On Wednesday morning we headed in search of Delamar NV, a classic mining ghost town which saw its hey day in the 1890s. Gold was discovered there in 1889 and the original mines along with most of the major mines in the immediate area were purchased by Captain Joseph Raphael De Lamar for about $150,000. Some cursory research on the man shows he left his maritime interests and invested in mining claims. The one in Nevada paid off fairly well, producing over $13 million in gold.
Delamar at one time boasted a population of 1500 and amenities such as a hospital, an opera house and a central water system pumping water from a well some 12 miles away. Unfortunately, the gold in these hills was embedded in quartzite which lead to deadly silicosis when ground to dust as in the ore extraction process. One source said the population of Delamar included 400 widows at one point in time. The moniker “widow-maker” was apparently well-deserved. Remaining at Helene is a tailings pile from one excavation and a much-vandalized graveyard. Helene is on the way and just over the crest from Delamar.
Gravestones are pretty much non-existent but the remaining decorative iron work is impressive in its detail and how well-preserved it remains.
Moving on over the hill, we could see a lot more of the remains of the town and the mining and millng operations. It was obvious this had been a significant operation in its day.
We decided we would spend the afternoon investigating further and stay in Delamar for the night.
We found a clear level spot above the mill and along the roadway with enough room for all of us and we hoped some protection from the wind. It commanded a great view of the area.
During the night and early morning, I got quite ill. I’m not sure if it was the excitement, the altitude, something I ate or an allergy pill I’d decided to skip. Although my allergies are pretty mundane fare around home, I’ve discovered that I can be very allergic to rare flowering plants in Hawaiian volcanoes and possibly the Nevada desert. While I’ll spare the details, the morning found me worried about dehydration and seriously considering cancelling the remainder of the trip. As it turns out, I was somewhat weak the next day but after that one night, all seemed to be okay.
Frenchie, on the other hand, was not quite as lucky as he also got ill. He tied the symptoms to a medical issue he’d dealt with a month or so earlier and did leave the trip to visit medical pros to follow up. We heard from him later that he got home okay though. He was missed along the rest of the trip as he is quite an entertaining travel companion.
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