4WD or high clearance desired

41.226770, -115.059909 - METROPOLIS quad

VISITED 9/8/2014 Our Breakfast : Biscuits and gravy at Angel Creek Campground
9/7/2014 Our Lunch : Burgers at The Pig BBQ & Pub in Winnemucca
DIRECTIONS From Fallon: North on US 95 for 33 miles to I-80; East on I-80 for 268 miles to Wells, NV; North on Humboldt Avenue for 0.9 miles; Turn right onto 7th St, Take the 1st left toward 8th St, continue onto 8th St for 2 miles; slight right on Metropolis Rd for 3.1 miles; slight left on country road 3 miles; right on BLM road for 6 miles.
From Fallon:
281 miles

In 1910 the Pacific Reclmation Company decided to "reclaim" about 40,000 acres of desert land by building a dam on Bishop Creek, using the water to create a new farming district.

The Pacific Reclamation Co. is planning to reclaim 50,000 acres of land near Elko, Nevada, by building large storage reservoirs in the northern part of the county.
-Pacific Rural Press, May 13, 1911

By 1912 the company had constructed the present earth-rock fill dam on Bishop Creek with a storage capacity of 30,000 acre-feet, and a diversion canal with the intention of irrigating 30,000 acres of land. 
-Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

After completing the dam, the company heavily promoted the area, and the LDS church encouraged its members to move there. By 1912, several large buildings were built by the company, including an amusement hall, a post office, a school, and a large hotel. A railroad spur was constructed and a train station was built, with regular passenger service. The population grew to about 700.

Southern Pacific Opens Eight Mile Branch to Metropolis, Nevada
THE Southern Pacific company has just opened a new branch line in Nevada from Wells to the new town of Metropolis. The line branches off the main track at Tulasco, a siding just below Wells, and runs north for a distance of eight miles. The town Metropolis is the result of an irrigation and reclamation project operated by the Pacific Reclamation Company. Beginning February I5, the Southern Pacific company will run a daily
train to the latest city to blossom from the sagebrush. It will leave Wells at 1:30 o'clock every afternoon, reaching Metropolis an hour later.
-The San Francisco Call, January 26, 1912

Unfortunately, the Pacific Reclamation Company failed to do its homework and neglected to secure water rights. A lawsuit by farmers in Lovelock put a damper on the plans to irrigate with water from the dam.

Beginning in 1912, however, problems with water rights on Bishop, Burnt and Trout creeks had dramatically reduced available irrigable lands to only 3,000 acres. Attempts at dryland farming, the first time this had been tried on any significant scale in Nevada, proved disastrous.
-Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

Many farmers tried dry farming wheat, and because of above average precipitation, were successful at first. Then the problems began. Rainfall slacked off from 1914 through 1918. A typhoid epedemic swept through town in February of 1916. Farmers killed coyotes, and the rabbit population soared. Mormon crickets and grasshoppers ate crops. The Pacific Rural Press reported:

A very successful campaign against rodents in the Metropolis section of Elko county this year has given such sucess that the farmers are now formulating plans for another drive next spring.
-Pacific Rural Press, December 4, 1920

Still, farmers enjoyed some success.

The dairy industry in the Metropolis district is steadily growing in production and in the number of dairy cattle. Nearly every rancher in the section is milking from four to twenty cows. The cream is shipped via Wells to Elko.
-Pacific Rural Press, December 4, 1920

But by then, the Pacific Reclamation Co. declared bankruptcy. The population dropped, and rail service was discontinued a couple of years later. By 1925, the amusement hall and hotel had burned, and the last store had shut its doors. The post office finally closed in 1942, and by 1950 Metropolis was a ghost town, surrounded by ranches.

POST OFFICE November 24, 1911 - December 10, 1942
NEWSPAPER Metropolis Chronicle

The roads to Metropolis are all smooth, locally used roads so you'll have no trouble getting there at all.

The ruins of the Lincoln School and the Metropolis Hotel are prominent, as is the graveyard. Aside from a concrete foundation or two, not much else is left. You can also visit the dam, some miles to the east, that was supposed to turn the area into a farming paradise.

Be careful exploring the ruins as they are falling down, and large slabs of concrete on top of you will ruin your day in a hurry.


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