Located along the slopes of Bald Mountain, the town of Manhattan, Nevada is a typical high altitude mining area located at roughly 7,000 feet elevation. It is located roughly 50 miles north of Tonapah, and south of the Round Mountain Gold Mine in Nye County. The history of mining in the area is consistent with many of the “boom and bust” mining towns in Nevada. Given the remote location, this area still holds good potential for undiscovered mineral deposits based on remoteness of the town.
Some prospectors successfully use metal detectors
to search for gold nuggets in this region.
In 1866, silver was discovered along the slopes of Bald Mountain which attracted immediate interest in the post-Civil War era. The town quickly sprung up and the area was heavily mined for silver ore. However, it was only three years later that the mining activity in the area began to slow down as the amount of silver quickly started drying up.
Although some mining companies stayed on, by 1890 the town of Manhattan was virtually abandoned with the richest deposits of silver being depleted. A few hearty miners stayed on to pick at the remaining amounts, but it seemed that Manhattan was destined to be a ghost town just a few years after its initial construction.
The discovery was made by accident as four cowboys that were travelling from Belmont passed through Manhattan Gulch and discovered the ore outcrops which had exceptional value at the time of $3,000 per ton. It was not long before prospectors flooded the area and additional outcrops of ore were discovered.
By the end of 1905, a post office had been set up and the once abandoned town was springing back to life as over 75 frame buildings including hotels, saloons, three banks and three newspapers were located in the area. The population reached 1,000 and all seemed bright when in April, 1906 the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco also greatly shook the Manhattan area causing a considerable amount of damage.
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While the town survived, the indirect result was that the financiers who had supported Manhattan’s mining efforts quickly withdrew to San Francisco to help rebuild the city. With the banks closing the population of the town quickly dropped to just a few hundred people. Although new discovering in 1906 and 1907 helped keep the town alive, it was the discovery of large placer deposits along the edge of Big Smoky Valley just a few miles from Manhattan that helped bring back the mining companies that worked the area until the end of World War II.
Today, the town of Manhattan has a relatively small population of around 100 people. Still, it remains a fascinating area for people to visit and even try their hand at finding some of the valuable minerals that still might be in the region. The recently high price of gold and silver has seen mining activity take place on a small-scale all around Nevada even today.
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