After leaving Goldfield and Goldpoint I drove north of Tonopah to visit the historic town of Belmont. The weather was clear with temperatures in the mid 60s; however, I was receiving word of a storm coming in from California which would effect my plans. Belmont has a rich history of boom and bust with a large number of historical buildings to view in town. It is definitely worth a visit.
Directions: Belmont is extremely isolated it is located 46 miles north of Tonopah and 115 miles to the south of Austin, Nevada. From Tonopah take Highway 6 east six miles until the junction for 376. Follow 376 for 13 miles until 82 branches of to the right. Follow road until the town of Belmont.
History: Belmont is worth visiting with many historical buildings and a brillant setting in the Toquima Mountains of Central Nevada. The town had three periods of silver mining 1866-1867, 1868-1873 and a small revival from 1914 to 1922. As a result, the town's population has fluctuated throughout the years depending on mine output.
The first boom began after an Indian discovered a silver deposit in the Toquima Mountains. Soon ten major mines were working in the area including the Belmont which was the deepest, the Arizona and the Highbridge. At the peak of its boom the town population hovered around 5,000. With a growing population, Belmont built a courthouse and became the county seat. At this time there were three newspapers operating in the town. However, the prospect of silver elsewhere in the state caused a drastic decline in population by 1868.
The second revival in the town occured in 1873 with the discovery of rich deposits in some of the biggest mines in the area including the Belomont and Monitor. Businesses opened again and the population rebounded back to 3,000. Stagelines were set up so people could travel to Tonopah and Austin, Nevada. Two major incidents caused the second decline. The first ocurred in 1878 when hoisting and mill works owned by the El Dorado Mining Company were set on fire. The equipment was not insured causing the company to go bankrupt. A boom at Bonnie Clare caused many people and equipment to leave.
The last major revival started in 1914 when the Monitor Belmont Mining Company bought most of the mines in the area. Production increased and a huge mill (the Cameron) powered by a $15,000 power line became operational. A third time businesses reopened and the population rebounded; however, the boom would not last and by 1917 the mill and mines had closed. A few small companies worked tailings until 1922 when the post office closed. Today, there are a number of small claims in the area but no major mining is ocurring. The biggest mines in the district are up at Round Mountain to the north and Silver Peaks near Goldfield. (Thank you to www. nvghosttowns.topcities.com for this information).
A Bed and Breakfast in town is operational today
The downtown buildings crumbling; showing the years of neglect.