Ellsworth (Nye County) We Visited: 12 July 2003
Our Dinner: Middlegate Cafe - steak sandwiches
38 58' 23"N, 117 45' 21"W - ELLSWORTH quad

Directions: Highway 50E from Fallon 47 miles to Middlegate and the junction of Highway 361; Turn S on SR361 for 29.9 miles; left on SR844; east on SR844 for 8.8 miles; left on forest road, head north for 7 miles.

From Fallon: 65.7 miles

What Was

The Ellsworth district was organized in 1863 during the Civil War. The district includes Ellsworth and the smaller camp of Marble Falls. Ellsworth actually included the camp of Ellsworth and a rival camp called Upper Weston (also kown as Summit City) which developed nearby. In the early 1870's a mill was completed which increased activity in the area. Supplies were freighted in from Wadsworth over a toll road.

ELLSWORTH is in Mammoth District, thirty miles south of the old overland road through the Cold Spring range of mountains, and about twelve miles westerly from lone. It contains a post-office and stage station. Ore was discovered in 1863 by the Indians, and in 1864, Sam. McKeon, A. T. Hatch, and others, organized a district. The town was started soon afterwards, but its growth was slow and discouraging until 1870, when a ten-stamp mill was built. Its population then increased to 200, and it became very lively. Since 1874 the mill has been operated only a portion of the time, and the population of the town has dwindled down to twenty persons, including six miners. The quartz veins are found in a formation of granite, which runs northeast and southwest, the veins running with it and dipping to the west at an angle of forty-five degrees. The ores are mostly free-milling, and average about 1100 to the ton. The principal mines are the Peoria, Morning Call, General Lee, Silver Wave, Mount Vernon and Lisbon. The greatest depth of shaft is in the Mount Vernon, 180 feet. When the mill was in operation, Indians were employed at the pans, settlers, concentrators and furnaces, with a couple of white men to oversee them, and proved very efficient laborers. The cost of wood delivered at the mills, has usually been three dollars and a quarter per cord. Salt is worth thirty-five dollars per ton. Water for the mill is obtained from a forty-foot well. Some very rich ore has been taken from the Esta Buena Mine, located and owned by Don Manuel San Pedro, of Grantsville. Some of it has gone as high as $1,600 per ton. Several tons worked in the mill yielded $325 each. The nearest railroad point is Austin, sixty-five miles to the. northeast. Freight is brought from Wadsworth at the rate of fifty dollars per ton. - History of Nevada 1881

Post Office: 1866-1884

Newspaper: none

What is

We were under the impression, from the map software that came with my Garmin GPS, that the road from Craig Station to Ellsworth still existed. It doesn't. So be prepared for some serious four wheeling if you want to take the traditional route to this town, which is from Downeyville past Craig Station on a generally E and NE heading.

The rest of you can take the route described at the top of this page, which is much more pleasant, I assure you.

Ellsworth didn't seem to have much trouble with a water supply, as there are apparently springs all over the place. In fact, the water was still running in one of the toilets. Pulling up to the first group of buildings gives you the very eerie impression that you should call out and ask if anyone is there- some of the buildings are still standing and in pretty good shape. My guess is that some of these buildings were built much later than the boom time for this camp- in fact, some of the additions appear to be within the last ten or twenty years. Definitely an interesting camp with many things to explore. I hesitate to add that it seems like it would make an excellent camp site, if only people would pick up after themselves and not be so distructive, if you get the hint, you vandal, you.

There is a forest service road that goes through here, and it's pretty tame, so there should be no problem with low clearance vehicles. That could change instantly, of course.

June 2007 UPDATE: Special Forgotten Nevada Field Operative Don. C. reports that some brain-damaged cretins have stolen the gates. You'd think that a person might be smart enough to realize that it would be easier to make a similar gate, rather than steal these and haul them 100 miles, but the people that do this kind of thing aren't exactly known for their intellect. For these people, I give you The Ghost Town Curse.


This white stone building must have been something important- a store or ...?
One of the first gated communities in Nevada
This cozy fireplace was added recently.
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