As years go on, ghost towns are slowly disappearing from the Nevada landscape. Tybo, NV is one ghost town that manages to fight against the odds.
Lead and Silver ore discoveries were made in the area by independent miners as early as 1866, however, a small consolidated mining camp named Tybo did not appear until 1874,.
The first major ore discovery was made in 1870 by Dr. Galley and M.V. Gillett who developed their operations into the Two-G Mine. By 1875, Tybo had twice–a-week stage service to Eureka and daily service to Belmont, a Wells Fargo office, the Trowbridge & Co. Store (shown in the picture), the Rosenthal Store, Barney McCann’s Restaurant, and W.R. Mills & Co Bank.
By the summer of 1876 the population had grown to almost 1,000 divided into three separate ethnic sections, an Irish section, a Central European section and a Cornish section. The town had grown and now had five stores, a number of saloons, two blacksmith shops, a post office and a newspaper which printed the Tybo Sun. In 1879, The owners of the Two-G mine became so indebted to Trowbridge that he became the mine’s principle owner.
Tybo continued to prosper and by 1877 Tybo had built a brick school (which still stands today), and new businesses included the William Tell Saloon, The Court Saloon, The Exchange Saloon, the Tybo Baker, the Tybo Brewery and Saloon, the N.J. Devine Blacksmith Shop, the Erie Lodging House, the Delmonico Restaurant.
In the spring of 1877, Henry Allen used more than 500,000 bricks to build fifteen kilns up the canyon to replace the original stone kilns built in 1874 which still stand today. These kilns would produce charcoal to fuel the smelting operations.
From 1877 to 1880, Tybo was Nye County’s top producer and second only to Eureka in total lead production for the entire state. In early 1881 a drastic drop in ore quality caused the mill to close. By the end of 1881 the population of the town was only 100 and the future looked bleak. A major fire struck the town in 1884 and destroyed thirty-two buildings for a loss of $33,500.
By 1886, mining activity in Tybo gradually decreased to a near stand still. In 1887, the Nye Mining Company gained control of the mines and hired a work force of 35 people but their success was limited and the company folded in the spring of 1889.The next few years saw Tybo nearly deserted and by 1894 there were only sixteen people left in the town. In May of 1906, the Nevada Smelting and Mines Company, with $5 million in capital, commenced operations in the canyon, however, their luck was short lived and by 1908 they had abandoned the town.
By 1911, the population of Tybo was only 4 residents. Tybo received another lease on life when in 1916 the Louisiana Consolidated Mining Company began to work a few local mines. Soon a fleet of ten trucks were hauling ore to mills in Tonopah. A 100 town concentration mill was built in Tybo in 1917 and it operated until 1918 when it was replaced by a flotation plant and lead smelter which operated until 1921.
By March of 1920 the company had brought electricity, telegraph and telephone service to the town. The company faltered in 1921 and had completely ceased operation by 1922. In December of 1924 the Manhattan-Tybo power company discontinued service to Tybo. Tybo’s last revival started in 1926, when the Keystone-Hot Creek Ming Company purchased property in Tybo. The company leased this property to the Treadwell-Yukon Company which built a 350-ton concentration mill and new smelter in 1929.
Treadwell-Yukon became the core of the Tybo revival employing 75 people by the start of 1929 and the post office reopened that same year. A number of two story boarding houses were built for the workers and prefabricated housing was built for some of the executives. There were 180 men on the payroll by the end of 1929. Tybo’s population had grown to 228 by 1930. Over the next eight years the mill processed 500,000 tons of lead ore. The company sunk a 1500 foot shaft during that period and discovered some small silver deposits while digging. In the boom-and bust tradition of ghost towns, Tybo’s last revival ended in 1937 when the mines played out and the company closed the mill. From 1942 to 1945 eighteen men worked hauling old tailings to Tonopah for processing producing the last ore to be mined in Tybo. From 1929 to 1937, Tybo’s mines produced $6.8 million worth of lead and silver ore with a total production value of an amazing $9.8 million for the town starting in 1866. An amazing feat especially since during Tybo’s peak production years lead and silver prices were at their lowest. If the ore were mined today it would be worth almost triple what it was at the time. In 1996, Tybo was auctioned off from that Alta Gold & Silver King Mining Company to private residents.
GPS Coordinates: 38.36993 N, -116.40116 W