Discoveries in the Mahnattan area date from 1865, but serious work there did not commence until 1905 through 1947. Nearby Belmont produced mainly silver, while Manhattan produced mainly gold.
In April, 1905, John C. Humphrey discovered ore rich in free gold
in the crystalline limestone on April Fool Hill, only about 100 feet from the road from Belmont to Cloverdale. The conservatism
of the average prospector is shown by the fact that for 40 years " specimen ore" had thus been lying unnoticed close to a well traveled
road. At about the same time silver-bearing lead ore was
found near the now abandoned camp of Palo Alto.
In August after the discovery there was a rush of prospectors, but
the camp was later deserted, though it filled up again the following
winter. In March, 1906, there were 3.000 people in Manhattan
and the immediate vicinity.
During 1906 the district was in a state of great excitement, rich discoveries
were constantly being reported, and people streamed in
from all over the country. Besides Manhattan there were three other
towns East Manhattan, Central, and Palo Alto. Today only tin cans
mark the site of Palo Alto, and two or three shacks are all that
is left of Central and East Manhattan.
-UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
GEOLOGY AND ORE DEPOSITS OF THE
HENRY G. FERGUSON, 1924
MANHATTAN ON MAP TO STAY - Camp Attracts Capital and Workers - Several Good Strikes Reported During the Week— New Companies Organized — Mercantile Section Has Doubled
The enlargement of this camp by recent discoveries and the multiplication of actual producing mines is the feature of the week. J. W. Higgle, now of Manhattan, formerly engaged in the mining business in Colorado, Montana, and Arizona and a thorough mining man in every sense of the word, has returned from a personal examination of a group of claims located three miles east of Manhattan, owned by the Consolidated Manhattan Mining company, a corporation just organized for the sale of stock. He is very enthusiastic about the property, saying that there are at least a dozen ledges crossing this ground and that several of them carry gold from the grass roots. The town continues to attract capitalists and investors, as well as practical mining men. A newspaper, the Mail, has been established. The mercantile section has doubled in capacity in two weeks' time. Much building is going on of a permanent type. The camp of Manhattan is on the map and here to stay.
-Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 197, 15 April 1906
Of course, all that activity resulted in crime...
HOLDUP SECURES ONLY $57
Covers Bartender of Manhattan, Nev.,
Saloon With Gun, but Over, looks $10,000
By Associated Press.
MANHATTAN, Nev.. June 4.— This morning at 6 o'clock an unmasked robber entered the Gold Wedge saloon gambling house and robbed the till of $57.
He asked the bartender to loan him $3 and when the latter refused, drew a revolver and ordered him and five others to hold up their hands.
He evidently was an amateur, as he was greatly excited : and overlooked $10,000 In an open safe two feet away. He backed half way across the room and in his excitement turned his back on the crowd and walked out. He has not yet been captured.
-Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 248, 5 June 1906
The weather often was hazardous....
Killed by Falling Roof
MANHATTAN, Nev., Feb. 23.—The roof on the Morasci building collapsed today from the weight of snow. Tony Sofaroni was killed. The building had been used recently by the women of the Catholic church for Sunday school purposes and for social meetings. Had the roof fallen ten minutes earlier about fifty women would have been killed or injured, as a meeting of the ladies had just adjourned.
-Los Angeles Herald, Volume 36, Number 146, 24 February 1909
And as civilized as Manhattan was, it was still in the middle of nowhere...
Woman Found Lost on Desert
RENO, Nev., Oct. 20—Mrs. J. Fenton, aged about 50, and claiming Reno as her home, was found wandering on the desert near Manhattan yesterday and is in critical condition. She was nearly famished and said she had not eaten in three days. She exhibited signs of dementia and professed to be tasting purposely. She had as a solitary companion a collie dog, which refused to leave her and savagely attacked the men who came to her aid.
-Los Angeles Herald, Volume 37, Number 20, 21 October 1909
Manhattan isn't a ghost town, but it ain't a regular town either. I'm sure if you tried to make off with something you'd find yourself dealing with some angry Manhattanites, although that didn't stop someone from siphoning gasoline out of one of our van's tanks. You could conceivably stumble into this town for nourishment and a place to sleep, as there is a bar/grocery store or two and what looked like a motel. Didn't see any gasoline, though- which might be why someone stole ours while we were parked a few miles away. Anyway...
There is lots to see and do, both in the Manhattan area and the outskirts. If we had had more gas we would have looked around more. The White Caps Mine is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, as are several historic sites. Belmont is just down the road.
Present population seems to be about 100 to 125. The Manhattan Bar and Motel, and the Miner's Saloon seem to be in operation. Sarah in Las Vegas says of the Manhattan Bar and Motel:
New owners John & Mary are congenial hosts @ this locals hotspot,which features satellite TV ,Internet jukebox,pooltable ,gaming and full size stuffed wildcat presiding over all. More important is the welcome you'll receive,and the conversation you can strike up-patrons are friendly and talkative,especially about local history,which is extensive for this mining outpost established in 1905. Just steps away is a surpisingly upscale mini hotel with a convenient laundromat for all the mud you may aquire hiking,ATVing or just chasing after the attentive pooches who hang about in and out of the bar.