38° 17' 14"N, 118° 54' 03"W USGS Aurora Quad
|VISITED||October 16, 2004. Our Dinner: Black Bean Burrito and chili Macaroni MRE's
July 18, 2015 Our Breakfast: Eggs at Dini's Casino in Yerington
July 18, 2015 Our Dinner: Burgers at Kings Diner in Yerington
|DIRECTIONS||Take US 95 south from Fallon for 71.4 miles; continue south on SR 359 for 4.1 miles; turn right and head west on Lucky Boy Pass Rd (National Forest Development Rd 026) for 16.5 miles; turn right and head south on local road for 3.5 miles; turn right on local road for 4.5 miles. From Fallon: 100 miles|
This is the big one. Aurora.
At one time one of the largest cities in Nevada with a population of 10,000, it was county seat for Mono County, California and later -- at the same time--Esmeralda County, Nevada Territory, until surveyors got their act together.
In August of 1860, prospectors in search of game and water discovered gold, and a camp was established (some say) a mile east on the west end of Gregory Flats, at Esmeralda Camp. However, another report places the location of Esmeralda camp south of the present site of Aurora, in Esmeralda Gulch, by "the brewery," which we're assuming is Slachler's Brewery, according to the 1862 Brady map.
This is a description of the discovery itself, from a pamphlet printed in 1878, long after Aurora's heyday:
We camped near the race track ( a grassy flat at the head of Willow Gulch), Aug. 21, 1860, late in the evening having left Cory's Peak that morning. Next morning (Aug.22) we moved camp to near where the brewery now stands ( a secluded spot at the head of Esmeralda Gulch); finding good grass and water, we stopped for the purpose of resting a day or two. After turning our animals loose, I went over the hill across the main Esmeralda lode, and found the first silver ore discovered, on the Winnemucca lode, at a point where we subsequently set the center stake of our claim on that lode.... We then went to Monoville for supplies and returned about the last of the month, about fifteen men accompanying us, when we organized the district, adopted mining laws and elected a Recorder. 'Then the trouble commenced.'
A town called Esmeralda was staked off at the original camp (The brewery site) but the drift of discovery north [italics mine- FN] soon resulted in centering the population at the junction of the three ravines created by Silver, Middle, and Last Chance Hills, where Aurora grew into prominence.
At the time, they didn't know if they were in California or Utah Territory. [Nevada Territory wasn't organized until March of 1861] A town site was platted a month later, named Aurora, and by the spring of 1861 there were 2000 inhabitants and an eight stamp mill, the Pioneer, crushing ore. By late Spring the Esmeralda Star began publishing and by that fall, considerable mining stock speculation was occurring.
Claimed by both Nevada and California, the town prospered to the point of attracted a young Samuel Clemens, who worked in one of the mills. By 1863 there were 10,000 people and 16 mills pounding ore. In the fall, surveyors finally fixed the boundary, and Mono County officials moved to Bodie. Crime and lawlessness were beginning to get out of hand, and in February of 1864 600 citizens formed the “Citizen’s Safety Committee.” Some desperados were hung with good effect. By 1865 the towns population was halved due to stock manipulation and speculation; and in January of 1866 a major fire burned all the buildings along Antelope Street. By this time, the population was about 800. By 1869 surface workings were exhausted and things were sliding downhill for the town's future.
In 1882 Aurora lost it's post office and the county seat to Hawthorne. By 1900 only about 75 people lived here, but during the boom of the early 1900's, the camp was rejuvenated, the post office returned, and the population rose to about 350, but it didn't last long. By 1919 the post office was closed. After World War Two, brick scavengers removed much of what was left standing, reducing Aurora to less than a shell of its formal self. In 1955 its last resident, Sigfried "Fried" Walker, passed away, and by 1960 Aurora's last brick building was destroyed.
William O. Vanderberg gives the low down from his 1930's perspective:
Veins carrying gold and silver were discovered here on August 16, 1860, by E.R. Hicks and party while they were hunting for game. Shortly after the discovery a spectacular rush ensued, and the camp of Esmeralda was established on Gregory Flats. Later, the town of Aurora was established several mines distant from the Esmeralda camp. By an act of the First Territorial Legislature, November 25, 1861, Esmeralda County, named after the mining district, was made one of the nine original counties of Nevada with Aurora as county seat. The town of Aurora was substantially built, and a number of houses and stores were constructed of brick and masonry.
At present, most of the buildings are in ruins, and the general atmosphere of the camp is one of neglect and decay. In 1864, Aurora had a population of nearly 10,000, but by 1869 the bonanza ore near the surface became exhausted and a considerable part of the population moved to Virginia City. the mines, however, continued to produce up to 1882. In the early days as many as 17 mills were operating in the district at one tie. These mills employed stamps for crushing and the Washoe Pan process for recovering the values. Compared with modern processes, the recovery in these early-day mills was low, and the tailings that were available were subsequently cyanided in 1901 and 1902. in 1912 the Aurora Consolidated Mines Co. was incorporated. This property was purchased in 1914 by the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Co which erected a 500-ton mill equipped with 40 stamps, each weighing 1,750 pounds. Primary crushing was done with the stamps and fine grinding with 3-tube mills. Countercurrent cyanidation was employed to recover the values. After about three years of operation the mill was dismantled and the equipment sold.
At present there are two small mills at Aurora. One is a 10 stamp affair erected in 1912 and owned by W.J. McKeough of Aurora. In 1935, the mill was operated for a short time by the Western Consolidated Mines Co. This company ran into financial difficulties and closed down. Mill equipment consists of two 5-stage batteries (1,050 pound stamps) a ball mill 5 feet by 4 1/2 feet, 2 amalgamation plates, a Door simplex classifier and 2 Groch flotation cells. The other mill is a kincaid mill with a capacity of 2 tons per day and it owned by Fred Walker of Aurora.
Through the magic of Flash, I had constructed a page where the image goes from an 1889 photograph of Aurora, courtesy of the Nevada State Museum, to a 2004 version, courtesy of me. However, Flash is no longer supported, so I made a short movie of it instead.
The following is the first known newspaper article about the area
THE MONO MINES.
Some descriptions from the newspapers of the day....
It looks now as if with returning Spring, the tide of adventurers would set strongly toward Esmeralda -the region lying some eighty miles S.S.E. of Carson City, along the boundary line of Utah and California, and in the Walker River basin. Last Fall it was always spoken of as in Utah, but as it fills with people, who dread a repetition of the anarchy of Washoe, the impression has so strengthened of its inclusion within the California limits, that our Legislature is loudly petitioned to erect a new county, to be called "Mono," which shall embrace all of Calaveras County that lies east of the Sierra Nevada, and snugly wrap within this coveted corner. It is now some six months since the prospectors cried "Eureka" over the silver-laden quartz lead that splits the porphyritic green stone of Esmeralda. It was too late in the season then to get much of the rock down to the distant reduction works, and Winter is no time for prosecuting investigations into the wealth or poverty of mines that lie 5,000 miles [We're sure they meant "feet" - F.N.] above the level of the sea, and within 25 miles of the base of the snowy Sierra. Still an unaccountable faith has swelled the population of the little town of Aurora from 200, as it was when Winter set in, to 800, as it is now while Winter still keeps guard over all the region. This vanguard of the restless army that is expected was housed in tents, or in cabins of turf or stone, but very rarely in houses of wood. The nearest standing woods fit for lumber are some twenty miles away, where a saw-mill will be running in less than a month. Meanwhile the Aurorans are rejoicing in the discovery of a plastic stone -- just the tiling for building material -- an article which can be trimmed easily with hatchets when first unearthed, but which hardens into a tolerable sandstone in a few days. For fuel, the scrubby pitch-pine which covers a third of all the mining district, is well spoken of; and there is water enough; so that they are talking of building two considerable ditches already, whose routes have been surveyed and pronounced feasible. The writers from Esmeralda speak very coolly of the prospects, but tell large stories notwithstanding of the looks of the rock. In the Edward Everett lodge, they say the gold is almost everywhere visible in the decomposed quartz; that "large wages can be made by pounding the rock in a mortar, while the seams, worked only with the pick, yield over an ounce a day to the hand." The silver sulphurets lie deeper.
The present town of Aurora numbers some 100 buildings, mostly canvas covered frames, and a population of about 800 persons. Although the business of the town is now exceedingly small through a general lack of money, improvements in the building line are slowly progressing around the business center. The inhabitants are collectively, a sober, industrious community, dreaming of early wealth and wondering how they can manage to raise another month's supply of grub.
The Esmeralda Mines. — A correspondent of the Union, writing from Aurora, July 18th, speaks very highly of mining prospects in that locality. He says :
A selection of general news from 1862
A fitting tribute to the memory of the late F. A. Scott, Sheriff of the county, killed by the Indians at Owen's River, was paid on the 5th inst., at the opening of the Court of Sessions.
While Mr. Reynolds, a very highly respectable citizen of this place, was coming from Walker's Meadow to Aurora, a week ago last Sunday, an Indian calling himself a Californian, armed with a rifle, fell in and traveled some distance with him. He spoke very good English, and avowed his friendship toward the whites and his animosity towards those Indians who persist in a continuation of the present war troubles on Owen's river. While thus traveling and talking, to divert the attention of Mr. R., he instantly sprang to one side, leveled his gun and shot at him, the ball taking effect in Mr. R.'s mouth, knocking out several teeth and carrying away a portion of the upper lip. This prostrated him to the ground, but he immediately recovered and shot at the retreating Indian with his revolver, to no effect. The Indian, however, commenced reloading his rifle, and Mr. R., realizing that the Indian could outrun him and shoot at a much longer range, crossed the Walker's river, and re-crossed several times as he wended his way to the residence of Mr. March, a distance of five miles. The Indian, however, by some means overtook and fired again at Mr. R., the ball taking effect in the left shoulder, causing a severe flesh wound. Mr. R., then escaped without any further injury, and is now doing well under the care of his surgeon, Dr. Sill. Subsequently, the facts as above related, were communicated to Lieutenant Noble, by a special messenger, and at two o'clock of the morning of the 5th he repaired to the scene of trouble, where Mr. Marsh held as hostages two other Indians, and had sent a third to inform the tribe that if they did not give u p the renegade Indian they would be held to answer for the crime. But by some means not yet learned by me, they escaped; and this is, so far, the last that has been heard of the Indians in that quarter.
The owners of the First Extension of the Antelope have "struck it" rich, this week.
If it does not stop snowing in this region soon, the present inhabitants will winter here this summer, sure! The clouds that circulate about this country are mighty loose, somehow; for hardly a day passes but that a few inches of this element are sifted over the country, seemingly in commemoration of the prolific months of January and February.
Daniel Toumey, who died May 7th, in the vicinity of Walker's river, was said to be a native of Ireland, and a sober, hard-working and respectable citizen. The cause of his death is attributed to the wounds inflicted upon his person by a six-shooter in the hands of John Wheeler. We are not apprised sufficiently of the circumstances to give them publicity.
Flour is said to be very scarce in town. We trust that our enterprising merchants will see to it that we do not want for bread—at the price of $30 per 100 pounds.
The border issues continued to provide problems
AURORA IN NEVADA TERRITORY
Much of the news appearing in the California papers came in the form of letters written to the editor
THE ESMERALDA MINES
Here's one that takes the trouble to name many of the mines.
LETTER FROM ESMERALDA. Esmeralda Mining District. Sept. 10, 1862
As for the mills, they are not the best, although what mills we have are running night and day. I understand, from good authority, that we are to have three or four 60-stamp mills in here, this fall; if so, look out for large shipments of bullion from Esmeralda. We have about 150 families here. and more are coming in daily. There have been several brick fireproof buildings put up lately, and a good many more are in course of erection. A horse race off on election day, for $1,000 a side. All I know is, that the gray horse won. They are to run again, in a few days, for a sum of $2,000. The election went off quietly, and the Union ticket made a clean sweep in this county. There is a great dearth of news here, the mail only reaching us three times a week. Why can't we have a south extension of the telegraph? Won't some of our enterprising friends take pity on us, and, in the language of the ancient Macedonian, " come over and help us?" We are ready to receive and support that enterprise. Z. P.
This one mentions several of the merchants. Note how it says "Mono County"...
OUR LETTER FROM AURORA.
A good many persons left us in the fall to go to Silver Mountain; they had heard from friends there of rich strikes, and could not rest satisfied until they had seen for themselves. We hear they have struck some rich things there, and have determined to stay. We can spare them, trusting they will do well. Others have gone to the Walker River mines, and others to the Russ district and Como; but we presume we will get them back in the spring, as they will find that they had their pile in Esmeralda. if they had only stopped and done the work that they will have to do where they have gone to. A rolling stone gathers no moss. We are having a nice warm rain as I finish this, which is melting the snow, and the indications are that we will have an open winter. All hands here at present are full of hope, and seem encouraged to work with the prospect of an early spring, with big licks at the same time. You, no doubt, have a good crowd of Esmeraldians with you spending the winter at the bay. They had better have staid here and worked their claims this winter; it would have paid them better. ——X.Y.Z.
Still annoyed about the boundary
LETTER FROM ESMERALDA.
Aurora had it's share of crime.
A BLOODY FIGHT. On Saturday evening last, an altercation took place between two discharged State Prison convicts, who but lately had arrived in this town—about some plunder. The scene was laid in the Pony Saloon, and the names of the belligerents, Bagley and Chauncey. Bagley spit Chauncey in the face, and the latter drew his pistol and killed Bagley without a moment's warning. A year ago such an affair would have created considerable excitement, but to-day, when pistols and bowie-knives are used on very trivial occasions. Chauncey was released, after a formal hearing, on $2,000 bail, and is again at liberty. While no one deplores the untimely death of Bagley, the peace-loving citizens regret that such an old prison-bird as Chauncey should be allowed to disgrace the streets of Aurora with his presence
Already complaining about people coming from California, just like we do today!
LETTER FROM AURORA, ESMERALDA.
One of the more famous gravestones in the cemetary is that of William Carder, gun-fighter. Apparently he threatened the wrong man, who ambushed him as he came out of a saloon. Carder was apparently such a jerk that the man was found "not guilty."
At half-past 11 o'clock on Saturday night, the 10th instant, William E. Carder was shot through the neck and instantly killed by Moses Brockman. The weapon used was a doublebarreled shotgun loaded with pistol balls. Brockman was standing near the door of the Exchange Saloon, and discharged the contents of both barrels of his gun into Carder as he stepped out upon the sidewalk. The first charge took effect fairly on the right side of tbe neck and passed completely through, severing the jugular vein and windpipe, and tearing a most shocking hole ; tbe second charge entered the body in the region of the right shoulder. The parties were only a few feet apart, and it is thought every shot in the gun entered the body of the victim. After firing, Brockman laid down his gun and surrendered to officer Palmer, who arrived on the ground very promptly after hearing the shots. The causes of the tragedy, as we have heard them related by several parties, are substantially as follows
A short time since, Carder and Brockman bath went to Montgomery district, amd Carder, who returned first, left his own horse at the Adobe Meadows on the way up, and took one belonging to Brockman, which he brought into town. Brockman, on returning to the Adobe Meadows and finding his horse gone, hired one and came into Aurora. Carder commenced abusing him for not bringing hin (Carder's) horse, when Brockman replied, "I have no business with your horse. I think you treated me meanly by taking my horse without permission." A quarrel ensued, in which Carder is said to have threatened Brockman, and on two or three subsequent occasions, when they met, the former used very rough language, and threatened to whip the latter. Brockman, knowing that Carder's only method of fighting was with deadly weapons, in the use of which he was probably more expert than any other man on the Pacific coast, naturally enough had fears for his own safety, and took the advantage he did in order to insure his own life. Coroner Tyler held an inquest on the body yesterday, and, though we did not hear the testimony, we presume it was decidedly in Brockman'a favor, as the jury promptly returned a verdict of "justifiable homicide." Brockman is a sober, industrious miner, and has heretofore conducted himself in a very quiet, peaceable, orderly manner. Carder was one of the most desperate characters we ever knew. His quickness and proficiency in the use of deadly weapons were almost beyond belief, and his remarkable coolness and bravery rendered him the terror of the community. In the afternoon before he was killed he tried to provoke quarrels with several of our most peaceable citizens, whom be abused most outrageously by slapping them in the face, kicking them, pulling their ears and twisting their noses. He leaves a family, consisting of a wife and a step-son about eight years old.
Of course, while all this digging was going on, keep in mind the Civil War was raging back east.
Good News. Monday evening news was received here of the capture of Richmond, which elicited the most enthusiastic joy and rejoicing by the whole of our Union citizens, which was enlivened by patriotic speeches, songs and other manifestations, until the small hours of the morning had increased materially. Yesterday the flags were flying and happy congratulations took place, concluding by a grand ball last evening, where the ladies evinced their great joy upon the occasion by "tripping it upon the light fantastic toe." Weather. We have had more cold freezing weather the past Winter than any one previous since 1860, and as the Spring time comes it yet holds its icy power. The thermometer for the past week has stood, night and morning, at from 10° to 12° above zero, which is altogether too cold for comfort. Yesterday we had as cold and piercing a snow storm as any during the past Winter, and to-day it is cold— freezing all day. If the Summer should come to us this year, it could be truly appreciated after so much cold; but the universal exclamation is, " Now is the Winter of our discontent."
Things are dying down now
LETTER FROM AURORA, NEVADA.
They improved the roads to and from Aurora...
WALKER RIVER ROAD
But that didn't help much. And neither did the fire.
GREAT FIRE IN AURORA- A dispatch dated at Aurora, January 6, says:
More on the fire and local goings on...
Matters about Aurora. — A correspondent of the Union, writing from Aurora January 7th, gives the following intelligence : Yesterday morning we had a more destructive fire than all others heretofore in the town of Aurora, [Recently referred to in a dispatch to the Union. — Editors.] It broke out between two and three o'clock in the morning, in a frame building that had not been occupied for a year past. . The wind was blowing fiercely at the time and the fire spread with great rapidity, burning all the frame buildings on both sides of Antelope street, between Pine and Aurora, including the stores of Garland & Co. and F. Hafky. The former saved most of his goods, though in a damaged state, by a vault in the rear of his store. The latter lost all his goods, furniture and everything. His loss is very much deplored by the citizens. The brick store of Levy & Co. was saved, goods somewhat damaged. The brick saloon of F. Schoonmaker, Kimball & Canfield, and Kohn & Co.'s brick stores, were also saved. Had it not have been for the almost superhuman efforts of the citizens and firemen the whole town would have been in ashes. The fire is supposed to have been the work of an Incendiary. The following is a list of the principal sufferers:
During the day a snow-storm set in and snow fell to the depth of about three Inches. The weather has been clear for ten days past, but rather cold, thermometer ranging from six degrees to twelve degrees above zero every night. We now have a daily mail between here and Carson, and a weekly mail from Aurora to Kearsarge. There is no Post Office or Postmaster between here and there, or at the latter place, as the news came only by telegraph; but they will doubtless soon be established when letters are received by mail.
About a dozen large mule and ox teams passed through here last week, heavily loaded with a quartz mill and machinery, from Como District, bound for Kearsarge. The Del Norte mill is crushing good rock from their mine, as are also two or three other mills In this district running. The Empire and Home Stake mills, at Bodie District, are both running. The former is crushing twenty tons of rock per day, which pays $80 per ton. The capacity of the mill is soon to be increased to crush thirty tons per day, as they have a great plenty of rock. The Home Stake mill is crushing twelve tons per day, which pays $100 per ton. About $15,000 worth of bullion was brought in here last week from Silver Peak, and a shipment will be brought in this week from Blind or Hot Spring District
LETTER FROM AURORA.
The Carson Times says that the directors of the Nevada and California Telegraph Company have in view the extension of their line from Aurora to Candelaria, a distance of sixty miles.
Says the Esmeralda Herald: The town is scandalously healthy. No physician who thinks anything of himself would try to make a living here. As we have neither doctor or preacher the supposition is that bodies and souls are safe in Aurora.
New mining methods were brought out to revive the town.
A man down at Aurora, Esmeralda county, says the Herald, has spent several months teaching two gophers to prospect for him. They are so well trained that they will burrow in any spot he designates. When they have thrown up a quantity of dirt, he pans it, and thus he believes that he will be able to prospect the whole country at a nominal cost, and find placers if any exist.
Apparently enough is happening in Aurora that freight is going back and forth, at least.
CARSON AND COLORADO
This can't be good.
Petitions for the removal of the county seat of Esmeralda county from Aurora to some point on the line of the C&C Railroad are being circulated throughout the county.
The beginning of the end.
A bill has passed dismembering Esmeralda county, sanctioning the removal of the county seat from Aurora to Hawthorne.
They put up a good fight, but in the end, money talks.
They are having considerable trouble in Esmeralda county over the removal of the county seat. It is now claimed that property upon which the buildings are to be erected is mortgaged and that by law they must have clear title to this ground.
The Contest over the County Seat of Esmeralda
The Aurora Herald, published at Aurora, Esmeralda county, Nevada, did not long survive the removal of the county seat to Hawthorne.
Still, some mining activity continued and hopes ran high for some
Messers. Crowder and Alfred Ann, mining experts from England, a few days ago examined the Con. Esmeralda Mine at Aurora, and will make a favorable report on the same. Using the hackneyed expression "an old fashioned boom" is again talked of at Aurora, whence through Wells, Fargo & Co., to San Francisco there were shipped in the early days nearly $20,000,000 in gold bullion.
The Esmeralda News says the mines of that section have never looked better. the Silver Hill mill is kept busy crushing ore. Its capacity is not adequate to handle the enormous quantity of ore awaiting reduction. Thursday a bar of fine bullion was shipped to San Francisco. The camp is looking up and it is hoped that it won't be long before it will be booming.
The Esmeralda Con. Company has a small force of miners employed in the Aurora group.
Now that Goldfield is successful, they want the county seat. Aurora protests.
OLD CAMP AGAINST NEW
WILL SELL OLD COURT HOUSE
Now there is talk about bringing some of that newfangled electricity to the area.
MAMMOTH POWER PLANT
Don't think this project ever bore fruit, since Aurora was eventually hooked up to power originating from the [Nevada-California Power company subsidiary] Southern Sierra Power Company's Lake Lundy power station.
The proposed power plant in Mill Creek canyon will be built this summer and operations started immediately. This plant will furnish power for Bodie and Aurora, and for the present will be confined to those two camps.
ELECTRIC POWER IN READINESS FOR NEVADA MINES
Of course, there were some setbacks.
CATASTOPHE IS REPORTED IN HIGH SIERRA
Aurora got cut off from electricity around 1920, and didn't get it back until 1934.
Still, they keep digging at Aurora
NOTICE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE AURORA CONSOLIDATED MINES Co.
Even in 1915, Aurora was still being written up as a possibility.
The old Esmeralda mining district at Aurora, Nev. is twenty-eight miles in an air line southwest of Thorne, a town on the Hazen-Tonopah branch of the Southern Pacific and it's nearest point. The town of Aurora is three miles east of the California-Nevada boundary, sixteen miles north of mono Lake, and one and one half miles east of Bodie Canyon. The old Esmeralda, near the southern limit of the productive area, was the first vein discovered in the Aurora district. According to Wasson, James M. Brawley, J.M. Corey, and E.R. Hicks made the discovery on August 22, 1860, and immediately located four claims. The town of Esmeralda was built in the gulch just east of the discovery, but later in the year the present town site of Aurora, one and one-half miles north, was laid out. The first mill, owned by Edmund Greeg, was put in operation in 1861, and was followed shortly by several arrastras and mills. in 1864 there were seventeen amalgamation mills in the district, the largest, which had thirty stamps, being the Real Del Monte in Bodie canyon. Up to the year 1864 the camp was very prosperous. Aurora had a population of about 10,000 and was the county seat of Mono county, Cal. During the year 1864, however, misfortunes befell the camp. The California-Nevada boundary was run and showed that the Esmeralda district lay in Nevada; the rich bonanzas in the wide west vein on Last Chance Hill became exhausted and bitter litigation over the ownership of the veins on Last Chance Hill developed. The camp, however, continued to prosper until 1882, though the supply of $75 ore, which in earlier times could not be mined, was then becoming depleted. In 1880 an English company acquired possession of the main group of claims on Last Chance Hill. It began operations in 1887, starting the Real Del Monte shaft and connections with the Durant vein on Middle Hill, but suspended work in 1892 after a vain effort to keep the lower workings of the 800 foot shaft free from water. Most of the claims in the Esmeralda district were owned in July 1913 by two companies, the Cain Consolidated Co. and the Aurora Mines Co. The Aurora Mines Co.'s chief group, containing eleven claims, lies on Silver Hill, though they own five claims on Aurora Hill. The Cain Consolidated Co. controls about forty claims, among which are some of the famous producers of the district. In the summer of 1912 these holdings were under option to certain financiers of Tonopah, Nev., which have, according to reports of the mining journals, taken up ground and started operations. Most of the productive ground of the district has now been acquired by the Goldfield Consolidated Mining Co. A 500-ton cyanide mill has been built, and there is every prospect that Aurora will once again be a producing camp.
But by 1919, Aurora was officially declared a "ghost." Only four families were left.....
AURORA NOW A GHOST CITY
And then there was one...
ONLY ONE MAN REMAINS IN OLD BONANZA DISTRICT
Activity didn't stop, however..
MILL AT AURORA IS READY FOR OPERATION
As in interesting aside, the town of Mangum was created to shield miners from the evils of Aurora, of which there were plenty.
When the Aurora Consolidated Mines Company undertook to mine and mill at Aurora in the early part of the Twentieth century, one of the original company owners, Jesse Knight, did not take kindly to all the saloons and other “businesses” that blossomed overnight in old Aurora to accommodate the influx of miners and mill men. Knight built the little mining camp town of Mangum, north and over the hill from Aurora near the company’s mine and mill, declaring that no saloons would be allowed.
Significant open-pit mining began again in 1987 and a large 200 ton per day mill was installed by Nevada Consolidated Goldfield. It was expanded to 350 tons per day in 1993. The Aurora Partnership began heap-leeching the Humboldt pit in 1987 as well.
2/27/1866 - 5/14/1897 Esmeralda
|NEWSPAPER||Esmeralda Star, Aurora Weekly Times, Esmeralda Union, Esmeralda Herald, Aurora Star, Aurora Borealis|
There's nothing much left of Aurora unless you know where to look. The two cemeteries are some of the best in the west, and have some very unique headstones. There are the remains of three or four structures still standing, while the fallen remains of many more lay hidden in the tall sagebrush.
Aside from the mill, there isn't much left at Mangum, having been bulldozed and swallowed by the contemporary mining operations there. Although they appear to be closed, their fences and gates prevented us from seeing some of what we wanted to see. But not all.
Coming into Aurora from the Bodie road is a rocky, bumpy mess with the recent storms- the mining road is a lot better, and signs towards the end will conveniently point you in the right direction. Aurora is a place where you will have to bring some old photographs and maps and use your imagination a bit- but there is still plenty to see. You will probably want a high clearance vehicle.
The mill at Mangum as you come into town is large and impressive. You can still faintly see some of the streets in town, although Pine St., Esmeralda St., and Antelope St. are still prominent. Part of another mill and the wall of the electric sub station still stand. A cabin is down the road to the east, a mill down the gulch to the south, and lots of other cool stuff. We arrived at about 8 o'clock and it took us all day to explore, and we wish we had more time.