Ghost Towns and Mines


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 there.

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.

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.

Updated September 2014.

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Bonnie Claire, NV - The Mill