

Conservation Advocacy

John Wesley Powell was not only a scientist and explorer but also an early advocate for conservation. Recognizing the fragile nature of the American West’s ecosystems, he became a vocal proponent of sustainable land use practices and preservation efforts. Powell believed that the arid region’s limited water resources necessitated careful management and planning.

In 1879, Powell presented his influential “Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States” to Congress. This groundbreaking report emphasized the need for responsible irrigation and land development strategies, urging policymakers to consider the long-term consequences of uncontrolled resource exploitation. Powell’s report laid the groundwork for the eventual establishment of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation, both crucial agencies in land and water management.

Legacy and Impact

John Wesley Powell’s contributions to exploration, science, and conservation continue to resonate today. His expeditions not only unveiled the wonders of the American West but also inspired future generations of explorers and scientists. Powell’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research and his understanding of the intricate relationships between humans and their environment remain


Hamilton Nevada

Hamilton is a small ghost town located in White Pine County, Nevada, in the western United States. Despite its current state, the town has a rich and fascinating history. Hamilton, originally known as “Cave City,” was established in 1868 by prospectors searching for silver in the surrounding mountains. The town was renamed Hamilton in honor of a prominent local businessman, W. A. Hamilton, who helped finance the development of the area.

Main Street in Hamilton, Nevada, 1869 showing the two-story Withington Hotel,
Main Street in Hamilton, Nevada, 1869 showing the two-story Withington Hotel,

During its peak, Hamilton was a bustling town with a population of over 2,000 people. The town had several hotels, saloons, stores, and a post office. It also had a school, a church, and a theater, which hosted traveling shows and performances. The town’s main industry was mining, and several mines operated in the area, including the Hamilton, Treasure City, and Ward mines.

In the late 19th century, Hamilton was a prosperous town, and its residents enjoyed a good quality of life. However, in the early 20th century, the town began to decline as the mines ran out of ore and the price of silver fell. Many of the town’s residents left in search of better opportunities, and the town’s population dwindled.

During World War II, Hamilton briefly experienced a resurgence as the demand for minerals increased. The town’s mines were reopened, and new mining techniques were introduced. However, after the war, the demand for minerals declined, and the mines were once again closed.

By the 1950s, Hamilton was virtually abandoned, and most of its buildings had fallen into disrepair. However, the town’s history and architecture attracted the attention of preservationists, and efforts were made to restore some of the buildings. In 1961, the Hamilton Ghost Town was established, and the remaining buildings were preserved as a tourist attraction.

The Smoky Mill, built in 1869 for $60m000 was at the east end of Hamilton, receiving ore from Treasure hill
The Smoky Mill, built in 1869 for $60m000 was at the east end of Hamilton, receiving ore from Treasure hill

Today, Hamilton is a popular destination for tourists interested in Nevada’s mining history. Visitors can explore the town’s preserved buildings, including the schoolhouse, the jail, and the saloon. The town’s cemetery, which dates back to the late 19th century, is also a popular attraction.

In recent years, Hamilton has been the subject of several documentaries and books, which have helped to raise awareness of its history. The town’s abandoned buildings and desolate surroundings provide a glimpse into Nevada’s past and remind us of the hardships and challenges faced by those who settled and worked in the area.

Hamilton, Nevada, may be a ghost town today, but its history and legacy live on. The town’s story is a reminder of the boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized Nevada’s mining industry and the resilience of the people who lived and worked in the area. Hamilton is a testament to the human spirit and a valuable piece of Nevada’s history that should be preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

Hamilton Nevada Town Summary

NameHamilton Nevada
LocationWhite Pine county, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2529, -115.4864
Elevation2456 meters / 8058 feet
NewspaperInland Empire Mar 27, 1869 – Apr 10, 1870; Oct 4 – Nov 9, 1870

Trail Map


Jarbidge Community Hall – Nevada State Historic Marker 153

The Jarbidge Community Hall is a central gathering place for the residents of Jarbidge, Nevada. Built in 1939, the hall has served as a venue for community events, meetings, and social gatherings for more than 80 years. The hall is located on the main street of Jarbidge, and its distinctive Art Deco design makes it a landmark in the town.

The history of the Jarbidge Community Hall is intertwined with the history of the town itself. Jarbidge was founded in the late 19th century, during Nevada’s mining boom. The town was named after a nearby creek, and its population grew rapidly as miners flocked to the area in search of gold and silver.

Jarbidge Community Hall, Jarbidge, Elko county, Nevada
Jarbidge Community Hall, Jarbidge, Elko county, Nevada

By the early 20th century, Jarbidge had become an important mining town, with several mines operating in the area. The town’s population peaked in the 1920s, with around 1,500 residents. During this time, the town was home to several businesses, including hotels, saloons, and general stores.

However, the Great Depression hit Jarbidge hard, and the town’s mining industry began to decline. By the late 1930s, many of the mines had closed, and the town’s population had dwindled to just a few hundred people.

Despite the difficult times, the residents of Jarbidge remained committed to their community. In 1939, they came together to build the Jarbidge Community Hall. The building was designed by local architect Paul Revere Williams, who was one of the few African American architects working in the United States at the time. Williams was known for his Art Deco designs, and the Jarbidge Community Hall is one of his few surviving buildings in Nevada.

The Jarbidge Community Hall was built using local materials, including stone from a nearby quarry and wood from the surrounding forests. The hall’s Art Deco style is evident in its streamlined design, geometric shapes, and use of decorative elements such as the zigzag patterns on the building’s façade.

Over the years, the Jarbidge Community Hall has served as a venue for a wide range of events. In the early days, it was used for dances, social gatherings, and community meetings. During World War II, it was used as a venue for USO shows and other events to support the war effort. In the decades that followed, it continued to be a central gathering place for the residents of Jarbidge, hosting everything from weddings and birthday parties to town meetings and political rallies.

Today, the Jarbidge Community Hall remains an important part of the town’s identity. It is still used for community events and social gatherings, and it serves as a reminder of the town’s rich history and strong sense of community. The hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990, and it is considered one of the most significant Art Deco buildings in rural Nevada.

In recent years, the Jarbidge Community Hall has undergone several renovations to ensure that it remains a functional and attractive venue for the town’s residents. The building’s stone façade has been restored, and the interior has been updated with new flooring and lighting. The hall is now fully accessible, with a wheelchair ramp and updated restrooms.

Despite its small size, the Jarbidge Community Hall is a testament to the resilience and determination of the people of Jarbidge. It is a symbol of the town’s enduring spirit and its commitment to preserving its history and traditions for future generations.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Gold discoveries by Dave Bourne in 1909 created the town of Jarbidge.

With 1,500 population in Jarbidge Canyon by 1910, citizens built this pioneer-type community hail with a “floating” maple floor.  Support from the Nevada Commission for Cultural Affairs and the community funded the restoration of the building.


Nevada State Historic Marker 153 Location

Jarbidge Community Hall Summary

NameJarbidge Community Hall
LocationJarbidge, Elko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.8783, -115.4303
Nevada State Historic Maker 153


Jarbidge Nevada

Jawbidge, Nevada is a small town located in the northeastern part of the Nevada in Elko County. The discovery of gold and silver in the region brought an influx of miners and prospectors to the area, and Jawbidge quickly became a center of mining activity. “Jarbidge” is a name derived from the Shoshone language meaning “devil”. Native American Tribes believed the nearby hills were haunted.

Jarbidge, Nevada
Jarbidge, Nevada

Jarbidge, Nevada is a small town located in the northeastern part of the state with a rich mining history. The discovery of gold and silver in the region brought an influx of miners and prospectors to the area, and Jarbidge quickly became a center of mining activity.

The first miners in the area were individual prospectors who panned for gold along the Jawbidge River and its tributaries. The early miners found small deposits of gold, but it was not until the 1870s that larger deposits were discovered. These deposits were located in the hills and mountains surrounding the town.

In 1874, a group of miners discovered a rich vein of silver in the nearby Jarbidge Mountains. The discovery sparked a mining rush, and thousands of miners flocked to the area. The miners established camps and small settlements along the rivers and streams that ran through the region. The Jarbidge River, which runs through the town, was a particularly rich source of gold and silver.

The mining industry in Jawbidge was characterized by a boom-and-bust cycle. In the early days, the mining was done using simple tools like pickaxes and shovels. The miners worked long hours in dangerous conditions, and many of them died from accidents or from diseases like silicosis. Despite the dangers, the lure of gold and silver kept the miners coming.

In the 1880s, the mining industry in Jarbidge underwent a period of rapid expansion. New mines were opened, and new technologies were introduced that allowed for more efficient extraction of gold and silver. One of the most important innovations was the introduction of the stamp mill. This machine used heavy steel stamps to crush the ore, which was then separated from the waste material. The stamp mill allowed for large-scale mining operations, and it became the backbone of the mining industry in Jarbidge.

Jarbidge, Nevada photo 1909
Jarbidge, Nevada photo 1909

During this period, the town of Jarbidge grew rapidly. New businesses were established to support the mining industry, including supply stores, saloons, and boarding houses. The town’s population grew, and it became a center of commerce in the region.

In the 1890s, the mining industry in Jarbidge began to decline. Many of the mines had exhausted their deposits of gold and silver, and the cost of extracting the remaining ore became too high. The decline of the mining industry had a ripple effect on the town’s economy. Many businesses closed, and the population began to shrink.

Despite the decline of the mining industry, a few mines continued to operate in the area. In the early 1900s, a new mineral was discovered in the Jawbidge Mountains – tungsten. Tungsten was used to make steel alloys, and it became a valuable commodity during World War I. Several tungsten mines were opened in the area, and they helped to sustain the local economy.

In the 1920s, a new mining boom began in Jarbidge. This boom was fueled by the demand for copper, which was used in the construction of electrical wiring and other products. Several large copper mines were opened in the area, and they brought new jobs and prosperity to the town.

During World War II, the mining industry in Jarbidge played a critical role in the war effort. The mines produced copper, tungsten, and other minerals that were used to build weapons and other military equipment. The town’s population swelled as miners and other workers were brought in to support the war effort.

After the war, the mining industry in Jarbidge began to decline once again. The demand for copper dropped, and the mines began to close. The town’s economy shifted toward tourism and other industries.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

As early as 10000 years ago, Native American hunting parties camped near horn to hunt game.  About a thousand years ago, Shoshone-speaking people entered the region, where they continue to live today.  The name Jarbidge comes from a Shoshone word meaning “a bad or evil spirit”.

Dave Bourne discovered gold in this isolated area in 1909 and production eventually totaled 59 million.  Population size varied, but in the early l920s, the Jarbidge district replaced fading Goldfield as the premier gold-producing area in Nevada.  The Jarbidge mines railed beginning in the tale 1920s.

On a stormy December 5, 1916, the last stagecoach robbery and murder in the history of the West took place in Jarbidge Canyon, ¼ mile south of the town.


Jarbidge Trail Map

Jarbidge Town Summary

NameJarbidge, Elko County, Nevada
Other NamesJa-ha-bich
LocationElko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.8728, -115.4446
Elevation1932 meters / 6339 feet
Nevada State Historic Marker69


Gold Hill Nevada

Gold Hill, Nevada is a small unincorporated community located in Storey County, Nevada, United States. It is situated on the eastern side of the Virginia Range, about 10 miles south of Reno. The history of Gold Hill dates back to the early 1850s when gold was discovered in the area.

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

The discovery of gold in Gold Hill is credited to two miners, Peter O’Riley and Patrick McLaughlin, who were working on the Comstock Lode. In 1859, O’Riley and McLaughlin found a rich vein of gold near the top of a hill. They named the hill Gold Hill and the area soon became a booming mining town.

By 1860, the population of Gold Hill had grown to over 1,000 people. The town had several saloons, a hotel, a newspaper, and a variety of other businesses. The mining companies in the area were also thriving, with the largest, the Consolidated Virginia and California Mine, producing millions of dollars worth of gold and silver.

Gold Hill was a rough and rowdy town, with gambling, drinking, and fighting being common occurrences. However, the town also had a more cultured side, with several theatrical performances and lectures taking place in the local opera house.

In 1875, tragedy struck Gold Hill when a fire destroyed much of the town. Despite the setback, the mining companies continued to operate and the town slowly began to rebuild.

Gold Hill, Nevada, View from above the Yellow Jacket. Date of photo: Late 1870s Photographer: Carleton Watkins
Gold Hill, Nevada, View from above the Yellow Jacket. Date of photo: Late 1870s Photographer: Carleton Watkins

Over time, the mining industry in the area declined and many of the mines were shut down. However, Gold Hill remained a small community and its historic buildings and landmarks have been preserved.

Today, Gold Hill is a popular tourist destination, with many of its historic buildings, including the Gold Hill Hotel and the Gold Hill Brewery, still standing. Visitors can also take a tour of the nearby mining sites and learn about the history of mining in the area.

In conclusion, Gold Hill, Nevada has a rich and storied history that dates back to the early days of the mining industry in the American West. Despite facing setbacks and challenges over the years, Gold Hill has managed to preserve its unique character and charm, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and tourists alike.

Gold Hill Nevada Trail Map

Gold Hill Nevada Summary

NameGold Hill, Nevada
LocationStorey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2931, -119.6566
Elevation5,980 Feet
Population8,000 Max
95 Current
NewspapersGold Hill Daily News Oct 12, 1863 – Apr 1882
Daily Morning Message June 16, 1864
People’s Tribune (The) Jan – June 1870
Post OfficeJul. 13, 1862 – Feb. 27, 1943