Unionville (Pershing County) We Visited: 3-24-04
Our Lunch: The Pizza Factory - Lovelock
40 26' 44"N, 118 07' 15"W Unionville Quad

Directions: From Fallon, take Highway 95 33.3 miles north to the junction of Interstate 80; take Interstate 80 East 67.1 miles to the Mill City exit; turn right onto Highway 400 and proceed generally south for 16.2 miles; continue west on Highway 400 for 2.9 miles to Unionville.

From Fallon: 119.5 miles

What Was

Indians came to Virigina City in the Spring of 1861 with silver ore from Buena Vista Canyon. After leading white miners to the location, the Unionville or Buena Vista District was organized ten days later. Unionville became the center of mining activity in the area, and was the Humboldt county seat until 1883. (Pershing County wasn't created until 1919) At first named Buena Vista for the canyon in which is sits, it was later named Dixie, until Union sympathizers outnumbered the Rebels and effected a name change to something more patriotic on July 4, 1861. Samuel Clemens was said to have prospected in the area in late 1861. The Arizona Mine was the most prominent producer, operating from 1862 until 1880. By 1875 there were three ten-stamp mills processing lower grade ores, although the higher grade stuff was freighted to Sacramento and from there to Wales. Wages at the time (1869) were said to be $4 a day for miners, $3 a day for surface workers, and $2 a day for Indians. That's $52, $39, and $26, respectively, in 2002 dollars. A dozen eggs cost roughly $13 2002 dollars.


Post Office: April 1862 - June 1956
Newspaper: Humboldt Register, Silver State, Mining Topics

What is

Unionville is a fine example of an old Nevada mining camp. Not quite in a state of arrested decay, it is somewhat protected by its out of the way location and the fact that people still live there. So, there's lots to see.

However, private property abounds, so you have to respect NO TRESSPASSING signs unless you want to end up as a rug in someone's living room. The school, for example, is behind a no tresspassing sign, so you'll need permission to view it up close. There is a blend of old and new here- ruins, maintained ruins, newer buildings encompassing ruins, and new buidlings. There is still agriculture in this canyon, as there has been for over one hundred years, and the spring run-off was noisy and plentiful.

Since we got a chance to leave early in the morning this time, we stopped for lunch instead of dinner. There doesn't seem to be much to pick from when you're roling down Cornell Avenue in Lovelock, you have some casino food, pizza, or Mexican. Pizza won out, and the Pizza Factory was a decent pizza with a crisp crust, and everyone who worked there had an excellent attitude.

I took the photo of the gravestone below not realizing who is belonged to. Thank goodness for Google- entering the name "Kahtz Kinkead" revealed that this was the adopted son of John Henry and Lizzie Fall Kinkead. As I'm sure you know,

John Henry Kinkead served as the only Territorial Treasurer. Kinkead was born on December 10, 1826 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. He came to Carson City in 1860 to establish a branch of his father-in-law's mercantile firm, Kinkead, Harrington & Co. He was a member of both the 1863 and 1864 Constitutional Conventions, representing Ormsby County. He served as Treasurer of the Territory from 1862-1864, and then moved to Alaska in 1867 for four years. After Kinkead returned to Nevada he became Nevada's third governor, serving from 1879-1883. Kinkead revisited Alaska once again where he served as Territorial Governor from 1884-1885, then came back to Nevada where he lived until his death. Kinkead died in 1904.

Sometime between Kinkead's stint in Alaska, where they presumably adopted the child, and his term as governor, they must have found their way to Unionville where the child died and was buried.

I didn't mean to bum anyone out, I just thought it was interesting.


The historical marker with Unionville in the background
Unionville's graveyard tells the typical story behind a successful mining camp. See text about this particular headstone.
Slowly, over time, the buildings crumble
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