Bullfrog Nevada

Located at the northern end of Amargosa Desert, Bullfrog is a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada. The Bullfrog mine was discovered on  August 9, 1904 by Frank “Shorty” Harris and Eddie Cross. This discovery lead to many new townsites being platted out in the following seven months. It is said that Ed sold his interest in the claim for $125,000. Shorty Harris claimed to have discovered that he sold him claim during a 6 day celebration. Claims where made for miles surrounding the original mines.

Main Street in Bullfrog Nevada - 1905
Main Street in Bullfrog Nevada – 1905
Frank "Shorty" Harris
Frank “Shorty” Harris

The name Bullfrog was chosen either because Eddie Cross was fond of singing ‘O, the bulldog on the bank and the bullfrog in the pool…’ or due to the ore rich gold ore sample was green and frog-shaped.

Regardless, Bullfrog was the towns name and quickly grew to a population of 1,000. The town supported post offices, newspapers, telephones, hotels, saloons and all of the common businesses which appeared in these dusty destinations in the desert. Advertisements from Los Angeles promoted the town as a new metropolis in Nevada and “The Greatest Gold Camp in the World”.

The formation of the town of Rhyolite led to a brief and wild race for commercial viability and supremacy. By 1906, Rhyolite succeeded and businesses in Bullfrog either closed or moved up to Rhyolite on wagons. Despite this blow, Bullfrog continued on for another three years before its inevitable collapse in 1909.

Bullfrog (eights months old) has post office, express, telegraph and telephone facilities, a $20,000 hotel, a $50,000 water system, a thoroughly equipped pavilion, one of the best equipped banks in the state, an electric light plant in process of construction, a newspaper, population of 1,000

1905 Advertisement – The Los Angeles-Bullfrog Realty & Investment Co.

Today, the town site has little to show of its past. Again, it is superseded to its neighbor up the valley. A small cemetery still exists to mark the lives of those who lived and died there.

Town Summary

NameBullfrog Nevada
LocationNye County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.890278, -116.833611
Elevation3,580 Feet
Population1,000
Post Office1905 – 1909
NewspaperBullfrog Miner
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Pioneer Nevada

Beginning as a mining camp near the Mayflower, Pioneer Nevada is an old mining camp and ghost town in Nye County, Nevada. The Pioneer gold mine was first discovered in 1907 as part of the Bull Frog Mining District. The camp was formed between two of the mines in the area, the Pioneer and the Mayflower. A daily stagecoach began between Pioneer and the mining town of Springdale, about 2 miles to the northeast along the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad

The Camp of Pioneer in July 1910 is partially rebuilt after the fire in 1909
The Camp of Pioneer in July 1910 is partially rebuilt after the fire in 1909

Initially, like many other boom towns, early optimism of rich surface deposits fueled speculation and rapid growth for the down. The fledgling town was laid out and businesses from Rhyolite and nearby Beatty opened up in the small town of Pioneer. By 1909 some 1000 people called the town home, for now. The town was referenced by the Las Vegas Age, which called Pioneer the liveliest place in the state.

The town was organized into two sections known as the upper and lower towns. The serve the population business included hotels, a theater, boarding houses, shoe stores, restaurants, a a cigar store and saloons. The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad promoted passenger service between Rhyolite and Pioneer. Passengers could step off a train in Rhyloite and quickly into a waiting automobile to drive them to Pioneer. The Las Vegas and Tonopah and the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroads were projecting branch lines up the the town.

Like many boomtowns, the wood construction of the buildings where dried in the desert environment. The town suffered a debilitating fire in May 1909, which destroyed the majority of the business and buildings. The dry buildings were engulfed by flames fueled by a prevailing wind.

The Ten-Stamp Mill in Pioneer Nevada
The Ten-Stamp Mill in Pioneer Nevada

After the fire, the town was rebuilt however it was never quite the same as before. In 1913 a ten stamp mill was constructed and operated from about three years before being shutdown. In 1914 a partial collapse of the Pioneer mine further hampered gold production. The mines continued to operated until 1931.

Town Summary

Town SummaryPioneer Nevada
LocationNye County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude37.005278, -116.783889
Elevation4220ft
Population2500
Post OfficeMarch 1909 –
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Troy Nevada

In May 1867, prospector Alexander Beatty worked the the Grant Mountain range when he discovered silver and founded the town site of Troy, in Nye County, Nevada. Beatty quickly stacked five different claims in the valley. In 1868, Beatty started the Troy Mining District.

Troy Nevada is located in Nye County, Nevada.

In 1868, the town attracted a group of investors from England. After prospecting and exploring the area, these investors purchased Beattys mining claims and The Troy Silver Mining Company was founded in 1870.

The little town of Troy, in 1871 was home to seventy miners and their families. Their needs were meet with two general stores, a school, blacksmith shop, boarding house and an unofficial post office. The Troy Silver Mining company invested some $500,000.00 into the mining facilities and built a modern 20-stamp mill and furnaces.

Despite fund raising, the new mining company was not destined to be the next great boom town. The mines never produced as anticipated and by 1872 the company was on the verge of going under. In 1873 a new manager was able to get silver production up to keep the mines open. Flooding in the mines and the speculation from the flooding caused the stock prices to plummet. Despite this news, the stock holders voted to keep mining operations in place.

In 1876, the end finally came for Troy when the mines were closed and the assets sold and moved including the mills and furnaces. In December of that year, the Troy Silver Mining Company was dissolved.

George Sharp, a nearby rancher, purchased the mine site for back taxes in 1902. He demolished one of the two furnace chimneys for the raw materials for his ranch. Sharp sold the claims to the Birdno family.

The mining camp saw various revivals over the next 50 years. The population would teeter back and forth between 1904 – 1920. The Birdo Family sold out the claims and divested in 1936.

The final operations in the valley started in 1946 when the Locke Mine was opened above the town of Troy by Joseph Hafen. The Locke Mine produced gold and pipe delivered to water up to the mine to produce electricity for a mill which was assembled. The Locke Mined operated until the mid 1960s.

Town Summary

NameTroy Nevada
LocationNye County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.34578302126987, -115.57371331915309
Elevation6000 feet
Population100
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Grantsville Nevada

Grantsville Nevada 1886
Grantsville Nevada 1886

Named for Ulysses S. Grant, Grantsville Nevada is a ghost town and gold mining camp located in Nye County Nevada. Initial prospecting in the area which became Grantsville began in 1863 when gold was discovered by  P. A. Haven in the Union District. The camp was founded where a nest of ledges was worked. Initially the area was promoted by  P. A. Haven and lots were sold between $50 and $500, the the fledgling town was off to a good start. Soon the valley was home to about 50 people seeking fortune.

In 1877, a large mining company, the Alexander Mining Co. invested into the town and the small community started to show some promise. The mining company built a 20 stamp mill to process the ore produced by the nearby mines. Following the new investment, the population ballooned up to about 1000 people. The citizens brought commerce and soon the town supported the usual assortment of hotels, drug stores, general stores, blacksmiths and the ever profitable saloons. The town was served by two papers, the weekly Sun and later the Bonanza replaced the Sun’s weekly paper. Grantsville is also known to have a jeweler and brewery which was not commonly found in every boomtown.

Ulysses S. Grant - 1870-1880 - Brady-Handy Photograph Collection, Library of Congress
Ulysses S. Grant – 1870-1880 – Brady-Handy Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

The Grantsville post office opened in 1879 to supported the town. The Alexander Mining Co, expanded its milling operations by doubling the size of the mill from 20 to 40 stamps. The town had two stage routes running to Autin via a route through Ione and Eureka via the town of Belmont. Considerations were made from a train line with the Nevada Central. 1881 saw the opening of a bank and an express office to supply the town and its forty odd businesses. The citizens of Grantsville kept themselves entertained with dances, banquets and the odd baseball game to which the winner might received a keg of lager.

Despite the seemly solid financial foundation and commerce, the town population began to slowly fade in the 1880s and by 1884 the population fell to 400. Two years later the population was just 50 and the post office was closed in October 1887. There were several attempts to restart the mines, however none of these subsequent operations lasted for long.

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Rhyolite Nevada

Rhyolite is a ghost town location just outside of the Eastern edge of Death Valley National monument in Nye country, Nevada.  Founded in 1904 by Frank “Shorty” Harris when he discovered quartz with load of “Free Gold”, Rhyolite started as a gold mining camp in the surrounding Bullfrog mining district. As with many discovery’s during this time period, news quickly circulated and the Bullfrog mining district was formed.

Rhyolite, Nevada photo by James L Rathbun
Rhyolite, Nevada photo by James L Rathbun
hoto marked 1908 and "Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society"
hoto marked 1908 and “Courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society”

Assays of $3000 per ton were reported by the mining press of the day, and the fall and winter saw many people converge on the area despite the weather conditions. Tonopah and Goldfield saw hundreds head south in the spring of 1905, and the migration caused “a string of dust a hundred miles long”.

It is an encouraging sign that the Ryolite Jail still stands. Also noteworthy, a brothel crib still stands as well.
It is an encouraging sign that the Ryolite Jail still stands. Also noteworthy, a brothel crib still stands as well.

The townsite of Rhyolite was found in a draw close to the most important mines in February, 1905. To start, the town was a mining camp with tents and canvas walled building. Fuel shortages caused the populous to burn sage brush and greasewood as fuel for their stoves to cook and keep warm. Food and fuel were teamed into the area on daily stages and water was bought over from Beatty for $5 per barrel.

A trains cabose as found in Rhyolite, Nevada
A trains cabose as found in Rhyolite, Nevada

However, as was common with gold rush towns, Rhyolite quickly developed all of the modern amenities of day, including newspapers, schools, hospitals and electrical power. Six thousand people called the town home in 1907. Luxuries unimaginable just two years before include, hotel rooms with private baths, and opera house, dozens of saloons, four banks, a butcher shop were brought to the town by three different trains.

The mines of Rhyolite, Nevada operated from 1905 - 1911
The mines of Rhyolite, Nevada operated from 1905 – 1911

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and a financial panic of 1907 dried up capital investment which doomed the town along with many others in the region. Rhyolite ceased to be and closed in 1911.  

Today, several building shells still exist, along with the infamous Bottle House, and outdoor museum.  The town is accessible via paved roads, which ruins the “ghosttown” effect and detracts a bit from the location.  In spite of this, it is easily accessible and worth a stop when you are in the area.

“The Last Supper” and other art pieces hold court just outside of Rhyolite

Rhyolite is a wonderful place to visit when you are running Titus Canyon and Leadfield trail.

Rhyolite, Nevada 1909
Rhyolite, Nevada 1909

Rhyolite Map

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