Nevada Ghost Towns

This week we have a special post from our colleague, Erich Purpur, down in DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library. Enjoy!

DeLaMare's Google Earth InterfaceThe W.M. Keck Museum and DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library are housed in the historic Mackay Mines building on South Campus. Historically, the library and museum existed as supplementary resources to the Mackay School of Mines’ teaching and learning mission. Today, the two serve not only mining and geology related disciplines but the entire science & engineering community on campus. Nevada would not be what it is today without its long history of mining and this tradition is kept alive in the Keck museum. In fact, the mining industry is so integral to the state’s history it is written in the University of Nevada’s constitution that it must have a School of Mines. When museum director Garrett Barmore voiced a desire to usher in more interactive tools to complement the rich mining history exemplified in the museum, we at the DeLaMare Library took this opportunity to join forces. The idea was to use an existing large display environment at DeLaMare and through Google Earth to leverage and show off university resources related to the history of mining in Nevada. The Nevada Ghost town project was born. Due to the volatile nature of mining boom/busts from the mid 1800s through early 1900s, Nevada is littered with remnants of once thriving mining towns. Montello, NevadaDriven by potential fortunes to be made by mining gold, silver, copper, etc. towns literally popped up over night. Some struck it big while many others went bust and residents moved onto the next location. Many of these towns were quite rowdy and featured many saloons and brothels and the environment truly was that of the Wild West. Many stories came to light such as the meteoric rise and fall of Goldfield and Pioche being crowned “Boldest Town in the West” over other notorious frontier outposts such as Tombstone, AZ and Dodge City, KS. The display allows users to click on one of 37 significant towns to learn more about Nevada’s history. While many locations truly are ghost towns (population: 0), also featured are places whose population is much diminished from its heyday (ex: Virginia City) as well as Reno and Las Vegas. On a personal note, the project was very educational for me. As I am not a native Nevadan I know infinitely more about the state’s history than before. Also, a big thank you goes to UNR’s Special Collections department who has archived significant historic photo collection and by allowing us to publish the images made for a much richer experience. All images used are from Special Collections & University Archives. The Nevada Ghost Towns project is now being shown off daily in the DeLaMare Library’s atrium for your viewing and learning pleasure.

For more information on this project, please contact the DeLaMare Library.