Columbus (Esmeralda Co.) We Visited: 4/9/2005
Our Dinner: MRE's at Columbus
38° 06' 37"N, 118° 01' 09"W USGS Columbus Quad

Directions: Highway 95S from Fallon 126 miles; Turn W on dirt road for 5 miles.

From Fallon: 131 miles

4WD or high clearance desired

What Was

The official State of Nevada hysterical marker mentions that the tale of Columbus begins in 1865, when a quartz mill was erected at the site. In 1871, their version goes, William Troop discovered the borax deposits. It was the only source of water for quite a ways, which is surprising if you've been there. It's said that people came all the way from Candelaria to get some, until Candelarians finally got smart and laid a pipe from Trail Canyon.

By about 1875, the population was about 1000 people, a post office, and several business establishments. By 1881, borax activity had pretty much come to an end, and the mill ceased operations shortly thereafter.

Post Office: April 1866 - Feb 1871; April 1871 - March 1899
Newspaper: The Borax Miner

What is

It was cold and windy when we arrived, and about lunch time, so we were thankful for the remains of a few wooden buildings next to which we could take shelter and enjoy our meal.

I saw a reference to there being a graveyard with about 200 graves, but I kind of doubt it, since that would imply, to my way of thinking, a much larger city. But hey, what do I know. We didn't bother to look, because I forgot, so if anyone happens to stumble across it to see the one remaining headstone, why, give me a shout and maybe a focused picture or two.

There are a few buildings and remains left. However, upon further reflection I would say that Columbus is worth more than the cursory glance that we gave it.

UPDATE - July 24, 2006: Which is apparently what Mr. Robert Lucia did when he visited, since he found the cemetery.

It lies almost due north of where your pictures were taken following a dirt road towards the mountains about a mile.It is very difficult to see from where you were because of the wood crosses blending  in to the background. There is a fence around the cemetery and the fact that the wood crosses are still standing leads me to believe that they were constructed long after the town went dead itself.
 
I got a rough count of the crosses and there are between 70 and 80 so I believe your hunch is accurate.

Mr. Lucia and I agree that this cemetery may have been used after the town's heyday, or at least the markers were replaced- since wooden markers would probably not still be standing for 125 years. But stranger things have happened out in the desert...


This stone and wood building is holding up real fine.
This stone building is falling down.
The elusive cemetery. Photo courtesy Mr. Robert Lucia.
Quite the basement in the rear of the stone and wood building.
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