|Eureka (including Vanderbilt, Ruby Hill, Geddes, Pinto, Napias)|
N 39.512343° W115.960911° Eureka, NV Quad
|VISITED||September 10, 2014
September 21, 2018
August 10, 2019
Our breakfast: Jerry's in Fallon
Our lunch: Pony Express Deli in Eureka
Take US 50 east from Fallon for 180 miles
From Fallon: 180 miles
OK, so Eureka isn't a ghost town per se, but it's one of Nevada's most significant mining areas and there is a ton of stuff here, not to mention the remains of several minor mining camps. First, a little history:
The town of Eureka is situated in the county of Eureka, in the eastern part of the State, ninety-one miles south of Palisade Station, on the Central Pacific Railroad, with which is is connected by a narrow gauge railroad. This road was built and equipped without aid from either State or county. It has nowhere a grade of over 100 feet to the mile, and is reported to have cost something more than $1,000,000.
And another brief history...
Ore was first discovered in this district in 1864, in New York Cañon, near the present "76" mine, and a company was organized in New York to work the mines, under the direction of Major McCoy, one of the pioneers of the region. These discovery claims, although producing some rich ore, were shortly abandoned and the district remained uninhabited until the latter part of 1868 or the beginning of 1869, at which time Major McCoy recommenced mining operations on what is called Mineral hill, an elevation situated a short distance south of Ruby Hill. In the same year, some men in his employ located Champion and Buckeye claims on the southwest side of Ruby Hill, and shortly afterwards the Richmond and Tip-Top ground was taken up. Mr. G. Colloer Robbins, in the early part of 1870, succeeded in smelting ores from the Champion and Buckeye, if not with profit, at any rate with satisfactory metallurgical results. This induced Messrs. Buel and Bateman to bond these mines and organize the Eureka Consolidated Mining Company of San Francisco. Furnaces were then built near what now forms the north end of the town of Eureka,a nd active operations began upon the claims of the company.
Still later the Tip-Top and Richmond claims were sold by Messrs. Dunn and English to a company in London, and smelting works were erected, under the supervision of Mr. English, at the south end of the town. The Jackson and Phoenix companies were also incorporated in San Francisco about this time, and the explorations, which have since resulted in the production of such large amounts of lead, silver, and gold from these properties began in earnest. The maryland and other mines in Silverado District, 16 miles southeast of Eureka, were being opened during this period by an English company, and a large mill was being built at Pinto. The Page & Corwin and the Geddes & Bertrand mines in Secret Cañon, south of Eureka, had been producing rich ore since 1869, and a mill was also built on the spot where the present leeching works stand. Secret Cañon at this time formed part of Eureka District, but has since been severed from it. Mr. Robbins was also developing the Kentuck and Mountain Boy claims about fifteen miles west of Eureka.
It is not necessary to follow the history of Eureka through all the vicissitudes which are incident to the growth of such towns; suffice to say that in the course of twelve years this mining camp has been twice partially washed away by floods, once ravaged by the small-pox, and twice almost completely destroyed by fire, but remains to-day, after thirteen years of prosperity, one of the most productive mining towns on the Pacific Slope.
The number of inhabitants of the district is at present in the neighborhood of 6,000, but, as in other mining camps, a close estimate is very difficult owing to the floating character of the population.
There are 50 producing mines in the Eureka district at the present time and thrice that number could be made productive at a very small outlay. Every share of the Eureka Consolidated (50,000 shares) purchased in 1871 has returned a profit of $82 to the stockholders. The Richmond, only 900 feet in depth, has already returned nearly $3,00,000 in profits. Of the amount invested in the district by outside capitalists, $800,000 has come from England and about $400,000 from the Pacific Coast and other points in the United States. The value of the Eureka mines, as shown by (stock) quotations, is $55,000,555. Ten thousand dollars per month would more than cover the amount paid in prospecting non-dividend-paying mines, and still the district has yielded in gross $68,000,000, has paid over $7,000,000 in dividends, and its bullion production is constantly and rapidly increasing.
Mining began on a small scale in the mid to late 1860's, with the difficult-to-process ore being shipped to Austin. Later, however, smelters began to be constructed locally, allowing ore to be processed without shipping. Towards the end of 1869, about 100 people lived in the area, with most mining activity taking place around Adams Hill, immediately west of the present town site, and McCoy Hill, about 2 miles SW of town.
Lawsuits between The Eureka Consolidated and the Richmond Mining companies began in 1871 weren't decided for another ten years when they finally reached the Supreme Court. Despite that, Eureka continued to grow. In 1875, the railroad connected Eureka and made it into an important shipping point for the entire area, not to mention giving it an easy way to transport its refined ores.
Eureka had its share of fires and floods, like many mining towns of Nevada. But mining activity continued hot and heavy throughout the 1870's. In the 1880's, water began to creep into some of the mines and ore supplies began to run out.
By 1890, ore was depleted to the point where the Richmond Company abandoned its smelter and the Eureka Company followed suit the next year. In 1906 both properties were consolidated by the U.S. Smelting, Refining, and Mining Co. which made shipments of ore up to 1910. Bad rain storms then washed out the railroad spur to the mine and operations were suspended. Small efforts were made in the 1920's and 1930's to open some of the mines, but not much ore was retrieved. The railroad was started up again in 1912 and ran until 1938.
Although Eureka was primarily known as a lead producer, more than half the value has been in gold and silver.
Prospect formed in the mid 1880's around the various mines, mills, and smelters in the area. At one time they had enough folks living there that by 1893 they got themselves a post office, but it only lasted until 1918. They did have stage service, a saloon, and their own school. Shawn Hall's book puts it two and a half miles down New York Canyon, but the USGS and Map Source puts it on the other side of Prospect Mountain. Stan Paher says 5 miles south of Eureka off Secret Canyon Rd. in one book, and agrees with the USGS in another.
Vanderbilt (also known as Geddes) formed in Secret Canyon at the same time Eureka was starting to boom. Many folks left for Eureka but some stayed-- enough to put up a post office in 1871. Major mining and milling activity in the area kept it going, but after the mill burned everyone lost interest and by 1873 it was basically a ghost. renewed activity by the Geddes and Bertrand Co. caused interest to increase and the post office reopened. It closed again a few years later, but activity continued until a fire burned the mill and furnace in 1886.
Pinto burned bright and fast. There were some discoveries in the mid 1860's but despite its mines, there was a lot of smelting activity for Eureka's output. There were stores, saloons, a school, and other businesses. A post office opened in 1875, but with the construction of smelters and mills closer to Eureka, the town was already dying. By 1884 it was a ghost. Location of this one is all over the map as well. Going to assume it's on the main road to Eureka near the Pinto Mill. If we're wrong, go ahead and sue us.
Rice's Station (Spring Valley Station) Can't find any information on this, only a few map clues as to its location. Gonna guess it was run by a guy named "Rice" at some point.
A few newsy items ....
Much sickness in Ruby Hill, Eureka
And the furnaces start operating...
FROM EUREKA NEVADA
The Jackson furnaces, leased by the Phoenix Company, commenced smelting today. This makes three furnaces in full blast for that Company. Weather showery to-day.
FROM EUREKA NEVADA
The Eureka mine is busy
MINES IN EUREKA, NEVADA
A CAVE AND LOSS OF LIFE
TELEGRAPH TO EUREKA NEVADA
More good new s....
The work of setting up the new locomotive of the Eureka and Ruby Hill Narrow-gauge Railroad was completed last Saturday, and on Sunday made a trial trip over the road.
Like most mining camps, there were a few legal disagreements. This one made it to the Supreme Court.
REJOICING AT EUREKA, NEVADA
All the wells on the Richmond side of Ruby Hill have gone dry. It is supposed that the action of the Eureka Consolidated Company in turning its water to the east has caused the failure.
A telephone connects Eureka with Ruby Hill.
For sale - one church- cheap!
The Methodist Church at Ruby Hill is in a bad way. The Rev. Philo Phelps fell in love with one fair woman of his flock. Unhappily for the pastor, the fair woman had a husband, who, it appears, is an ungodly man and a total abstainer from church, and was exceedingly wroth thereat. So, being an ungodly person, he procured the key of the church, locked the door, and fastened the windows, so that no services have since been held. The congregation has become so demoralized that they offer the church for sale.
You can tell the ore is running out and people are getting restless...
There are probably 500 idle men in the town of Ruby Hill waiting for something to turn up, says the Eureka Leader. Eureka seems to be the Mecca of unemployed men.
Says the Eureka Leader: Ruby Hill claims the belt on a 7 year old who has smoked and chewed tobacco for the past three years, drinks more whiskey that a Richmond miner, and swears like a trooper.
Mars Needs Women! I mean, Eureka.
UNMARRIED LADIES IN DEMAND
Mining is dangerous!
Martis Farrell, who fell from the Ruby Hill Train Wednesday and received such a severe concussion of the spine as to completely paralyze him below the nipples, is reported by the County Physician as still alive, but it is doubtful.
Things have slowed down now, but there is still some activity...
All the machinery for the new mill of Geddes and Bertrand, at Eureka, has arrived at the works, and will be put in place as fast as possible. the mill will probably be completed by the 15th of June next.
Good to know...
On Ruby Hill, there are three dogs to every human being.
Former manager of the Geddes Mill decides it's too much to go on.
IS THIS TRUE?
Oooh... did we find something?
The Eureka Sentinel says: Very good rumors concerning the mining situation at Secret Canyon were afloat on the streets yesterday. It is said that two bodies of ore have been discovered in the Geddes and Bertrand mine during the past ten days.
A MINER'S TERRIBLE DEATH
What's going on in Prospect, I wonder...
HEAVY ROCK BLOWN THROUGH WINDOW
A minor boom
At Eureka there is a remarkable boom. The sale of the Eureka Consolidated and Richmond to the U.S. Smelting and Mining Company and the proposed extension of the Eureka and Palisade Railway to the mines has galvanized life into the noted old place and people are going back there to try fortune another whirl. No one is leaving Eureka now. They have an abiding faith that the old camp will again become a big producer.
Eureka county is also coming to the front. Two hundred tons of low grade ore is now being shipped each day from Ruby Hill to the Salt Lake smelters. This is giving work to a large force of men.
A report from the state:
At present there is little doing outside the Eureka Windfall and the Cyanide. The Windfall is located five miles east of Eureka and is a free-milling gold property. It is worked through a 500 vertical two compartment shaft. The ore is hoisted in a skip by a 50-horsepower gasoline hoist and trammed to the 120-ton mill adjacent to the mine. This property has been one of the mainstays of the camp and at present is working 90 men in mine and mill. The Cyanide group lies two and one-half miles west of Eureka. It is worked through a 297-foot two-compartment vertical shaft, one compartment if which is used for a manway. The property is equipped with an 18-horsepower gasoline engine, safety crosshead and 7/8" inch cable. Working five men.
The state of the Lincoln Highway..
Lincoln Highway In Best Condition, Reports Show
And things gradually simmer down and begin to fizzle...
There are only about 25 leasers working at Ruby Hill and other small crews and groups of leasers working elsewhere in the vicinity of Eureka. The holly mine, which was employing about one hundred men, closed down last spring.
The trustees of the Eureka consolidated school district have advertised for sale the ancient Ruby Hill school house, a building well-remembered by many people in Nevada who are now grown up. The Ruby Hill-Holly mine district was consolidated with the Eureka town school in 1926. Five pupils reside at the Holly, but none at Ruby Hill.
Like many mining camps if the day, Eureka was never a stranger to fire.
FIRE AT EUREKA, NEVADA MINES
FIRE AT EUREKA, NEVADA
EUREKA NEVADA BURNED
EUREKA NEVADA BURNED
The hoisting works of the Wales Consolidated Mine at Eureka, Nev. burned Saturday night. The miners escaped by another outlet.
A BOARDING HOUSE BURNED
A Destructive fire broke out about 12:30 o'clock this morning at Ruby Hill, destroying eighteen buildings, stores, saloons, dwellings, and miner's cabins within one hour. Loss about $20,000, insurance, $5,550. The fire originated in the southeast portion of the town, and soon communicated from building to buildings. There being no water or fire apparatus, only a determined effort of the people in tearing down small houses stopped the flames, as the reached a large two story frame lodging house known as Sweeny's Hotel. The fire was the work of an incendiary, and a strict investigation is being made.
Three two-story buildings were burned in Chinatown at Eureka, Nev. Monday night. James Hughes accidentally shot and killed himself near Eureka, Nev. yesterday
JUL 9th- A fire in Eureka, Nev. burned twenty houses and caused heavy losses
VALUABLE MILL BURNED
FIRE DAMAGES OLD MINE
Nor was it a stranger to crime and mayhem and quackery and other tomfoolery...
ROBBERS IN EUREKA, NEVADA
THEFT AT EUREKA NEVADA
Stabbing Affair at Eureka, Nevada.
GUILTY OF QUACKERY
On Monday night a man named H. Green was seriously if not fatally stabbed at Ruby Hill by J. Rowett. The parties are both miners, and the weapon used by the latter was a miner's candlestick.
Denny Ryan, shot by Abe Randolph on Ruby Hill on Saturday night, dies last night.
The stabs received by Charles Lynn, of Ruby Hill, Eureka, caused his death last Thursday
At last Saturday's primaries on Ruby Hill, says the Eureka (Nev.) Leader, a few words passed between one of the judges and a worker on the outside. Both felt aggrieved at what had been said, and concluded that they would settle the affair with pistols at ten paces. On Sunday last, accompanied by their seconds, they adjourned to Cariboo Flat. On arriving, Parker, of the Albion Mine, paced off the ground and stationed his men. Just as the word was to have been given a tin bucket was placed behind each combatant, as Park said, to catch the blood. This frightened the warriors, and by the intercession of friends the two gentlemen were induced to postpone their conflict.
Ruby Hill - September 23, 1873 - November 30, 1901
* Former name of Eureka, name likely never adopted
Eureka Weekly Sentinel
The Eureka sentinel. (Eureka, Nev.) 1870-1871
Eureka Daily leader
The Eureka Evening Leader
Eureka Daily Leader
The Republican Press
Eureka Tri-Weekly Standard
Ruby Hill Mining News
Ruby Hill Mining Report
First off, our apologies for having Eureka under the heading of "Ghost Town." It is not a ghost town. People live, work, and play here. It is a thriving, active community. Eureka County welcomes ranching, agricultural, mining, and new industries with no existing zoning ordinances, very low property tax rates and no business licensing. Its populace did not reproduce from alien pods, as near as we can tell. The ones we came into contact with were friendly and helpful with our exploration plans, particularly Scott at Raine's Market, which earned the title "Official General Store for Forgotten Nevada When We're Near Eureka" with their outstanding supply of food and general store items. We also have to thank the affable and accommodating Rich McKay, another Eureka resident whose family history goes back many many decades, and who graciously took time out of his weekend to allow us to poke around and take pictures.
We've included some photos of the Ruby Hill area, the Courthouse and the Opera House, which Patty was gracious enough to show us around, and what I'm pretty sure is the old county hospital. Not even anywhere near a complete record. There is so much to see and do in Eureka that this will no doubt always be a work in progress.