2016 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part three: Mercury mines, an iron mine, Dixie Valley and more!

Above: I spent a night at the Nevada Quicksilver Mine.

Click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos of each site...

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Nevada Quicksilver Mine, NV

Mercury ore was discovered here in 1923. Originally known as the Juniper Mine, it later was renamed the Nevada Quicksilver Mine. At its peak it was one of the nation’s top producers of mercury, but it shut down in 1930 when the price of mercury dropped. Some minor work was done in 1941-42 but nothing since.

A large, elaborate wooden headframe and extensive foundations stand at this site. There are several other shafts and adits in the area too. The first time I visited this mine was in August 1989, with my son Steven. Twenty-seven years later, I was pleasantly surprised to see the mine relatively unchanged.

I arrived here late at night and had a little difficulty finding it in the dark. I camped just below the mine and spent some time the next morning exploring and taking photos.

Above: The headframe and ore bin. Many of the ore bin’s planks are missing.

Right: A dugout or powder magazine in the canyon below the mine.

Below: The ruins of a small mercury retort at the nearby S&J Mine. This mine was first worked in 1931. The retort was operated in 1943-44. The last activity at this mine was from 1955 to 1959.

Pershing Mine, NV

The Pershing Mine is one of many mercury mines in this district. It was discovered in 1912 and abandoned in 1919. The mine was reopened a few years later under new owners, and in 1928 a new rotary furnace was built. The mine closed again in 1931. During WWII there was some development done, but the post-war period saw only occasional activity.

Left: The major feature at the site is this interesting concrete structure.

Below: Two adits (mine tunnels) at the site.

Right: The main tunnel was protected by a heavy metal door bearing an ominous warning.  It says, “Private Property - Notice to Trepasers and Thiefs - Open This Door And Get The Surprise of Your DEATH.”

The door has been open for many years and whatever lethal “surprise” it held is long gone. Instead, there is a very cool, refreshing breeze blowing out of the mine.

Beacon Hill Mine, NV

Just a few miles from the Pershing mercury mine are several open pit iron mines. The Beacon Hill mine is the only one with any structures -- a large Quonset hut and an outhouse.

Above and below: Pronghorn antelope east of Beacon Hill area.

Above: Unusual “swirly” cloud formations, north end of Dixie Valley.

Boyer Ranch, NV

This abandoned ranch sits just outside of Cottonwood Canyon, on the west side of Dixie Valley. The earliest property record for the ranch dates to 1909. It’s been claimed that the stone building was built in the 1860s, but that hasn’t been verified.

Above: A lizards rests in the shade at the ranch.

Below: This structure, which was formerly attached to the house, is puzzling. It’s built like an old wooden box car, but there’s no evidence that it ever had side doors, ladders or other railroad hardware.

The faded sign says, “Dodge Bros Inc. - Fallon, Nev. USA”

Some Dixie Valley scenery...

Above: A fault scarp from an earthquake that happened here in the 1950s. The scarp runs for miles along the base of the mountains at the west side of the valley.

Chalk Mountain Mines, NV

There are mines all around Chalk Mountain. On this trip I only had tome to check out this one.

Westgate Mill, NV

Some mining took place in the Westgate area as early as 1907. In 1939 a 35-ton mill was built by the Westgate Mining & Milling Company. It mostly processed ore from the Wonder mine, but also served other mines in the region.

Westgate was the site of a large Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the late 1930s. There was also a gas station in operation during that period.

After fueling up at Middlegate Station, I headed south to spend the night at Ellsworth, NV and arrived shortly after dark.

Go to the next page to read more about my 2016 Nevada/Mojave trip:

Nevada Trip 2016 Part Four

Coming up:  Ellsworth, Ames Camp, Cloverdale Ranch, Goldfield Mines, and more!

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five 

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