Belmont Nevada

Following a silver strike and quatz vein by a Native American in the area, Belmont Nevada was founded in Nye County, Nevada. The silver boom along with other minerals including copper, lead and antimony brought in the settles and the town of Belmont was growing in 1867.

Belmont in 1871
Belmont in 1871

Located at 8000 feet in the Toquima range, the small town was the center of the Philidelphia Mining District. In 1867, the small town became the county seat for Nye County when this honor was transferred from Ione, which was in decline at this time. The settlement boasted two saloons, four stores, post office, livery, bank, assay office school and all of the assorted business to support the mining activities. A court house was built in the county seat in 1875 by the county commission, which still stands today.

Like many small mining towns, the prosperity of Belmont the ebbed and flowed with the price of metals. The town boomed in 1866/67 and between the years of 1883 and 1885. The estimated population of the town ranged between 4,000 and 15,000.

In 1887, meager mineral production caused to town to wain and soon the sole purpose of Belmont was to provide government service. This sole source of industry was removed in 1905 when the county seat was relocated to nearby Tonopah, Nevada.

CANFIELD'S MILL, BELMONT, NEVADA - NARA - 524117
CANFIELD’S MILL, BELMONT, NEVADA – NARA – 524117

Belmont Nevada Map

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Belmont Nevada

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Belmont Nevada 38.596000, -116.874000 Belmont Nevada is a ghost town in Nye County.

Ione Nevada

Ione Nevada is a ghost town, which is located in Nye County, Nevada. In April 1863 a silver stike was made by P. A. Haven in the Shoshone Range. Haven had failed in earlier efforts working the Comstock. The mining camp was named Ione after the herione in the book, “The Last Days of Pompeii”. Ione was founded later that year, in November 1863. The mining camp developed into a town with an influx of people from near by Austin and served as a trading and milling center. Ione Nevada started small and boasted about 50 buildings in 1863.

Ione settlement, with Ione Valley in the background, c 1900
Ione settlement, with Ione Valley in the background, c 1900

The people of the new town were soon petitioning for the formation of a new county and in 1864, Nye County was founded within Nevada. The county’s first courthouse was built in Ione with an $800.00 stipend from the newly formed county. The court house was a sound investment and still stands to this day. In 1864 the new town boasted a post office and a population of 600 people and over 100 buildings.

As with many towns in the area and of the era, Ione soon started to decline, with its population moving to nearby Belmont, Nevada. In February 1867, the county seat followed the people to Belmont. The towns population fell to 175 in 1868.

Ione Nevada
Ione Nevada

The town languished for a while. In 1896 a 10-stamp mill was built on the site and the following year the majority of mining and milling interests were purchased by A. Phelps Strodes who further invested in the site. However, Iones fortunes fell with the price of silver a year later.

The small town profited off the discovery of mercury in 1912. The rusty colored cinnabar was passed over in the excitement and profits of gold and silver. The mercury sustained Ione Nevada into the 1930’s. The post office was closed in 1959.

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Ione Nevada

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Ione Nevada 38.948300, -117.588000 Ione Nevada

Chloride City California

Chloride City California is located within Death Valley National Park and Inyo County, California. The town arose out of silver discoveries in nearby Chloride Cliff in 1873 and is one of the earliest of the Death Valley mines.

The first road through Death Valley was constructed from Chloride City, California to San Bernardino, California which was the nearest town 180 miles away. In the 1870’s ore was shipped out using trains of pack mules which would return carrying food and supplies to the camp. The mines of this small community struggled on for a few years, but by 1880 no mines were producing and everybody had moved on.

Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915
Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915

The nearby Bullfrog, Nevada, gold discovery excitement of 1904 brought in new capital. The Chloride Cliff Mine was bought by investors in nearby Rhyolite and re-opened in 1908. Sufficient ore was produced in subsequent years to warrant the construction of a cyanide mill in 1916. By 1918 the camp was deserted again.

The ghost town contains numerous adits, dumps and the grave of James McKay, of whom nothing is known. The town also holds the remains of three stamp mills.

Chloride City Trail Map

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Chloride City

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Chloride City 36.706600, -116.882000 Chloride City California

Downeyville Nevada

Downeyville Nevada is an old mining camp and ghost town located in Nye County, Nevada.  In May 1877 silver-lead discoveries in the area caused a large influx of start up mining camps and development.  Most people who came to the new and yet to be named town came from nearby Ellsworth.

So many people made the trip so quickly, that frequently, they were greeted with no accommodations. The new towns people were often forced to sleep outside or camp among the sage brush.

The town of Downeyville was founded in 1878 and had a population of 200 men. The small town boasted several stores, stables, saloons, stage lines which included Wells Fargo Express.  A post office was added in March of 1879 and the town was named after the first postmaster, P. Downey.   Mr. Downey

By 1881 ore was shipped to the nearby Carson & Colorado railroad for processing, until a lead smelter was constructed in Downeyville, which did not occur until several years later.  Like many boom towns, Downeyville Nevada passed into history with the next big discovery hit in Tonopah. Downeyvilles production from 1878 to 1901 is claimed to have produced between $7 million to $12 million worth of silver and lead.  By 1901 the post office was discontinued and the town faltered leaving behind stone ruins.

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Downeyville Nevada

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Downeyville Nevada 38.910700, -117.899000 Downeyville Nevada

Bonnie Claire Nevada

Located off highway 267 East of Death Valley National Park Gold, Bonnie Clarie Nevada is a mine site and ghost town that is easy to explore from the highway in Nye County, Nevada.   Bonnie Claire began life with a 5 stamp mill located in Thorp’s Well,  in the early 1880s.  The mill in Thorp’s Well processed ore for three active mines in the area for twenty years.  At this point, the mill was purchased by the Bonnie Clarie Bullfrog Mining Company to process materials from the Gold Mountain District.

Long Team in front of the Bonnie Claire Mine, Nevada
Long Team in front of the Bonnie Claire Mine, Nevada

In 1904 a second Mill, the Bonnie Claire mill, was built near the stage stop in Thorp which service travelers from Goldfield and Bullfrog and a post office followed in 1905.

The railroad reached the area in 1906 and the Bonnie Claire Nevada townsite was founded.   First a tent city house the population until 1907 when the first wooden structures were built which hosted 100 people and several saloons.  The location languished with the founding of Rhyolite to the south.  The town survived serveral years past it prime and served to ship building materials for Scotty’s Castle.

Bonnie Claire Trail Map

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Bonnie Claire Nevada

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Bonnie Claire Nevada 37.226800, -117.121000 Bonnie Claire Nevada