Sunday, December 13, 2015

Goldfield: Once Nevada's largest city

With a courthouse built in 1907, Goldfield is
 the county seat for Esmeralda County.
Some say Goldfield, Nevada, is a ghost town.  Tis true, it’s past its prime, but there’s still some life kicking in this old mining town.

Goldfield’s prime was 1905 to 1910 when it was roaring with activity due to gold mining operations. According to the Goldfield Chamber of Commerce, the town had everything a resident could want, from restaurants to saloons, from theatres to red light districts, and from casinos to athletic clubs. It even had a church. It was the largest city in Nevada.

Today, it has a few cafes, a church, gem and gift chops, and a saloon or two, including the Santa Fe Saloon and Motel. The saloon was established in 1905 and is one of the oldest continuously operating saloons in the state. It also has lots of abandoned buildings.

Gold was discovered here in 1902, with major mining operations taking place until about 1940.  During this time, about $86 million worth of gold was mined, leading the Goldfield Historical Society to describe Goldfield as the “world’s greatest gold camp.” The town quickly reached a population of 20,000 and just as quickly dropped to under 5,000 souls in 1910. Today, it has less than 300 people, which is probably why it’s referred to as a ghost town.
Antique mining equipment on display in Goldfield
During its heyday, some famous people lived in Goldfield, including Wyatt and Virgil Earp and Mark Twain.

The historical society offers a brochure outlining a walking tour of the old town. Mining equipment also can be viewed on city streets.

Goldfield is located on U.S. Highway 95 about 26 miles south of Tonopah, which is the nearest gas station.

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