Sunday, April 24, 2011

Goldpoint (Hornsilver), Nevada April 6, 2011

Some of the older wooden buildings along main street

My next six blogposts are interesting sites I visited on my spring trip to Southwestern Nevada in early April. Four of them are about historic gold and silver mining communities and two of them are petroglyph sites near Austin, Nevada.

I arrived in Goldfield late in the afternoon after driving from Tonopah. After touring around historic Goldfield I planned to stay camp at the Goldfield RV Park. Unbeknownst to me, the owner had just closed the establishment and was planning on returning to Salmon, Idaho. After talking to the owner, I received permission to stay for $10. This part of Nevada does not have numerous camping opportunities so I was extremely appreciative to be able to stay in town. The wind during the night picked up making for some chilly desert camping. The next day I drove the 25 miles south to Goldpoint. Goldpoint is in the Mohave desert so expect hot temperatures during the summer with much cooler winters.

Directions: From Goldfield take US 95 south approximately 15 miles. Turn onto NV 266 drive until you see the turnoff for Goldpoint.

History: Goldpoint, originally Hornsilver, had the same boom and bust history as most gold and silver communities in Nevada. The first boom occured in 1902 with the discovery of gold; soon an old ranching camp was revived becoming the community of Hornsilver. From the start logistics soon became a nightmare. First silver ore had to be shipped to a mill in Lida for processing. Second, because of the camps remoteness supplies such as, water and food had to be shipped in. Because of these extra costs within a year the settlement was abandoned. A second revival occured in 1905 with the discovery of a rich silver vein close to town. By 1908 businesses had opened and the population had rebounded. However, just like the first boom costly milling, inefficient mining and lawsuits halted the production.

The longest period of prosperity began in 1927 with the discovery of gold at the Great Western mine. Residents flooded in and businesses reopened. To attract more prospectors and because the mines were producing gold, the name was changed to Goldpoint. Mining continued until the Federal Government closed the mines during World War II. They never restarted. (Thank you to Wikipedia for this information).

Today, Goldpoint is a worthwhile visit because of the number of historic buildings and mining remanents still standing. A visitor can tour the Great Western Mine to the west of town for a small fee. On the weekends a saloon is open and a small RV park accomodates tourists. A local historical society puts on mock gun fights at times during the summer.

Joshua tree in town

Looking up a head frame close to town

A neat picture of mining equipment with the Mohave Desert

Outskirts of town with surrounding desert

Headframe at one of the old mines

Gallows along main street