|Black Knob Mill (Churchill Co.)|
N39.44454 W118.28335 - LA PLATA CANYON QUAD
|VISITED||We Visited: March 2003 and January 31, 2015
Our Breakfast: Omelets at Courtyard Cafe & Bakery, Fallon
Our Lunch: Burgers at Middlegate Station, the one station we have no trouble locating
|DIRECTIONS|| Head east on U.S. 50 for 40 miles to Dixie Valley; turn left (north) on Dixie Valley Rd and travel 8.3 miles; turn left (west) on dirt road and travel up Eleven Mile Canyon for 7.0 miles.
From Fallon: 55.3 miles
There was (and possibly still is) some discussion about whether or not La Plata- the second county seat of Churchill County- had a court house or a mill. The facts seem to sway in the direection of a court house, with any milling duties being performed by the mill in nearby Eleven Mile Canyon at Black Knob.
"The thing that first catches one's eye when approaching La Plata is the sight of the remaining stone walls of a large building on a small hill where the road/canyon forks. As stated earlier, there have been numerous questions posed as to whether this was teh courthouse or if the courthouse had been a wooden structure which was torn down and moved. It is my understanding that Shamberger asked I.H. Kent, who has operated a large cattle ranch in the canyon for many years, about the function of this prominent stone building. He said that Mr. Kent stated emphatically that "the building in question had been the courthouse during the period that La Plata had been the county seat. Kent said he first saw La Plata in 1919 and at that time the building was in good condition; the roof was on and the doors and windows were in place. Although some speculated that this large stone ruin had been a mill used for the processing of ore, Mr. Kent had stated that 'he knew for a fact' that no mill was ever situated in or near La Plata! He said ore was originally hauled to a smelter in bernice, about thirty-five miles away, and that when a mill was built at Black knob, about three miles away, then the La Plata ore was hauled there for treatment."
There isn't a whole heck of a lot here. Stone ruins, red bricks, and what appears to be crushed ore marks the spot at the entrance to a small canyonn which is home to Black Knob Spring. It's an easy drive up the canyon. Personally, we don't think the stone ruins here was the mill; the think the mill itself is long gone. But we're just two goofballs in a Jeep- what do we know?
The only mention I could find of Black Knob is a newspaper article from the Reno Evening Gazette from August 26th, 1922, about someone who merely passed by. This does not bode well for the Black Knob Mill Chamber of Commerce's efforts to put their little location on the map.
There were a couple of junked, abandoned Jeeps there back in 2002- gone in 2015. Someone must have seen some potential.