|Bonita (Nye Co.)|
|VISITED|| June 6, D-DAY, 2015
Our Breakfast: Eggs at Jerry's in Fallon
Our Dinner: Burgers at Top-Gun in Fallon
From Fallon: East on U.S 50 for 107 miles; turn south onto SR 722 for 36 miles; head west on local dirt roads for about 6.3 miles.
This is listed in many ghost town books and web sites as a mining camp and/or stage stop on the Ione - Austin Stage Road. It's location is ambiguous-- according to the USGS- allegedly up Bonita Canyon. Their source of info is Shawn Hall's book, believe it or not. Other, less detailed maps show it to be at the mouth of the canyon or on the Reese River road. There is a USGS marker called "Bonita" down this main road, where a stage stop would logically be, since a location up Bonita canyon would be seriously out of the way. No one seems to really know where it is. So we went looking for info.
The road from Austin to Ione and Grantsville was an important one.
of wagons a month traveled eastward along
the Central Overland Trail bringing supplies
from California, which would then be
distributed out of Austin. From 1863 to
1868, Austin was the supply center for
central Nevada, servicing Ione, Grantsville,
White Pine, and dozens of other camps.
Huge quantities of freight flowed into the
community, and then on to the outlying
So the freight road was most heavily used well before the time Bonita came into being in 1906 or 1907. We think that is when it was established because
1907 January 24
1907 April 27
1907 February 13
Well, you may THINK you're getting a post office......
1907 March 23
John F. Bowler's wife was named Emma, so this is probably how the Emma Bowler Mining District referred to in several articles got its name.
1907 April 6
There was still a little activity even after its "heyday," but it doesn't appear that it was ever exactly a rip-snortin' mining camp.
1908 July 13
First mention of another nearby camp. The article mentions "Elaine," which you will see is spelled in various ways in upcoming articles. Could it be the site where the Ward Mine is?
BONITA DISTRICT HAS SPLENDID PROPERTIES
Some more location clues. Several newspaper accounts mention Bonita's location in the Emma Bowler mining district. He was thirty-eight years old in the 1910 census, living most likely at the Bowler Ranch (now on the Yomba Indian Reservation south of the O'Toole Ranch) with his wife, two daughters Clara and Gladys, and his mother Ellen, and three ranch hands, John M Shirk, Charles M Marley, and Manuel Noya. By 1930 Gladys was listed as a public school teacher living in the Smokey Valley census precinct, John and Emma still lived at the ranch. By 1940, both Glydys and John and Emma had moved to Fallon, Nevada. John died September 12, 1950; Emma passed away October 24, 1958, and Gladys died October 27, 2002. All are interred at the cemetary in Fallon.
1908 September 19
1908 November 7
Where is "Ullaine?" The 1910 census lists "Eullaine Camp" in the same census district [#53] at "Ione Village" and "Reese River Road," with its only inhabitants being the James Ward Family and a George Brownlee. The USGS's Geographic Names Information System has no listing for either spelling. It gets a brief mention in the news of the day but no clue to its location.
1908 October 3
By 1912, Bonita was probably deserted and on its way to being forgotten.
1912 September 1
Now, the problem with Bonita is that the canyon in which it supposedly sits is about five miles from the road that runs from Ione to Austin.
From 2 to 3 miles southeast if Ione on the west side of the Shoshone range are the quicksilver properties of the Mercury and the Shoshone mining companies These were visited by the writer in 1910 and a paper is in preparation describing them The deposits lie in Shamrock and Sheep canyons respectively which are the first two canyons on the west side of the range immediately south of Ione canyon a low depression in the range through which passes the stage road from Austin and the Reese river valley near its head to Ione and the Ione Valley lying between the Shoshone and Paradise ranges to the West The mountain ranges and valleys lie almost due north and south
To road from Ione runs directly east through Ione Canyon and exits from the valley and turns north, past Bonita Canyon, where Bonita reportedly sits over five and a half miles from the main road. There is and-- as far as I can tell-- never was-- a road that runs through from the east side of the Shoshone range through Bonita Canyon, so one would have to detour off the main road to get to it.
However, a 1963 Nevada D.O.T. map of Nye County places Bonita right smack dab on the main road, actually well south of Bonita Canyon, at approximately 39.00754 N 117.46545 W. There is also a USGS benchmark there, placed in 1954 and named "Bonita." It's not far from another stage stop on the Ione-Austin stage road- Glen Hamilton- itself a mystery as to exact location. There is probably not a reason for another station to be so close- a little over three miles away.
Bonita managed to get itself set up for a post office in August of 1907 with a Mr. Snyder named as Postmaster, but it was quickly rescinded by March of 1908. That means it never had a post office. The beautiful and talented Jenny Lynch, Historian and Corporate Information Services Manager for the United States Postal Service, said in personal correspondence, "Hi! According to the “Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832 - September 30, 1971,” the order establishing the Bonita Post Office was rescinded on March 19, 1908 (see excerpt from record below). This means that the Bonita Post Office did not operate. ...Rescinded” means the order was abolished and never took effect. Historically, the official postal term for closing an active office was 'discontinue.'”
Now, the Post Office isn't going to just start putting post offices any old which place. It needs to know exactly where they are before they even consider it. That's why they have Site Location Reports of Post Offices, 1837–1950 available to look at. It's all on microfilm, and the library hasn't yet responded to our requests to look at it.
So,our opinionated guess- it was a short-lived mining camp in Bonita Canyon. Or, there were two Bonitas which existed at totally different times. The first was a stage stop on the road, and the second was a mining camp in the canyon.
August 2, 1907 - Rescinded March 19, 1908
This is a beautiful spot for a ghost town, mining camp or or what have you. But a cursory examination of where we think it was revealed two pieces of wood-- and that's it. Nice place to visit though. We've included some stuff from nearby canyons just so you have some photos to look at.