Marietta (Mineral Co.) We Visited: 4/9/2005
Our Dinner: MRE's at Columbus
38° 14' 36"N, 118° 20' 19"W USGS Teels Marsh Quad


Directions: Highway 95S from Fallon 114 miles; Turn right on SR 360 for 6 miles; turn right on local dirt road for 9.5 miles, following signs.

From Fallon: 129.5 miles

4WD or high clearance desired

What Was

Of course everyone knows that Marietta is where F.M. "Borax" Smith got his start in the borax business in 1872. But before that, they were packing salt to Virginia City on the backs of camels, and to Aurora by mule. By 1877 Marietta was a going concern. By the 1890's, they had discovered a lot more borax in Death Valley and off they went, leaving Marietta to fend for itself.

Post Office: July 1877 - July 1881
Newspaper: none

What is

It was about 7 PM by the time we had got ourselves to Marietta, so we busied ourselves exploring and taking photographs while we still had some light. Folks still live here, for reasons not revealed to us, and of course Marietta is smack dab in the middle of the 68,000 acre government feral burro range. Now, since the questions came up, a burro is a small donkey. A mule is the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. A hinny is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Prospectors liked donkeys because they get by on less food.

Marietta citizens make their living selling mule jerky and dried mule skins.

That was just to get all those PETA folks all worked up. Actually, I have no idea what they do out there, we didn't see any of them, although we did see some obviously occupied dwellings. Thanks, perhaps, to these obviously occupied dwellings, there is plenty to see in the area, most noticeably F.M. Smith's store, the giant walls of which are still standing. Definitely worth going to see, and if you're lucky you might get to chew the fat with an actual Marriettan.


What do we know about Chet? Well, he was informal, and he didn't talk much- and he certainly didn't like to waste people's time with long, drawn-out introductions.
Smith's store was seriously long, with a five foot deep cellar in the back. In the distance, the Marietta Mines.
A panorama of Marietta, with some stone ruins in the foreground, Smith's store and the Excelsior Mountains in the background.
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