Ghost Towns, Mines, and More!


bonnie claire, NV

The Bonnie Claire townsite was built in 1904 on the valley floor near the Thorp stage station, and replaced an earlier camp called Thorp’s Well. At first the town was called Thorp, then Montana Station. In 1906 the newly built Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad arrived, followed about a year later by the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad. The LV&T built a depot here.

A new, larger mill was built north of the townsite, on the slope of a hill. This was the Bonnie Claire Mill, and it was built to process ore from several mines in the Gold Mountain area a few miles away. The town boomed briefly after the arrival of the railroads, but the mines it supported never turned into big producers. The LV&T was abandoned in 1928 and the town soon followed. There was some minor activity between 1940 and 1954, but nothing since then. Currently there is a small sand and gravel quarry at the site, right next to some of the old stone buildings.

My first visit to this site was in 1988. I have a few images here from that trip, which I scanned from slides. I returned in 2002 and got a few updated photos, as well as some aerial photos. During both of those trips I only checked out the mill site. On my most recent trip I shot many more photos, and also visited the old townsite and mine.

Because there is so much to see at this site, I’ve decided to provide a separate page for each area of interest. Below you’ll see a few photos of each feature. Clicking on any of these will take you to that structure’s page, where you will be able to see many more photos showing all details of the structure and its surroundings.

Updated September 2014.

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Bonnie Claire, NV: The Mine

(Click the title or any photo to see more pics of this structure and its surroundings.)

This was the original townsite, located on the valley floor south of the mill. There is a wooden cabin and the ruins of a small mine and headframe.

There are two graves located a few hundred feet from the mine.

Bonnie Claire, NV: The Mill

The mill ruins are huge, covering a large section of hillside. At the base of the hill is the tattered remnant of a steel-framed, corrugated metal building containing a smelter. I believe this structure was built and used during the most recent activity, the period between 1940-1954.

The earlier wooden structures of the mill have long since vanished. However there are numerous stone walls and foundations, rusting steel tanks, and the remains of various ore bins, hoppers and chutes.

Bonnie Claire, NV:  The Stone Buildings

The remains of several stone buildings still stand at the mill site. These were likely living quarters for the mill workers, and possibly a store or office.

When I was first here in 1988, one of the stone building still had a roof. Now that roof has collapsed. Two others are roofless, without even any debris remaining.

Only one structure here is more or less intact. It’s a thick-walled, stone and adobe shack set partly into the hill.