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Nevada Northern & Railroads of White Pine County

 

 

The Ely—Goldfield Railroad & Other Vapor Routes

     

The second Nevada mining boom that coincided with the dawn of the twentieth-century occurred some forty-years after the discovery of the fabulous Comstock Lode. The Comstock, perhaps the greatest mining strike in history, launched statehood for the Nevada Territory, fueled the Union treasury during the Civil War, underwrote the banking and financial economy of San Francisco, and developed new mining and transportation technologies that were a foundation for the twentieth-century silver and copper strikes in Nevada.

Beginning in 1900, silver and gold strikes at Tonopah, Goldfield, and the Bullfrog district in southwestern Nevada and rich copper deposits at the Robinson district near Ely in eastern Nevada set the stage for a raucous, if short, boom period. However, it was long enough to witness the construction of six separate railroads into these regions to transport the ores from the mines to mills, smelters, and refineries. If that seems excessive, it turns out to represent only a fraction of the railways that at one time or another were projected into or between these boom regions during the period of promotion and speculation that roughly coincides with the first decade of the new century.

 

Railroads of Nevada's 20th Century Mining Boom

Line
President
Incorporated
Operated
Disposition
Main Line
Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad Co.1
F.M. "Borax" Smith
7/19/1904
10/15/06 to 6/14/40
Abandoned 7/14/42
Ludlow to Gold Center
Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad Co.2
J. Ross Clark
9/22/1905
3/1/06 to 10/31/18
Abandoned 1919
Las Vegas to Goldfield
Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad Co.3
Arthur Brock
8/30/1905
1906 to 1/7/28
Abandoned 1/7/28
Beatty to Goldfield & Rhyolite branch
Tonopah Railroad Co.4
John W. Brock
7/25/1903
7/23/04 to 10/31/05
Merged into T&G RR
Tonopah Jct. to Tonopah
Goldfield Railroad Co.5
John W. Brock
10/7/1904
9/12/05 to 10/31/05
Merged into T&G RR
Goldfield Jct. to Goldfield
Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad Co.6
John W. Brock
11/1/05
11/1/05 to 10/15/46
Abandoned 12/31/1946
Tonopah Jct. (Sodaville) to Tonopah & Goldfield.
Nevada Northern Railway Co.7
S. W. Eccles
6/1/1905
6/2/06 to 6/21/83
Main line sold and portion to museum
Cobre to Ely

 

Initially, before rail lines were laid into these areas, transportation costs were so expensive, for example between Tonopah and the railheads at either the Carson & Colorado or the Nevada Central (for conveyance to the smelter at Selby, CA), that ores assaying at <$100/ton were not processed.8 Contrast this with the situation after completion of the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad to the Bullfrog district, wherein ores valued at as little $25/ton9 were profitable to ship to the Salt Lake Smelters via the LV&T and Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake route.

c1907 Nevada Railroad Map

Nevada railroad map circa 1907

Map image courtesy of David Sellers;
modified image
Copyright © 2002 Keith Albrandt

Although the map lacks a publication date, it appears representative of c1907 based on the railroads evident...and not. For example, the Nevada Northern Railway, completed in 1906, is depicted, as is Bews siding on the NN, a point reached by the Western Pacific in September 1907. However, this NN/WP junction that was named "Shafter" c1908. is not shown. Additionally, the Western Pacific trackage just west of this point is depicted on the map as under construction which was the situation in late 1907 as the line stopped there awaiting a tunnel under the Pequops. Also absent is the 1908 grading of the Rawhide Western Railway Co.

The two projected railway lines depicted on the map are the "A.M. & T" (Austin, Manhattan & Tonopah)10 and the "N & U" (Nevada & Utah). The N & U, a Tonopah-Ely route, runs east from Tonopah to Barnes, which was a post office on the Joseph Judd ranch from 28 July 1902 until 28 February 1907.11 From Barnes it diverges into two routes to Ely, one route through Kimberly and Robinson canyon to the county seat and the other via Ward. The Nevada United Mines Co. held properties in Ward and a survey was made for a 14-mile railroad north to Ely where connection with the NN would provide access to the smelters at Salt Lake City. No construction was ever undertaken, although the U. S. Smelting, Refining and Mining Co. of Eureka considered moving its operations to Ward c1910 upon the failure of the Eureka & Palisade Railroad.12

 

Nevada Central Railroad Co.13

   

One of the first plans to introduce rail service into the Tonopah region was the 1902 Nevada Midland plan whereby the Nevada Central would extend south from Austin. Neither that plan nor the Nevada Midland itself ever materialized, but the Nevada Central itself instituted surveys for a route to Tonopah in 1905.14 Declining mining activities at Austin torpedoed those plans.

Although this was one of the earliest plans in the twentieth-century, in fact surveys were begun for a projected route southward from Austin as soon as the Nevada Central Railway was completed to the SP interchange at Battle Mountain in February 1880, some twenty years earlier. These plans were abandoned by the spring of 1881 when competition from the Carson and Colorado Railroad had a negative impact on the Nevada Central traffic and revenues.

 

Eureka and Palisade Railway Co.15

 

In 1902, Mark Requa, president of the Eureka and Palisade Railroad, made trips to both the Robinson mining district in neighboring White Pine County and the new bonanza town of Tonopah. Shortly thereafter, he optioned the Ruth claim near Ely and dispatched surveyor Edward G. Tilton to project a route between Eureka, Copper Flat (near Ely), Tybo, and Tonopah. Lack of financial support from Copper Flat mine owners resulted in the demise of the projected rail route.

In 1904, Joseph L. Giroux expanded his holdings in the Robinson district "West End Camp" with the purchase of the Alpha claim and shaft and the Ora, Emma Nevada, Brooks, Bunker Hill, Pilot Knob, Dewey, Union, Texas & Flying Dutchman claims from the Frank Paul family.16 He contemplated building a narrow gauge railroad to connect his Giroux Consolidated Mines Co. Railroad with the Eureka & Palisades Railway at Eureka.17 However, the plans put forth by Nevada Consolidated Copper and Mark Requa to construct the Nevada Northern Railway made these narrow gauge projections unnecessary.

 

Caliente & Pioche Railroad18

   

In November 1904, the De Lamar Lode published an announcement that upon completion of the SPLA&SL main line, work would begin on a branch line from Caliente to Pioche, and continue on to Ely, Cherry Creek, and as far as Wells on the SP. These references continued even after completion of the NN in 1906, with the modification that Ely would become the terminus of this new route and the ores would be processed at the McGill smelter. Track laying was completed on the C&P at the end of October 1907 but no further construction north to Ely was ever undertaken.

 

Ely—Queen of the Copper Camps

The following text and map from a 1907 promotional booklet19 demonstrates the unashamed enthusiasm and boosterism that defines the 1905-1907 years as the "promotional era of mining speculation"20 and, one might add, railroad speculation, as well.

 

 

The Copperopolis of America

 

Map of projected railways to Ely, Nevada

Image and text courtesy of the
White Pine Historical & Archaeological Society;
used with permission.

Railroad Possibilities for Ely

"While Ely must of necessity for years to come be a mining center, the future, and the near future at that, promises that it will be a railroad center as well. One railroad enters the city now, but it is merely the beginning of development along this line. A branch of the Western Pacific will be built to Ely as soon as the main line of the road is completed too the coast. An inter-state line connecting Goldfield, Tonopah, Manhattan, and other mining camps with the Copperopolis is so much of a necessity that construction is certain. There can be no question but that the Clark road will be built from Pioche to Ely. The line will open up a great mineral country which will need the smelting facilities of Ely. The road would pay from the start. The building of the Salt Lake-Ely line is another necessity both for Ely and for Salt Lake. It, too, will traverse a mineral region of untold wealth, besides forming a direct line to the great Utah coal fields and the farms and gardens of the fertile valleys of Utah. Last, but not least, a line from Ely by the way of Deeth, a junction on the S.P. and W.P. railroads to the Snake River valley in southern Idaho, is one of the prime necessities of both sections. The Snake River valley is the natural granary of the mining camps of northeastern Nevada. Even now the foodstuffs purchased in southern Idaho find their way to Ely and other camps, being brought there by the circuitous route by way of Ogden, Utah. Nature intended the Idaho acres to supply the wants of the miners in Nevada. There are no engineering difficulties in the way of building the road and there is no question but that it will be constructed in the near future. Nature also intended Ely for a railroad center when she placed such boundless treasures in the hills."

     

Among the five-projected rail lines that were "sure" to be built, the map depicts the first of two particularly prominent proposals to link Ely with the southern camps — the one to connect Ely with Tonopah.

"The Tonopah route was supposed to have the backing of the Nevada Consolidated [Copper] Company. This was indicated when Frank C. Armstrong, an official of the Nevada Northern Railroad visited Tonopah in December of 1907. The route was given up when the Nevada Consolidated Company lost interest in such a railroad."21

The Tonopah—Ely route is also pictured on the Nevada Railroad map dating to c1907, depicted therein as the "N&U", the acronym for the Nevada & Utah, that had apparently been surveyed at an earlier date (see below, Rhyolite Herald, 08 July 1908).

 

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad

 

During construction in 1906, there were rumors that the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, owned and operated by Francis "Borax" Smith, would extend as far as Manhattan, Round Mountain, and Austin.22 Built to reach his extensive borax deposits at the Lila C. mine near Death Valley, the T&T was at first also envisioned as a vehicle by which Smith could "tap the mineral resources of the entire Nevada region."23 In actuality, the T&T never even went as far as Tonopah, as construction of the line was halted at Gold Center. Similarly, the southernmost terminus remained Ludlow on the AT&SF, and not San Diego on the southern California coast as originally envisioned.24

Notwithstanding where T&T-laid tracks and ties ended, on 15 June 1908 the stocks of the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad and the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad were placed into a holding company, the Tonopah & Tidewater Company, that assumed operation of both railroads. Thus, in practical terms, the T&T extended as far north as Goldfield.

However, the T&T was apparently looking to expand even further — east to Ely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhyolite Herald

 

 

  Rhyolite, Nye
  County, Nevada

 

17 June 1908  

 

 

MAY EXTEND ROAD TO ELY, NEV.

 

 

 

 

     
         
 

The Tonopah & Tidewater railway (the Borax Smith road) is being organized under the laws of Delaware, with a capital of $5,280,000, to become the holding company of the Tonopah & Tidewater railroad and the Bullfrog-Goldfield railroad, states the Salt Lake Tribune.

The Tonopah & Tidewater railroad, the controlling interest in which dominate the new holding company, owns a line 168 miles in length extending from Ludlow, Cal., on the Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe, to Beatty, Nev., with a branch to Ryan, seven miles. The Bullfrog-

 

Goldfield railroad operates a line from Rhyolite to Goldfield, Nev., eighty-three miles. The Tonopah & Goldfield, which has been operated in connection with the Bullfrog-Goldfield, is not included in the amalgamation. An extension from Goldfield to Ely, 200 miles, is planned. The officers of the holding company are: F.M. Smith, president, Oakland, Cal.; D.W. Van Buskirk, first vice president, Bayonne, N.J.; Arthur Brock, second vice president, Philadelphia, Pa.; John Ryan, general superintendent, Ludlow, Cal., and W.R. Alberger, traffic manager, Los Angeles, Cal.

 
         
         
         
         
         

Courtesy of David A. Wright, Great Basin Research

 

Another article in the same issue of the Rhyolite Herald, entitled "Big Improvement In Conditions", describes the Ely—Goldfield Railroad as an undertaking of the smelter interests at Ely and their plans to extend the line to Ubehebe.

An article that summarized many of the developments and plans for connecting the western camps with Ely appeared a few weeks later in the same publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhyolite Herald

 

 

  Rhyolite, Nye
  County, Nevada

 

08 July 1908  

 

 

MORE RAILROADS SEEM ASSURED

 

 

 

 

     
         
 

The question of new railroad construction is agitating the press and people of the state of Nevada to a considerable degree, the reports of new lines to connect the eastern and western parts of the state, which have gained wide circulation for two years past, are a source of particular interest. The great smelters of Ely have, during the period of their construction, have looked upon as the ultimate outlet for a large tonnage of the ores of Goldfield and other districts in the western part of the state, and the transportation problem between these points has at all times been one to stimulate the hope that the road would ultimately be built between Goldfield and Ely.

Although the claim of an Ely paper that the Western Pacific will extend its line to that camp is premature, if not purely a long guess, it seems probably that other interests are in the field; and that a road will connect Ely with the camps of the west within a reasonably short period. Engineering parties have been in the field for some time past surveying routes in this direction; one party, in fact, is said to be running lines between Tybo and Tonopah, and to have set the grade stakes for a part of the distance. This work is said to be in the interest of Borax Smith, who recently purchased the Bullfrog-Goldfield and made it a part of his Tonopah and Tidewater system.

It is reported that the Santa Fe company has purchased a tract of land near Ely, and this fact is taken in some quarters as an indication that the Tonopah and Tidewater has the backing of the Santa Fe, it is not in fact controlled by the latter. . The understanding heretofore has been merely that the Tidewater which connects with the Santa Fe at Ludlow, Cal., has been operating its trains from that point to Los Angeles over the latter company's tracks on a leasing agreement.

At the time of the construction of the branch of the Clark road to Pioche it was the general belief

 

that this road would be extended to Ely to connect with the Nevada Northern, and this plan, now that the copper camp seems assured of a sufficient tonnage to warrant it, appears to be a certainty. The route to be traversed will be but a trifle over 100 miles and the surveyors have already been at work for some time staking the route. It seems probable that the work of grading this extension will be commenced during the present season, in which case the road will be in working order next spring.

In connecting Goldfield with Ely it is likely that the route will follow closely the old Nevada-Utah survey, by way of Tybo and Barnes. The general direction of the road, almost due southwest and the character of the country to be traversed would necessitate its striking in to the west near Tonopah, and connecting with the Tonopah and Goldfield railroad near Tonopah. Within but a short distance from this line are numerous camps, some of them old producers, which would assure a considerable tonnage to the smelters. Tybo alone is said to be capable of supplying a heavy tonnage of ore.

On the other hand, a route far to the south of this is said to be feasible, which would connect with the Pioche extension of the Clark road, and which would traverse a country equal in mineral wealth to that of the route proposed, and in case this road is built it would probably come to Goldfield by way of the slope of the Stonewall range, passing not far from Jamestown. In any event, it seems probably that, with the fruition of even a portion of the present plans for railroad construction in southern Nevada, Goldfield and the other camps of the western section will be connected with Ely before another year and have an outlet, at materially reduce transportation rates, for an immense tonnage of milling and smelting ores which is now available on account of the high cost of reduction.
— Goldfield Tribune

 
         
         
         
         
         

Courtesy of David A. Wright, Great Basin Research

 

Additional plans for a rail route between Ely and Death Valley were described just a few short months later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inyo Magazine

 

 

  Bishop, Inyo
  County, California

 

01 October 1908  

 

 

INYO MINES

 

 

 

 

     
         
 

Activity at Ubehebe continues to interest the local mining men, and this is particularly true of the projected railroad which is to connect the lead and copper mines of this district with the smelters at Ely. The Ubehebe railroad was actively promoted about a year ago by Jack Salsberry of Tonopan [sic], who has fathered, as it were, the development of Ubehebe, and his associates of Baltimore men, who are said to represent a great deal of money. At that time preliminary surveys were run from Thorps to Ubehebe across Lost Valley and an effort was made to float the railroad promotion, which was to cost some two million dollars, at Paris. The financial storm that struck the desert violently later in the year put an end to these projects for the time being.

News comes now that the railroad is again an active consideration, and is to be built so as to connect directly between Ubehebe and Ely. The promoters state that Ely needs the easy-fluxing ores of Ubehebe just as much as Ubehebe

 

needs the smelters at Ely, and the Ely-Goldfield railroad is to be extended to the Death Valley region. Recently a 100-ton trial shipmens [sic] of Ubehebe ore was made from the Smith property and averaged $40 per ton. For a wagon haul of sixty miles to Cuprite this grade of ore is too low to pay under present conditions. Wilfred and M.Q. Watterson of Bishop, who own another of the very best lead properties in the district, recently made a test shipment of ore from their property which ran high enough to more than pay for the enormous expense of shipment, but was not a grade rich enough to warrant sending it out at this time. This ore was sold to the smelter at Murray, Utah. The railroad built in from Thorp [aka Bonnie Claire and Montana Station]25 or Cuprite, would be about sixty miles long, cost upwards of a half million dollars and if completed would open up one of the greatest mineral sections of the Death Valley country.

 
         
         
         
         
         

Courtesy of David A. Wright, Great Basin Research

 

The reasoning behind a route between Goldfield and Ely was ascribed variously to: reducing the distance between Goldfield and the smelters at Murry, Midvale, and Garfield, Utah; uniting the two boom areas of Nevada to the benefit of all; and providing rail connections to old and new camps between the two districts. For example, the Silver Bow Mining and Milling Company worked fourteen claims in 1909 and was active enough to include Silver Bow as a stop on the planned Ely-Goldfield railroad.26

It is clear that Borax Smith was behind the proposed Goldfield-Ely Railroad. He met with William Boyce Thompson on 18 January 1909 in New York City when it was decided to build the railroad between the two districts with surveys to commence at once. It is unclear if Thompson was acting on his own behalf, as vice president of the Cumberland-Ely Copper Company, as a Guggenheim affiliate, on behalf of Nevada Consolidated Copper, or in some combination of the aforementioned. The survey of the route under T&T general manager John Ryan began 19 March 1909. The railroad was projected to cost ~$4M and it was estimated that construction would begin about 01 September 1909.27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inyo Register

 

 

  Bishop, Inyo
  County, California

 

21 January1909  

 

 

ELY TO GOLDFIELD RR

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is stated in telegrams from New York that F.M. Smith and others interested in the Tonopah & Tidewater road [and] in the Guggenheim smelter companies propose to build a new road from Ely, Nevada, to Goldfield, a distance of 270 miles, giving southwestern Nevada another opening eastward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of John A. McCulloch and David A. Wright

 

The railroad connection to Ely was promoted as a preliminary to the entrance of Borax Smith and his associates as investors in the Robinson copper district near Ely.28 The completion of the T&T had marked the entrance of Smith and associates in the Tonopah and Goldfield region; directorships in numerous mining ventures were accepted and Smith eventually came into control of the very profitable Tonopah-Belmont Company after 1909.29

After the survey had been completed in September 1909, the builders applied for a right of way through Ely via Clark Street. Numerous objections were raised and the franchise request was tabled in the Ely City Council late in December 1909, whereupon the railroad officials immediately withdrew their application and refused to compromise by choosing a new route.

"It seems unrealistic to accept the reasons given by the railroad officials for their failure to build the road. Too much effort had been expended in surveys and promotional activities to become discouraged by the failure to get the proper right of way. The real reason for not building the road seems clear: the Tonopah and Tidewater officials were unable to obtain interests in the copper area which would warrant their building another railroad into the district, and without substantial interests of their own it would have been ruinous to try to compete with the Nevada Northern Railroad, controlled as it was by the largest single producer in the district, the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company."30

About a year later, in January 1911, another Borax Smith venture called the United Properties Company proposed to build a railroad from Shafter on the Western Pacific to Ely and on to a connection with the T&T at Goldfield.31 This proposal quietly died in short order and was the last effort to construct the Ely-Goldfield route.

 

Lida Valley Railroad

   

It was also at about this time that A. D. Goodenough had surveys made for a branch line to Lida, to run from Stonewall station, 3-miles south of Cuprite on the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad, some 25-miles southwest and west to Lida.32 S. W. Connelly, who had directed survey operations on the Tonopah & Tidewater, the Clark line, and the proposed Ely-Goldfield road, was engaged as the civil engineer for the survey. It included a branch near the mid-point to continue southwest to Hornsilver, later called Gold Point.33 Some saw significance of "transcontinental proportions" in these developments as described in the two following contemporary accounts. However, no construction was ever undertaken for the Lida Valley Railroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inyo Register

 

 

  Bishop, Inyo
  County, California

 

16 February1911  

 

 

HEADED THIS WAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Goldfield mining man tells the News that the Lida railroad survey has begun, and that he believes from his information that construction will closely follow. It is regarded as significant that the terminus of this road is on the mainline at the point selected as the western terminus of the Ely-Goldfield line. The guessers see in the interest F.M. Smith and the latter proposition, the likelihood of this Lida road being extended into Owens Valley, and the acquisition by the Smith interests of terminal facilities at Oakland, something more than mere coincidence, and predict an ultimate transcontinental line entering California over the Lida survey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of David A. Wright, Great Basin Research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inyo Register

 

 

  Bishop, Inyo
  County, California

 

02 March 1911  

 

 

 

 

 

One of the items of railroad talk now afloat is that a line is to be built from Tooele, Utah, to Ely, Nevada. The rumor dovetails in with other stories of a transcontinental line -- Tooele (which is connect by rail with Salt Lake) to Ely, Ely to Cuprite, Cuprite to Lida, Lida to ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of David A. Wright, Great Basin Research

 

 

News article archive -- Nevada projected railroads
News article archive of Nevada projected railroads
Image courtesy of
Old Fashion Clip Art
 

 

 

Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad / Millers

 

The Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad was a subsidiary of the Tonopah Mining Company, itself organized from the original Butler claims, including the Desert Queen, Burro, Valley View, Silver Top, Buckboard, and Mizpah.34 Millers, located ~14 miles west of Tonopah, was the site of the Tonopah Mining Company's Desert Power & Milling Company 100-stamp mill and also a 50-stamp mill owned by the Tonopah Belmont Mining Company. It was a lucrative business for the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad to haul ore from the mines at Tonopah to the mills at Millers at a transportation charge of $0.50/ton.35

Several railroad lines were proposed from Millers north to Manhattan and Austin,36 including one in 1906 by the Tonopah & Goldfield itself.37 They had a survey made for a 50-mile branch line to Manhattan in February 1906,38 but it was never constructed. Lines were also projected southward to Montezuma, but these too never materialized.

Beginning in 1910, several of the larger Tonopah mining concerns began constructing mills in Tonopah itself. The Tonopah Extension Mining Co. built a 30-stamp cyanide mill (later enlarged to 50-stamp) on the west side of the Tonopah Mining Co. properties in 1910.39 The following year saw the construction of a 200-ton cyanide mill by the West End Consolidated Mining Co. to the southwest of the Tonopah Mining Co. properties.40 Then in 1912, the Tonopah Belmont Development Co. opened their new mill located on the east side of Tonopah.41 The result was the loss of substantial T&G transportation revenues from haulage to the older mill site at Millers and the practical end to plans for projected rail routes from Millers to other mining areas.42

     

T&G — Ely Route

Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad map showing a projected line to Ely in White Pine county

Image courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society; used with permission.

The Tonopah & Goldfield entry in the 1910 issue of the Railway Guide shows a map illustrating a projected rail line to Ely.43 Actually, the map reflects a period two years earlier, as the fine print indicates it was drawn by Poole Bros. of Chicago on 05 September 1908. The T&G was relatively stable and profitable at this time and for the two years following their 15 June 1908 divestiture of the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad operations. On 30 September 1908 they proposed construction of a branch to connect with the Mono Lake Railway and the mines at Bodie. The next year they made a survey for a branch line east from Tonopah to Ellendale. None of these routes went beyond the survey stage.

"...T&G was examining all possible avenues for increased revenues and apparently had quiet and mysterious plans to construct on east from Tonopah to a connection with the Nevada Northern at Ely and the smelter at McGill. No one can be found today with any recollection of the project, and no formal discussions were ever recorded in minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors".44

Consolidated Coppermines Company

This map for the Coppermines Annual Report might be construed as misleading with regard to the inclusion of the Ely-Goldfield Railroad survey at the late date of 1915. When asked about misleading their investors by publication of such material, Kimberly, Nevada native and Coppermines historian Walter Johnson noted, "Giroux Con and early CCC did some stretching of the truth in those early days to seek investors and to bluff their way with Nevada Con. It seemed to have worked."

Map of Robinson mining district showing the Ely-Goldfield Railroad survey route

Ely—Goldfield Railroad Survey

Map of a portion of the Robinson Mining District showing property of Consolidated Coppermines and subsidiary companies, from the Second Annual Report of Consolidated Coppermines Company for the year ending April 30, 1915. The Ely—Goldfield Railroad route is shown, as is the Nevada Northern Railway ore line and the Consolidated Coppermines (formerly Giroux) Railroad.

 

Epilogue

   

Production from mines in the Bullfrog district had practically ceased by 1911. In 1913 Borax Smith's financial empire collapsed and Borax Consolidated acquired his borate interests, including Pacific Coast Borax. By 1915, the ore bodies were becoming exhausted and the end was beginning to come into sight, even for Goldfield. The decline at Tonopah was more gradual and it moved from a boom-mining town to a small but stable community with interests other than mining. Ely experienced uninterrupted copper mining until 1983 when Kennecott shut down operations. Production was re-established briefly for three years before ceasing again in 1999. Whether Ely will economically recover from the loss of its mining operations is currently being played out.

 

Mining Production Statistics 1901-—192045
Railroad Profits 1906—192046
Graph of mining production statistics for the Tonopah, Goldfield, Bullfrog and Robinson districts
Graph of net corporate income for the Nevada Northern Railway and the four roads serving the Goldfield district

 


   

Acknowledgements

 

Thanks to Gary Elias, Greg Maxwell, Michael Lee, Harry Rosenberg, and David A. Wright (Great Basin Research) for their helpful discussions on the nvshortline (Nevada Shortline) email list.

 

Selected Web Resources

 

Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad and Its Environs
by John A. McCulloch
"A co-operative study of the Tonopah & Tidewater, Bullfrog Goldfield, Death Valley, Tecopa, and Ludlow & Southern Railroads. Their histories, related documents, reference works and images are included."

Link to John McCulloch's "Tonopah & Tidewater" Web site
Nevada Ghost Towns
by Shawn Hall
"To provide the active ghost towner, historians, and arm-chair enthusiast an opportunity to enjoy the many wondrous ghost towns that Nevada has to offer."
 
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum
Stereoviews, engravings, maps, and documents illustrating the history of the first transcontinental railroad.
 
Tonopah Historic Mining Park
The park encompasses portions of four of the major mining companies and covers over 100 acres. It preserves this rich history and brings it to life with equipment, exhibits, and a self-guided tour.
 
Central Nevada Museum
To explore and display the history of Central Nevada and investigate the geology and plant life of the region.
 
Nevada History -- A Walk In The Past
by James Shown
A brief, but informative insight into Nevada's historical past.
Beatty Museum and Historical Society
To preserve the history of the Bullfrog Mining District and Southern Nye County.
 
Friends of Rhyolite
History, photos, timeline
 
Rhyolite Ghost Town
National Park Service web site
 
Rhyolite Preservation Society
To promote and protect the architectural and recreational resources of Rhyolite and promote tourism and educational programs concerning the Bullfrog district
 

 

 

References Cited

 
1 Donald B. Robertson, Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: Volume IV, California (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1998), 285-286.
24 Myrick, Volume II, 548.
2 Donald B. Robertson, Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: The Desert States-Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1986), 143.
25 Ibid., 539.
3 Ibid., 134. 26 Shawn Hall, Preserving the Glory Days: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nye County, Nevada (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1998), 226.
4 Ibid., 163-164. 27 Elliott, 194.
5 Ibid. 28 Ibid.
6 Ibid. 29 Ibid., 30.
7 Ibid., 153. 30 Ibid., 196.
8 David F. Myrick, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California Volume I: The Northern Roads, 2nd ed. (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1992), 237.
31 Ibid.
9 David F. Myrick, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California Volume II: The Southern Roads (Berkeley, CA: Howell-North Books, 1963), 467.
32 Myrick, Volume II, 538.
10 William Metscher. 16 January 2002. Re: [nvshortline] A. M. & T. [Internet, e-mail to nvshortline@yahoogroups
.com]. Available: Available as e-mail from Keith Albrandt, kalbran1@san.rr.com.
33 Ibid.
11 Shawn Hall, Romancing Nevada's Past: Ghost Towns and Historic Sites of Eureka, Lander, and White Pine Counties (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1994), 122.
34 Hall, Preserving Glory Days, 70-71.
12 Myrick, Volume I, 106.
35 Myrick, Volume I, 264.
13 Ibid., 67-72. .36 Stanley W. Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications, 1970), 414.
14 Ibid., 73. 37 Myrick, Volume I, 248
15 Ibid., 238. 38 Ibid., 259.
16 Walter Johnson, Copper Camp Kids (Tallahassee, FL: Histories by WBJ, 1998), 110.
39 Hall, Preserving Glory Days, 73.
17 Ibid., 107. 40 Ibid., 73-74.
18 Myrick, Volume II, 714. 41 Ibid., 71.
19 Frank H. Adams, Ely and Her Mines (1907; Ely, NV: White Pine Historical and Archaeological Society, reprinted 1998), 25.
42 Paher, 414.
20 Myrick, Volume II, 539. 43 Myrick, Volume I, 255.
21 Russell R. Elliott, Nevada's Twentieth-Century Mining Boom: Tonopah, Goldfield, Ely (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1966), 194. 44 Ibid., 254.
22 Myrick, Volume II, 548. 45 Elliott, 310.
23 Elliott, 26. 46 Ibid., 312-313.

 

 

 

 

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