2017 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Three: A mercury mine, stokes castle, Ruby Hill, and more!

You can click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos or videos of each site...

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McCoy Mine, NV

There are at least two other “McCoy Mines” in Nevada, including a large, modern open-pit mine. This McCoy Mine is in the Wild Horse District. Quicksilver (mercury) was first discovered here in 1916, but only minor activity took place until 1939. Then a mill with a 20-ton rotary furnace was built. However, the mine was quickly played out, and production ended in April of 1941.

I arrived here late at night, and intended to camp at the mine. However, there was no flat, clear area to lay out my camp. Also, the mine is near a watering site for cattle, so there were lots of insects. I ended up camping out on the open prairie a short distance from the mine.

Click here to see video of the McCoy Mine, NV.

Home Station Well, NV

I don’t know the history of this site, which consists of a well-built stone cabin and the remains of a stone corral. It’s located in Home Station Wash, near a narrow gap in the Augusta Mountains. There is a deep, narrow gully between the cabin and the corral, so I wasn’t able to reach the corral. I couldn’t see the bottom of the gully, but I could hear a trickle of water running through it.

Click here to see video of Home Station Well, NV.

Above: A view into Jersey Valley, from the Home Station trail.

Below: Dome Butte, NV

Click here to see video of Dome Butte, NV.

Stokes Castle and Mine - Austin, NV

Anson Stokes, a mine developer and railroad magnate, had this stone tower built in 1897. It was patterned after a medieval tower he had seen near Rome, and was intended to be a summer home for his sons.

The tower is made of large, granite stones held in place with stone wedges and clay mortar. It had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass windows, and balconies on the second and third floors. It had plumbing and expensive furnishings.

After completion, the tower was only used for two months, and has remained unoccupied ever since.

On the hillside a short distance away, there is a small wooden headframe and ore bin of a mine.

Above: An antique fire hydrant in Eureka, NV.

Ruby Hill, NV

Ruby Hill’s history dates back to 1865, when silver ore was first discovered in the area. By 1870 a mining town had begun to form, and by 1878 Ruby Hill had a peak population of 2500 residents. There was even a Ruby Hill Railroad that was built to haul ore from the mines to the smelters in nearby Eureka, NV.

A few years later the population had declined significantly, and by 1900 only a handful of residents were left. A flood in 1910 washed out the railroad and many of the town’s buildings.

There are several mines and mining structures remaining in the area, and a couple of small cabins. One of these cabins dates back to the late 1800s.

The largest mining complex here is the Fad Shaft. This huge facility was built in the 1940s to tap into very deep ores. Unfortunately they encountered insurmountable flooding problems, and the mine never went into production. For the next two decades various attempts were made to stem the flow but the facility was finally deactivated in 1966. Currently this facility is fenced and posted, accessible only by drone.

Click here to see video of Ruby Hill, NV.

Belmont Mine, NV

The Belmont Mine is located high on a mountainside in the Hamilton District of central Nevada. it is connected to the mill about three miles away, via an aerial cable tram. This tram was used to transport ore from the mine to the mill. The mill was built in 1925 -- presumably the mine dates back to the same period. The primary ores were lead/silver, but the metals were difficult to recover economically.

I’ve visited these sites on many occasions and have extensive photos. On this occasion I spent the night at the mine and shot aerial video of both the mine and the mill the next morning. I also shot some interior video at the mine using a tripod-mounted camera; unfortunately that footage didn’t turn out well.

Click here to see video of the Belmont Mine - Hamilton District, NV.

Above: The Belmont Mill near Hamilton, NV. I was pleased to see that some work has been done to stabilize the mill and prevent its collapse.

Belmont Mill, NV

The Belmont Mill is a large structure with an aerial tram terminal at the top. There are several other buildings around the mill in various stages of decay. Some are still standing, but a large bunkhouse collapsed a few years ago, as well as the former caretaker’s cabin.

Click here to see video of the Belmont Mill - Hamilton District, NV.

Hamilton, NV

Silver ore was discovered here in 1868, and by the following winter there was a town of 600 people. In 1869 Hamilton became the county seat. At its peak the population of Hamilton was about 12,00 residents.

But the ore was shallow and quickly began running out. In 1870 the town was already in decline. A major fire in 1873 wiped out the business district, and another fire in 1875 destroyed the county courthouse. Somehow the town still lingered on until 1931, when the post office closed.

Currently there are just a few stone or brick ruins, a pair of fallen shacks, and a single wooden cabin, plus some scattered mining equipment.

Click here to see video of Hamilton, NV.

By the time I left Hamilton, thunderstorms were popping up all over and it was starting to rain. My next stop was Ely, NV and the Nevada Northern Railroad Museum...

Go to the next page to read more about my 2017 Nevada/Mojave trip:

Nevada Trip 2017 Part Four

Coming up:  The Nevada Northern Railroad Museum, the Taylor and Ely Valley mines, and more as the adventure continues!

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

Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great subjects for dioramas, or for your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not been posted online.

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