2010 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Four: still more ghost town adventures!

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Tonopah Army Air Field, NV

This air field east of Tonopah was used to train pilots of B-24 bombers during WWII.

Several large wooden hangars were built at the site, as well as barracks, offices, and other facilities. Immediately after the war, the air field was placed on inactive status. Currently the landing strips are used by the Tonopah Municipal Airport.

Three of the original wooden hangars still stand, in varying stages of decay. There are also foundations and smokestacks of other buildings.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park, NV

I arrived once again in Tonopah. This time I decided to check out the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. This is a sort of outdoor museum encompassing 180 acres and featuring several well-preserved historic mines. Three of these mines still have their original hoist machinery intact.

There are also some ruins, mining equipment and artifacts, a bridge across an open stope, and various other exhibits.

Above: The Mizpah Mine

Left: The ore bin and “grizzly” at the Silver Top Mine

Below: The Desert Queen Mine

Running through the center of the Tonopah Historic Mining Park is a large stope. This is sort of a huge trench, where the vein of ore was removed. It’s 200-500 feet deep and is braced with numerous timbers.

One of the most breath-taking features of the park is a specially constructed steel bridge that crosses the stope. You can look down through the grid under your feet, right into the depths of the mine.

Right: There is also a tunnel that accesses a lower level of the stope, where a steel cage extends out over the depths.

Horse-Powered Hoist

This is a very rare artifact from the earliest days of mining -- a horse-powered hoist. A horse or mule would be hitched to the rotating arm of the hoist. As the animal walked, it would raise or lower an ore bucket.

To provide clearance for the animal as it walked around the hoist, the rope was passed under the hoist and through a shallow channel to the headframe.

Click the photo to see more images of this device.

Below: Heading southward to the Mojave desert, I saw this herd of burros wandering along the outskirts of Beatty, NV.

Kelso, CA

Kelso is a tiny ghost town in the middle of the Mojave desert, south of Baker, CA. The main feature is this large, Mission style depot that was built in 1923, and was still in use until 1986.

The depot has been restored and now serves as a visitor center for the Mojave National Preserve. It is surrounded by the ruins of a few small buildings, and the homes of a handful of railroad workers.

Click the photo to see more of this depot.

Above: The last night of the trip was spent at a site in the Mojave desert. Click the photo to see more scenic images.

Right: Balancing boulders.

Below: Aerial photo of the site.

That’s all for this year’s trip! Thanks for reading along, I hope you enjoyed the journey!

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