Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dig Into The Past in Tonopah Nevada

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Madsen
I was traveling from the San Francisco area to Las Vegas heading south on US 95. I came upon a small town called Tonopah. At first as I drove around the town I noticed that the place looked a lot like a ghost town with live residence. There are clearly a population at Tonopah but there is also buildings and structures that you would find in a ghost town. I became interested and decided to learn more about Tonopah

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Madsen
Tonopah is located on US 95 in west-central Nevada, about midway between Reno and Las Vegas and is the county seat of Nye County. Tonopah sprang to life in 1900, just as the mining excitement at Nome, Alaska, was tailing off, and drew a large number of sourdoughs, among them Tex Rickard, Wyatt Earp, and Key Pittman. It is said that the founder of the old mining town of Tonopah stumbled onto a vein by accident. The town bills itself as the "Queen of the Silver Camps. It became the supply center for prospectors, and the for the new camps of Rawhide to the north and Goldfield and Bullfrog (Rhyolite) to the south Located just off the street leading to the Tonopah Mining Museum, you can find the old courthouse for Nye County. Wyatt Earp spent his final years working mining claims in the area. Tonopah peaked in the years leading up to World War I, when the mines averaged 38.5 million a year in production.

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Madsen
Tonopah is home to the Central Nevada Museum, an excellent free museum that provides information and displays about the mining history of the area. The Mining Park covers over 100 acres which includes portions of four of the original mining companies. This is the very spot where the original silver vein was discovered in 1900 on the hillside above the town. The museum offers a chance to explore the actual mines that created this mining town. It preserves mining company structures and equipment from four major mines. The artifacts are kept in a state of arrested decay. One of the best things about visiting the mining park is taking a self-guided tour of the grounds. The Tonopah Historic Mining Park is open daily April through September from 9 a.m.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Duhaime
In addition to its rich mining history, Tonopah offers its visitors many opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, bird watching, off-wheeling, hunting and stargazing.

Tonopah Test Range and its surrounding remote facilities are located approximately 30 miles south-east of the town. The Test Range, also known as Area 52, is a restricted military installation. The Range is also where the Red Eagles were based. The Red Eagles were a squadron of US Air Force pilots who flew Russian MiG fighter aircraft from 1979 to 1988, learning what the aircraft were capable of and how to fly against them. The Range has been administered for most of its life by Sandia National Laboratory and is the largest employer in Tonopah.

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Madsen
Also nearby is Tonopah Army Air Field, where you can visit and hear the history of the former military base before, during and after World War II. The field was originally a fighter training base but during world war II it was converted to a Bomber training Base. The lasting impression of Tonopah are the visual images that are around every turn. It is a great place to visit. The
photographs are courtesy of Teresa Madsen and Micheal Duhaime.
If you would like to see more of Teresa Madsen's
Photography you can find it at Tonopah Photo Gallery

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