Sunday we visited Silver Peak and Gold Point. These two fit the definition of a ghost town that is still alive but significantly less-populated than in their peak times.
To get to Silver Peak, we headed back in the direction of Tonopah and the highway. We turned off and stopped at a crossroads at Pearl Springs. In this location, the water supplies for several settlements branched out. We again found koi in the pool. This spot was marked as private property so our views were limited and we moved on.
Signs warned of road construction on our way to Silver Peak. On the approach to SIlver Peak, we spotted a large lake with aqua/turquoise blue water, obviously showing the effects of chemical content. The lake and its surrounding activity are parts of the active lithium mining by Rockwood Lithium, taking place in the area.
Silver Peak still has a post office along with the building that was formerly the post office. There are several commercial buildings, including a 6 unit motel along the center of the town, most of which have sale or lease signs in the window. As a note of comparison, there are photos on the web from 2000 that show many of these buildings having operating businesses.
We left Silver Peak en route to Gold Point. Along the way, Michael experienced his second blowout of the trip.
While we had been in Tonopah on Saturday, Michael had attempted to replace the first blown tire but unfortunately found a merchant who believed that his role was to soak every customer once while you had the chance. This tire store in Tonopah is closed on weekends, there may be others where you would have a much better experience. Among the many other charges, a weekend callout fee was included in the $600 the merchant wanted to replace the first blown out tire. Michael declined and decided to chance it without a spare of his own but his luck didn’t carry him through. In the picture, you can plainly see the blown rear tire while everyone is working on the front. The thought process was to put the off-sized spare on the non-drive front and move the same size front to the rear to avoid excessive wear on the rear driveline. It seemed like a good idea at the time. As it worked out, the odd size tire interfered with the brakes operation and they wound up having to switch the tires back before Michael was able to move. We located another tire store across the line in California that would open on Sunday and had two tires in stock that combined cost less than the one in Tonopah. Michael spoke later of how the guy there was very thorough and customer-oriented. I don’t know the names of the two tire stores involved and don’t wish to mislead but advise the reader to proceed with caution if you’re in a similar situation.
While Michael went off to tend to tires, the rest of us went on to Gold Point with plans to meet up later that day. The meetup didn’t happen until the next morning. This is testimony as to why the longer range HAM radio has a place in desert traveling over the limited range CB radio. Enough about all that.
Gold Point is a tourist destination with an active, though maybe limited, tourism industry to support the preservation of the town. Memorial Day weekend is designated as paranormal weekend and Labor Day weekend also has a theme which escapes me at the moment. As part of the festivities, there was a parade through town which included clowns, the transparent woman and even a unicycle rider.
Gold Point’s preservation/restoration is a project largely credited to Sheriff Stone. To help raise funds for the restoration, several of the houses are available for rent on the weekends. Stone also prepares quite a spread for breakfast and dinner for a reasonable price. We decided to hang around for steak dinner.
There are a number of old fire trucks on the property as well. I never quite got the connection unless its another hobby of a collector.
For over 20 years now Walt and I, with many thousands of dollars from our own money from working, have been purchasing building materials and working on all the different cabins and buildings. It takes thousands of dollars to rebuild and preserve even a small old miner’s cabin, and we have 12, not to mention the other bigger buildings, so it’s been a slow process. Each year we find the price of wood products continues to climb.
It takes a lot of different materials to save a cabin. The only thing we generally do to the outside is put on a roof. We try not to put on any new wood unless absolutely necessary. Rolled asphalt roofing is usually applied first. Then as we get the extra money we put on the cedar shingles.
Inside is a little more complex. These 100 year old cabins and buildings were built without any framing like we build today. The walls are only as thick as the 1 x 12 inch board and bats that were used. We go in and strip the walls down to the original walls and then build a 2 x 4 frame inside. This stabilizes the cabin tremendously. We can then install the electrical wires, insulation, sheet rock, paint and/or old newspapers or old fashioned wall paper, carpet, curtains and finally furniture. From www.GoldPointGhostTown.com
We visited the open businesses including the saloon and the mercantile and got some hints for a spot to camp that night. We had an interesting discussion with one of the landowners/residents who told us a bit about what its like to live in a place like this. This particular resident has retired and stays in Gold Point mainly but also has a second home elsewhere. The resident specifically asked that details not get shared on the internet so you’re just going to have to visit and find out for yourself. 🙂
After our steak dinner, we wandered around a bit more.
I met a guy in the saloon who was asking about the Little Guy as he also had a teardrop trailer that he and his son had used in one of the parks for their vacation.
Eventually we decided to go find a camping spot away from the crowd. We eventually landed at a dry wash about half mile or so out of town after turning down several spots.
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