Broken Hills was largely the mining operation of two men, James Stratford and Joseph Aurthur, from about 1913 to 1920. Because they got the most promising locations before anyone else got there, the town never really boomed. They sold out to a mining and investment company, which went belly up soon after. The town was active once again in 1926 after discoveries in nearby Quartz Mountain, (Paher)
Like Quartz Mountain, water had to be delivered from the Lodi Valley, some 10 miles away, and the ores mine here were mostly of the lead-silver variety. Ore was shipped 12 miles to Bruner's 50 ton mill to be worked. This may be the Mystery Mill we discovered when we were exploring near Phonolite, which I just realized is a site I never even started the page on. Oops.
Mr. Laird Wilcox writes:
I saw your entry on Broken Hills, NV. My grandparents lived there off and on from the late 1920's until 1948 when my grandmother died. My grandfather, M. C. Stromer, continued to live there for brief periods until 1952. My mother spent part of her childhood there. The 1930 U.S. Census had under 20 people there and Mom knew all of them. I was there myself intermittently from 1943 until 1945, and then again for visits until 1952. My mother and I stayed there for several months in 1944-45 when my father was in the service.
I remember the place fairly well. In the 1920s my grandfather owned and ran the only store there. He was also postmaster and Justice of the Peace. My grandmother was a schoolteacher who taught in the one-room school house, mainly to Indian children. At night with a full moon you could almost read. I have never seen the stars as bright as I did as a small boy in Broken Hills. Some of the web sites show a broken down two-seat outhouse there. I remember using that.
My grandfather is given a full chapter in Nell "Murbarger's Ghosts of the Glory Trail", published in the mid-1950s. He was the last person to live there. My father visited Broken Hills in the early 1970s. No houses were left, probably torn down for the wood, the railing around Matt Costello's grave was gone, and there was a lot of litter around, broken boards, cans, etc.
26 March 2014
Before coming upon the actual town site, there is a grave on the north side of the road. Some remarkably dull-witted individual has stolen the headstone. Mary Francis Strong writes in the September 1972 issue of Desert Magazine:
Our first stop was at a lonely hillside grave where a wrought iron fence protected the site and a simple marker stated"Matt
Costello, 1866-1926." Matt foundhis pot-of-gold at Broken Hills after spending his life prospecting with "luck"that provided merely bed and beans. He eventually located a promising claim and sold out with plans to spend his money enjoying life. This was not to be. Perhapsthe excitement of finally making it proved too much, as Matt was found dead before he had a
chance to even spend a penny. He was buried here in the country he loved by his friends. They felt he would like to be
near his big strike.
Aside from the headframe and a small contemporary (1980's) building standing at the Broken Hills Mine, there isn't much left of Broken Hills, save some scattered debris and the remains of a couple of buildings. Cow pies now dot the landscape.