So why would humans attempt to survive in such a barren wasteland when the lush natural wonders of
California lay just beyond
the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range? It's because Mother Nature hid her treasures all over the state in the forms of gold and silver.
How else could she populate such a place? Where gold is available - all things are possible. Even the impossible.
The Silver State (as it is officially known) had two great mining eras. The Comstock Bonanza took place
here during the years
1859-1878, after gold was discovered near Dayton in 1851. With the California Gold Rush of 1849 played out, miners headed
back east over the mountains to Nevada. During that first Gold Rush over 575 mining towns and camps sprang up all the state.
The colorful names of these early mining towns ran the gamut from Treasure City, Gold Acres, Bullion City, Cornucopia,
Diamond Field, Jumbo, Derby, Queen City, Lucky Boy, Midas, Star City, Stirling, Montezuma, Quartz Mountain, Silverhorn,
Ruby City, Crystal Peak, Monte Cristo and Eldorado. Hopes run high when good fortune hides itself under a rock.
Yet, by 1878, nearly 98% of these 575 mining towns had been played out and left abandoned. The remains
Ghost Towns exist to this day with abandoned saloons, vacant courthouses and schools spread across the state.
Twenty-two years later gold was again discovered in the southlands in the 1900 Tonopah Gold Strike.
miles northwest of current day Las Vegas is where the biggest southern strike was born in 1902.
The place was called Goldfield. It's heyday was from 1902-1910.
Within just four years an entire functioning town was built on high hopes. Goldfield became the largest city in the entire
state of Nevada with a population of 30,000. In the center of it all, on the former site of the Nevada Hotel, was built
the opulent Goldfield-Bonanza Hotel, considered to be the most luxurious hotel between Chicago and San Francisco.
During its short time the Goldfield mines produced more than $86 million dollars. But the gold would soon run out.
After its 1906 boom-peak, flash floods destroyed most of the town and a great-fire leveled 54 square blocks.
By 1910 Goldfield was nearly abandoned. The few remaining residents, miners and working girls, pulled-up stakes
and headed south to Las Vegas. It was there where the dreams of Goldfield would be re-born. In magnitude.