Take it easy
  Thompson Smelter

39° 09' 39.3 "N, 119° 12' 12.5 "W USGS Wabuska Quad


We Visited: 2/23/2009
Our Lunch : Hot roast beef sandwiches at Clifton
We Visited:
Our Breakfast:
Eggs at the Silver Strike Casino, Silver Springs


Directions: Highway 50E from Fallon 26.4 miles; south on US 95 ALT 19 miles; west on local dirt road 0.6 miles.

From Fallon: About 46 miles.


Terminus of the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad (other stops, Wabuska, Yerington, and Ludwig, the other end of the line.) Built in 1920 by the Mason Valley Mines Company, by 1912 the smelter was treating 1,000 tons of copper ore a day. By 1914, there were several blocks of residences, stores, and shops. Paher reports a population of 350 people. Closed in 1914, re-opened in 1917, closed in 1919, re-re-opened in 1926, re-re-closed in 1928

POST OFFICE June 1911 - June 1920

I was just re-watching "Patton" the other day and, standing on the hill overlooking the Thompson Smelter, I could imagine George C. Scott explaining how the site was attacked by Roman legions in 300 AD, who then slaughtered the brave but foolish defending Smelterites. Or something like that.

It does remind one of an ancient ruin, spreading out over several acres, crumbling and deteriorating into nothingness. I'm told concrete gets stronger with age, but this is some really crappy looking stuff, mixed with lots of native rock and different, funky styles of reinforcement; looks like they were just tossing in whatever they had on hand- bedsprings, fence, or what have you. Needless to say, it's not holding up very well.

Surprisingly ungrafitti-marked, unlike some other large concrete structures like Ludwig or American Flats. Very easy to get to as well, it's right off the highway.

Here is a video flyby.

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