Along US95 about 9 miles north of the deserted rest stop and motel of Coaldale, NV travelers can find Nevada Historical Marker Number 20. NHM #20 tells a story about the mining town named Columbus.
Founded in 1865 by the discovery of silver in the Candelaria Hills, Columbus was part of the Candelaria Mining District, which included Candelaria, Metallic City (Pickhandle Gulch), Sodaville, and Belleville. Some older reports refer to the area as the Columbus Mining District. This mining district became southwestern Nevada’s most productive district producing over $20 million in silver ore during the time period of 1870-1880.
By 1866, Columbus was a bustling town of 200 inhabitants mostly dependent on the salt industry. Columbus was the ideal location for a mill due to the sufficient amount of water for mill operations, a plentiful water source was located roughly 5 miles southeast of the principal mines. Back in those days the metallurgic mines of Nevada consumed a large quantity of salt. As interest in silver mining decrease as smaller and smaller deposits were discovered the town operations switched from salt to another mineral compound. In 1871, a rich supply of borax was discovered nearby.
By 1875 the town had a school, post office, iron foundry, and a weekly newspaper called The Borax Miner. By 1881, the borax company closed down and relocated, causing the town to decline. By the mid 1880’s, the town was completely dead.
Numerous operations have since tried to revive the borax mining up through to today but few have lasted.
GPS Coordinates: 38.11027 N, -118.01916 W