A small herd of pronghorn antelope and cattle graze on the side of the road, gradually stopping to assess the situation as I pass by. Today I am visiting the living ghost town of Manhattan, NV.
At the end of State Route 377, travelers will find the small Nye County town called Manhattan.
The town nestles between cedar wooded Toquima mountains east of U.S. Highway 375 on the way to Tonopah about 254 miles from Reno.
Manhattan epitomizes the living mining towns that pepper Nevada’s rugged backcountry. Nevada Ghost Towns are often remote, located in the foothills of a mountain range ideal for a mining community.
Originally called Pine Tree Camp, the town is legendary for a local troublemaker who had been tied to a tall pine in the middle of town who returned after his release and chopped the tree down.
Manhattan Gulch was originally settled when prospectors discovered silver deposits in 1866. The town was founded in 1867 in what would be called the Manhattan Mining District. The silver boom was short lived as 1st. Lieutenant George Wheeler discovered the town abandon in 1871 during his survey expeditions of the west.
On April 1, 1905, a gentleman by the name of John Humphrey discovered gold in Manhattan Canyon. The site would later be name the April Fool Hill. This discovery created a gold boom that revitalized the town by attracting hundreds of fortune seekers from other parts of the country.
In typical fashion, a post office was established later that same year. A business district had taken shape along the length of the Gulch, along with saloons and a hotel. Good times came to halt as the combination of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the 1907 financial panic caused investors to restrict investment capital in mining operations and forced the local bank to close. Nevertheless, Manhattan mines continued to operate by producing gold, silver and copper. Ore production fell off during the Depression and World War II. By the end of 1947, the Manhattan Mining District produced over $10 million in ore.
During the gold boom, Nye & Ormsby County Bank was built in 1906. It was the only stone structure built in town. Today, the walls of the bank still stand along with the small vault and rusted doors.
In the true tradition of mining, the Belmont Catholic Church (built in 1874) relocated itself by wagon to Manhattan after sitting vacant for almost 7 years and was renamed the Manhattan Catholic Church.
Since 1906, the Manhattan Bar has been serving trusty prospectors, miners and others for over a 100 years.
Until his death in 1976, Howard Hughes owned gold and silver properties as part of his mining empire. These claims were the only ones he actually mined.
Today, several old wooden head-frames and dilapidated buildings preserve parts of Manhattan’s extraordinary mining past.
Did you know that there was a place named Manhattan in Nevada?
GPS Coordinates: 38.53890 N, -117.07486 W