Local legend attributes the discovery to the locator picking up a rock to throw at a jackrabbit and finding himself holding high-grade silver. The Jackrabbit District, named for the mine, was located in 1876 by Isaac Newton Garrison. Early mine production of the camp, at one time named Royal City, was about ten tons per day, carrying native silver in flakes, yielding about $40 per ton – sometimes as high as $2,000 per ton. Mineral production declined during the 1880s, but when a fifteen-mile narrow gauge railroad was opened in 1891 between the Jackrabbit Mine and Pioche, mining soon increased. After 1893 the mines fell silent except for several short periods of activity in 1906-1907 and 1912-1914.
This is Nevada State Historical Marker #204, see others on this page:
For a 20-year period prior to 1900 the mining in Nevada fell into a slump that cast the entire state into a bleak depression and caused the loss of a third of the population.
The picture brightened overnight following the spectacular strikes in Tonopah and, shortly afterwards, in Goldfield. Gold ore was discovered here in December 1902 by two Nevada-born prospectors, Harry Stimler and Billy Marsh. From 1904 to 1918 Goldfield boomed furiously. The city had a railroad that connected into Las Vegas and a peak population of 20,000. Between 1903 – 40 a total of $86,765,044 in metals was produced here.
Constructed as a Union Pacific railroad depot in 1923, this mission revival structure was designed by well-known Los Angeles architects, John and Donald Parkinson. The depot represents an imposing example of mission revival design. Much of its interior was made of solid oak, and the total cost was more than $80,000. The depot replaced a former structure which burned on September 9, 1921. This newer facility included a restaurant and fifty-room hotel for some years. The structure has served Caliente as a civic center and is the location of city government offices.
Caliente was first settled as a ranch, furnishing hay for the mining camps of Pioche and Delmar. In 1901, the famous Harriman-Clark right-of-way battle was ended when rancher Charles Culverwell, with the aid of a broad-gauge shotgun, allowed one railroad grade to be built through his lush meadows. Harriman and Clark had been battling eleven years, building side-by-side grades ignoring court orders and federal marshals.
The population boom began with an influx of railroad workers, most of them immigrants from Austria, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire. A tent city was settled in August 1903.
With the completion of the Los Angeles, San Pedro, and Salt Lake Railroad in 1905, Caliente became a division point. Beginning in 1906, the Caliente and Pioche Railroad (now the Union Pacific) was built between Pioche and the main line at Caliente. The large Mission Revival-style depot was built in 1923, serving as a civic center, as well as a hotel.
This is Nevada State Historical Marker #55, located in Caliente, Nevada. See others on this page:
Schellbourne was a mail station and town, located approximately four miles east of this marker in Stage Canyon, nestled in the Schell Creek mountain range. The Pony Express established a mail station and corral there in 1860, providing mail service to the region until 1861, when the Overland Stage company took over the route. A small military post known as Fort Schellbourne joined the station until 1862, protecting the stage line during the conflicts between whites and the Newe (Goshute and Western Shoshone) Indians.
Prospectors discovered silver ore in the mountains immediately to the east of Schellbourne in the early 1870s, and created the Aurum Mining District in 1871. An active mining camp developed with a population of over 500 people. By 1885, the ore had been mostly depleted, with other mining towns like Cherry Creek drawing residents away. The district and adjacent valley were acquired by Uncle Billy” and Eliza Burke as a ranch and hotel. Schellbourne has subsequently operated as the headquarters for various ranches since that time.
From May to June 1827, explorer and trapper Jedediah Smith found a route from California’s central valley to the Great Salt Lake Valley in Utah. He became the first European American to completely cross what is now Nevada.
Because Smith’s journal and map have never been found, his exact route is unknown. Based on Smith’s own statements about his difficult trip, modern historians and geographers have pieced together the most plausible route. Smith crossed the Sierra Nevada at Ebbetts Pass, swung southeast along or across the headwaters and middle reaches of the Walker River, and passed into central Nevada’s open spaces south of Walker Lake.
Smith entered Smoky Valley on its southwest side in June 1827 and crossed the valley in a northeasterly direction. He then paralleled the future Simpson survey, route of the Pony Express and Overland Stage, along modern U.S. Highway 50.
Bullionville began early in 1870 when John H. Ely and W. H. Raymond, removed their five-stamp at Hiko and placed it at this point. The enterprise prospered and during the next two years most of nearby Pioche’s mills were located here because of the proximity to water. The town grew rapidly and by 1875 it had five mills, a population of 500, and the first iron foundry in eastern Nevada. During the same year a water works was constructed at Pioche, which eventually led to the relocation of the mills. Although a plant was erected here in 1880 to work the tailings deposited by the former mills, this failed to prevent the decline of Bullionville.
This is Nevada State Historical Marker #203, located just outside Panaca, Nevada.
Mark Requa’s Nevada Consolidated Copper Company laid 150-mile of track from Cobre, on the Southern Pacific line, to Ely in 1905-06 to haul ore from the Copper Flat mines west of Ely.
Ore was loaded into railroad gondolas at Copper Flat for the trip to the smelter at McGill, over a double-track trestle that was 1720 feet long. The trestle burned in 1922 and was replaced with an earth-fill span.
Passenger service and the “school train” carrying McGill youth to Ely High School ended in 1941. With the closing of local copper mines in 1983, the railroad ceased operations. Currently, part of the line serves the Nevada Northern Railway Museum for live steam rides. The East Ely shop complex for the Railway was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2006.
The town of Cherry Creek before you was part of a network of mining districts that operated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the Gold Canyon district in Egan Canyon, five miles to the south.
Peter Corning and John Carpenter helped start the town of Cherry Creek when they staked the Tea Cup gold claim in 1872, resulting in a boom and the development of a town. At the town’s peak in 1882, it boasted a population of over 1,800. While production fluctuated, Cherry Creek continued to produce gold and silver ore into the 1940s.
Egan Canyon to the south was part of the 1855 route established by Howard Egan and the Mormon Battalion, and surveyed for use in 1859 by the U.S. Army. By 1860, the Pony Express placed a change station at the west opening of the canyon. Between 1861 and 1869, Butterfield’s Overland Mail and Stage established a station here that grew into a small temporary town.
In 1863, soldiers from Fort Ruby discovered gold in the canyon, leading to the creation of the town of Egan and a mining district. By 1865 there were three stamp mills in Egan processing ore from the district. Like Cherry Creek, to the north, Egan boomed and busted into the 1920s before mining ceased.
This is Nevada State Historical Marker #52 located in Cherry Creek, Nevada.
James H. Simpson put the future site of Ely on the map during his 1859 exploration through the Great Basin. In the 1860s, silver and gold deposits were discovered nearby in what became the Robinson Mining District. Ely developed as a regional center, becoming the White Pine County seat in 1887. The area grew dramatically in the early 1890s with major copper discoveries. The Nevada Northern Railway, headquartered in East Ely, carried ore from the mines in Ruth to the McGill smelter, as well as connecting Ely to the world on its 150 mile route north to the transcontinental railroad.
The towns of eastern Nevada were joined during the late nineteenth century by a network of wagon roads. In 1913, the road through Ely was incorporated into the transcontinental Lincoln Highway, though it was not paved until 1922. Ely had over 2,000 residents and offered many services, making it an excellent stopping place on the long road across the Great Basin. When the copper industry declined after World War I, the struggling town turned to travelers for income.
The Lincoln Highway was designated U.S. 50 in 1926. By mid-century the popularity of the Victory Highway, now Interstate 80, reduced U.S. 50 to the status of “The Loneliest Road in America.”
In addition to the Lincoln Highway, two other major national roadways converge at Ely. The Midland trail, designated Route 6 in 1937, was an early coast to coast automobile road that also connected Ely to Tonopah and southern California. U.S 93, which passes north-south through Ely takes travelers from Canada almost to the Mexican border.
This is Nevada State Historical Marker #269, located at 681 East Aultman Street in Ely, Nevada. See others on this page: