Welcome to Shawn Hall's Nevada Ghost Town website. The purpose of this site is to provide the active ghosttowner, historians, and arm-chair enthusiast an opportunity to enjoy the many wondrous ghost towns that Nevada has to offer. The main page of the website features a profile of a new ghost town every couple of months. These profiles provide a detailed history, summary of current remains, and when available, photographs. Some places included aren't necessarily ghost towns but fit the accepted description of a ghost town presented by legendary ghosttowner Lambert Florin: "A shadowy semblance of a former self."
Each county has its own ghost town listing. These listings are alphabetical and contain a quick history and what remnants are left. There are more than 3200 photos currently on the site. All of these photos are copyrighted. Please enjoy them but any use without my written consent is strictly prohibited. More detailed histories of individual towns are available in my books on Elko, Eureka, Lander, Nye, and White Pine Counties.
This website has joined the Facebook network. Please feel free to use the "like" link at the top of the page. Please feel free to bookmark this page and visit often. All comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Any additions are always welcome! If you notice omissions or have some photos for listed sites that don't have any, please feel free to let me know and I will make the additions with full credit given to you! Another new addition is a "Ghost Towner Photo Page." This is just for fun and anyone who has "people" photos at ghost towns, please send them to me and I'll put them on the page.
As a final note, please respect remains at any ghost town you might visit. These are valuable remembrances of a bygone era that once gone, can never be replaced. Please only take photographs and do not destroy what little remains. These sites are our heritage and must be respected so future generations can also enjoy visiting the ghostly remains of the Old West.
My New Book Was Released February 2010!
My newest book, "Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Southern Nevada," was just released by Arcadia Publishing. It is part of their nationwide series "Images of America" book series. It covers ten prominent ghost towns and has more than 220 photos. You can order it from me on the books page and get a personally autographed copy, or it is also available on Amazon.com.
Over 3200 Photos now on this site!
New Photos Added 2/21/10
Nye County: Ellsworth (26), Goldyke (6), Bellehelen (25), Royston (10), Pritchard's Station (4), Pioneer (20), Beatty (8), Fluorospar (3), Telluride (2), Thompson (1), Meikeljohn (2), Original (4), Gold Bar (3), Carrara (35), Arista (3), Gold Ace (10), Diamond Queen (12), Rose's Well (2), Leeland (6), Ashton (6), Rhyolite (5), Mildred Mine (5), Okey Davis (12)
Mineral County: Blue Sphinx (5)
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The Manhattan district was active long before the town of Manhattan even formed. George Nicholl discovered rich silver ore in 1866. Following the discovery, more than 50 claims were located in the area. Two mines, the Mohawk and the Black Hawk, were developed during the next three years. The Mohawk mine had a 100' tunnel, and the Black Hawk a 60' shaft. The ore mined at these and other claims was sent to mills in Belmont. The ore averaged close to $100 a ton, with some reaching as high as $2,500 a ton. Activity was good enough that a freight line was set up from Austin to Manhattan Gulch, at a cost of $60 a ton. By 1869, activity was slowing and by the beginning of winter, the district was totally abandoned. In May 1877, the Manhattan Mining District was renamed the Eagle Mining District and prospectors included M. Barrows, J. Quartz, M.H. Smith, and H.L. Jones. Little was found but prospecting continued. In 1885, the district was reorganized by Adam McLean, George Nicholl, John Kennedy, Alexander Carey, William McCann, and James McCafferty. By 1887, the Manhattan Freehold Gold and Silver Mining Company controlled the claims but wasn't able to find a rich enough ore vein to warrant major development.
Despite sporadic attempts at mining, it is estimated that $200,000 was produced from 1866 to 1904. Manhattan remained silent until new major discoveries were made in April 1905. The initial rediscovery was made by a cowpuncher from the Seyler Ranch in Big Smoky Valley. John Humphrey, Frank Humphrey, C.A. Cooper, and G.E. Maude were traveling from Belmont through Manhattan Gulch. They stopped to eat lunch. Humphrey finished first and wandered away. He found an outcropping only 100' from the lunchsite. The four cowpunchers managed to break off a few pieces of the ore. The subsequent assay report showed the value of the rocks to be more than $3,000 a ton. The men staked the Ida, Lottie, April Fool, War Eagle, and Tip Top claims. With this discovery, Manhattan literally sprang up.
Initially, a tent city of about 500, named Palo Alto, formed at the mouth of Manhattan Gulch, but by August, was abandoned as the town of Manhattan formed. A new ledge, assaying as high as $10,000 a ton, was discovered, focusing even more interest on Manhattan. The turning point for the booming camp came when mining promoter Humboldt Gates, known for only investing in sure successes, began investing heavily in some of the new claims in the area. Property speculation went wild during the boom. Lots were selling as high as $1,900. Soon, the gulch was filled with saloons, hotels, assay offices and a few schools. Telegraph and telephone service was also brought in and an electric power substation was built. A post office (Ralph Stevens, postmaster) opened on December 25, 1905. At that time, the town already had three banks, a Wells-Fargo express office, 75 frame buildings, and a population of 1,000.
Two newspapers started circulation during January 1906. The Manhattan Mail was the first, making its appearance on January 10. It was published every Wednesday by Haworth and Anderson. The paper featured many photographs of the town and mines, a rarity in Nevada newspapers. By 1909, they had leased to Frank Garside. He left in 1910 to start another paper, the Manhattan. A number of other owners soon followed. The right combination was never found and the paper folded on June 24, 1911. The second newspaper in Manhattan was the Manhattan News, which started publication during January 1906, and folded on n July 7, 1907. Manhattan was served by three other newspapers during the early part of the century. The Manhattan Times did not even last a year, starting on July 6, 1907, and folding on December 7. The Manhattan Post was started by ex-publisher Frank Garside on October 25, 1910. After the Manhattan Mail folded in 1911, it was the only paper left. It continued publication until May 30, 1914, saying "At the present time business conditions do not warrant the further publication of a newspaper. The last paper to serve Manhattan was the Manhattan Magnet, started on March 23, 1917, by William Godwaldt. The paper, nicknamed "Queen of the Tocquimas," enjoyed five years of publication. But the collateral backing the paper failed, and the Magnet was forced to fold on September 30, 1922. From then on, Manhattan had to rely on Tonopah for newspapers.
Two very dramatic events took place in April 1906. The first was the shocking murder of Manhattan sheriff Thomas Logan. Exact circumstances of the murder are not known. The killer was Walter Barieu, described as a low™down gambler and a fiend. The setting for the murder was the Jewel Saloon, where Barieu and another gambler got into a wild fight. Sheriff Logan was summoned and was able to stop the conflict. But as Logan was leaving, Barieu pulled out his gun and shot Logan four times, missing with a fifth shot. Another account, carried by the DeLamar Lode on April 17, said that Barieu hit a woman. Logan threw Barieu out of the saloon. Barieu then shot at Logan through a side window in the saloon but missed. Logan ran out of the establishment and then Barieu fired the four shots, mortally wounding the sheriff. Even mortally wounded, Logan supposedly disarmed Barieu and knocked him unconscious. And there are other versions, probably none completely accurate. Sheriff Logan was extremely popular, and his friends organized the largest funeral Nevada had witnessed up to that time. It was held in the Odd Fellows and Eagle lodges at Tonopah. Barieu never was convicted of Logan's murder. The case was well-publicized and eventually resulted in Barieu's acquittal. The case showcased two future Nevada political giants. Key Pittman was the prosecutor and Pat McCarran served as defense counsel.
Manhattan had only one week to recover from the Logan tragedy before a much worse disaster struck. The San Francisco earthquake of April 1906 jolted Manhattan almost as much as it did San Francisco. Much of the mining activity in the Manhattan district was backed by San Francisco financiers, who withdrew their support to help rebuilt San Francisco. Manhattan's banks closed and many mining companies with excellent potential were also forced to close. The population quickly dropped to a few hundred. Despite this setback, there were still many businesses in Manhattan by the summer of 1906 including the Butte Cafe, Giffen Mercantile Company, Manhattan-Tonopah Brokerage Company, Manhattan Lumber Company, Nye and Ormsby Bank, Bank of Manhattan, Manhattan Transfer Company, Manhattan Liquor Company, Palace Hotel, Tonopah Club, Madden Saloon, Manhattan Chop House, Richard Hardware Company, Manhattan Undertaking and Construction Company, Nevada Rapid Transit, and State Bank and Trust Company. Many mining companies were also active including the Nevada Manhattan, Manhattan National, Manhattan-Virginia, Manhattan Catbird, Manhattan Eastern, Jordan and McClellan, Mayre, Manhattan Gold King, Manhattan Gold Ledge, Manhattan American Gold, Manhattan Century, Bullfrog Rush, Manhattan Venture, Manhattan Joker, Manhattan Reliance, Manhattan Calumet, Manhattan American Flag, Manhattan Golden Crust, Manhattan United States, Manhattan Red Top, Comet Gold, and Manhattan Mizpah. New discoveries in September 1906, and June 1907, kept the town barely alive. The first mill was completed in January 1907 by the Manhattan Reducing and Refining Company. Two others were finished in early 1908 by the Rosario Mining and Milling Company and the Nevada Ore Reducing Company.
The town's perseverance paid off when, in 1909, rich placer deposits were discovered on the edge of Big Smoky Valley, a few miles below Manhattan. The town also received the first wireless telegraph in Nevada. The discovery revitalized the town to some extent. The year was one of ups and downs for Manhattan. In January, the State Bank and Trust and the Nye and Ormsby Bank both folded. Then, in March, a fire, which started in the Nevada Hotel, destroyed eight downtown buildings. As a result, the Manhattan Volunteer Fire Department was organized. Also, Electricity arrived from a sub-station at Millers and during the line's construction, a world record for line running was set. But this excitement was tempered in July when a gas explosion ripped through the Tyke mine and Albert Elton, Edward Hopf, and Roy Parr were killed. A boost came in February 1910, when the War Eagle mill was started. More than $616,000 was mined during 1910 and many other prosperous years followed.
Activity was boosted again in 1912 when a rich new lode was discovered at the bottom of the already rich White Caps mine, located only a mile away from the town. A 75-ton mill was constructed at White Caps and in April, the Associated mill started in Manhattan. The 100-ton Big Four mill was completed in March 1913. In town, a school, used until 1955, was built. The population of Manhattan rose to almost 1,000 during the next two years. After the 1920s, production declined and most operations shut down.
During Manhattan's lengthy production period, many different mining companies were active in the district. The most important was the White Caps Mining Company (This company has a separate section in this book, see White Caps.). The Manhattan Consolidated Mine Development Company was another major force in the district. It was based in Tonopah, with mine offices in Manhattan. The company, incorporated in 1913 with capital of $1 million, issued 1,350,000 shares of stock at $1 a share and was listed on the San Francisco stock exchange. J.H. Miller was president, with M.N. Page mine superintendent. Manhattan Consolidated engaged in extensive litigation with the White Caps Mining Company, which wasn't resolved until 1917. The company's property consisted of five claims that covered about 82 acres. There was a shaft more than 600' deep, which contained more than 4,000' of workings. Ore removed from the property assayed from $18 to $30 a ton.
Another major company was Union Amalgamated Mining Company, which resulted from a merger between Manhattan Amalgamated, Litigation Hill Merger Company and Manhattan Earl. Union Amalgamated was based in Manhattan, with C.F. Wittenburg as president. The company owned six claims on Litigation Hill, which produced more than $200,000 in gold and silver. The ore ran from $15 to $25 a ton. In addition to the six claims, the company also owned the Manhattan Milling and Ore Company's 10-stamp mill. Union Amalgamated reorganized in November 1917, with Wittenburg still president. Its new name was Manhattan Union Amalgamated Mines Syndicate. The change did not help much. The mill closed in 1918 and in July 1919, the company folded.
Two other mining companies were important factors in Manhattan's mineral production. Manhattan Big Four Mining Company incorporated early in 1906 and had 60 claims in the district. A 500' shaft was dug but the high-grade ore was soon gone and was replaced by extremely low-grade ore. The company owned a 100-ton mill that closed in 1913, with a short reopening in 1917. The other company was the reorganized Manhattan Red Top Mining Company, based in San Francisco. Originally known as the Red Top Mining Company before reorganization in October 1912, the company owned 60 acres of claims in the district, including a 200' shaft. However, the company was forced to shut down in March 1918, because of heavy water seepage into the shaft.
Numerous smaller companies also worked the district. Some of these, like the Original Mining Company, lasted for many years but just never hit the big ore bodies. Others, like the Zanzibar Mining Company, Mammoth Gold Mining Company and the Manhattan Dexter Mining Company, were backed by very wealthy businessmen who could bankroll extensive operations. But the value of the ore was so low that the companies folded. Some companies succumbed before they even became established. They were formed prior to determining whether it was feasible to try to recover the ore. Examples of such companies include Manhattan Mustang Mining Company, Manhattan Sunrise Mining Company, Manhattan Copper Mining and Milling Company, and Wolftone Extension Mining Company. The 1920s were a slow mining period for Manhattan and two devastating fires destroyed most of downtown. On December 23, 1920, a fire that started in the Pine Tree Garage and Bank Saloon, also burned the Manhattan Commercial Store, Smith Tin Shop, Connor Store, Red Front Saloon, Herd Store, North Ferguson Drug Store, Nevada Telegraph and Telephone Company, and 20 other buildings. Another fire in May 1922, burned the southside of the business district, including the Central, Palace, Merchants, and Lloyd Hotels. The post office burned and was relocated to the Victoria Hotel. Another fire, one week later, burned the Victoria Hotel and more of the business district. In addition, the two May fires burnt almost 50 homes and only some of the businesses and homes were ever rebuilt. During the 1930s, a revival was led by the Manhattan Reliance Mining Company, which produced $500,000 from 1932 to 1935. During this period, three mills were running: Manhattan Consolidated, War Eagle, and White Caps. The Manhattan Placer Company was also active and by 1936, was producing $12,000 a month. Their property was bought by the Manhattan Gold Dredging Company in 1938.
In May, a 3,000-ton dredge, was built by the company in lower Manhattan Gulch. An artificial pond was constructed, with water piped in from Peavine Creek. The operation recovered almost $4.6 million on a huge volume of processed ore: one cubic yard of ore only yielded 21 cents of pure mineral. Total production of the Manhattan district is now well over $12 million. After dredging operations ceased in 1947, Manhattan began once more to slip into ghost town status. During the 1980s, new mining activity took place near Manhattan. The open pit operation involved cyanide leaching. In the summer of 1979, the operation was getting into full swing. Argus Resources had also started deep mining operations in the spring of 1980 and reopened a 650' on Litigation Hill. The shaft was filled with water up to the 400' level but Sierra Pacific Power Company brought power to the mine site to allow it to be pumped dry. The company also controls the White Caps mine. Rich ore may continue to flow from the Manhattan mines. The town still has a population of 50 and the post office and saloons remain open. The old concrete electric power substation, which served as a curio shop for Manhattan area souvenirs, was dismantled in 1985 during recent mining operations. Gasoline, some groceries and a phone are all available in Manhattan.
The remains at Manhattan are extensive and very interesting. In addition to numerous cabins and small houses, there is the old stone post office along with a number of false front buildings. The Catholic Church in Manhattan, moved from Belmont in 1908, was restored during the 1970s. A visit to the Manhattan Cemetery, located half a mile west of town, is a must.
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