Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

Tonopah, Nevada
Some Unnamed RV Park
(see yesterday's blog)

The lady in the RV park office recommended the Central Nevada Museum and just mentioned the Mining Park.  Since the Central Nevada Museum didn't open until 1 pm on Saturday's we decided to visit the Tonopah Historic Mining Park this morning and come back home until time for the museum to open.

Bill wasn't too sure he wanted to do the park, once we started driving in.  It was a very steep dirt road up to the visitor center.  When we walked in the man that greeted us said he was having trouble with the electric.  The mining park was noted for the only "movie theater" in town.  He said there was a 20 minute film on the town of Tonopah and if we wanted to see it, he'd find a couple of chairs and bring it out to a TV that had electric.  We were glad we watched the movie as it explained a lot about the town and Jim Butler.  

If you wanted to take a self guided walking tour of the 100 acre park, the fee was $3.00 for seniors.  The visitor center is at 6,200 feet elevation.  The man suggested that we skip the Desert Queen Mine and North Star Mine "since we weren't used to the altitude".  What a polite way of saying "you're too old to climb to the top of that mountain."
The North Star Mine is up by the writing near the top of the mountain.

Let me first tell you the legend of Jim Butler.  Jim decided to check out Klondike for gold when he heard about the strikes there.  When he left his home about 80 miles away he took his burro.  When he awoke the next morning, the burro was gone.  When he found the burro, he was so mad he picked up a rock to throw at the burro.  The rock was very heavy so he took the rock back home with him.  He had an assay of the rock done and found out it was silver and gold.  
You were allowed to walk around all four mines.  

Jim's wife named the Mizpah mine which was the richest.  It was the first to use steel for the head frame.

I couldn't stand on the grate and look down the 600 feet to the mine.  

These rail cars were used on a narrow gauge railroad.

There are many different building at this mine

The buildings in the back were open to explore.

The Framer's Building was full of equipment.

This tent would have been used by the "leasers".  Jim found out that he didn't have the men he needed to run the mine.  He offered men 25% of everything they took out of the mine to work the mine.  This was agreed upon with a handshake and these men became known as The Leasers.  

It was a lot of walking, but every time you went down a path, you found something else interesting.  

I was surprised that Bill went into the Burro Tunnel.  

When you came out of the tunnel......
You were standing over this part of the mine.  Believe me, that's a lot deeper than the photo shows.

I hope they take a count of how many people are down in these mines before they close for the night. 

This is how they brought the ore up from the mine.

Now were hiking up the hill to the the Silver Top Mine.  

This mine was in operation from 1902 to 1948.

You can view 1200 feet down the shaft.

This was the grizzly where the good ore went into the bins.

The leasers would have used this original cabin.
Here's part of a stamping mill which would have run 24/7.  We had the opportunity to see and hear one in use recently at the Superstition Museum that we visited last month.  They are really loud.
We walked all over that park and only saw a small part of it.  The Mining Park is some place we'd return to.

After we left the park we cruised the main street of town looking for a restaurant to stop for lunch.  We ended up in a pizza shop and ordered a Greek and Antipasti salad.  Bill and I were both surprised at how good they were.  We needed to sit down before going to the museum.

What a let down after visiting the Mining Park.  I think we were in and out of the Central Nevada Museum in about 20 minutes.  
The area at one time had 30,000 military personnel here.

That large basket on the counter was a casket.

I always think of Ron Lictenberg and Vicki Allen when I see these post office displays.

I thought the outside displays were better than the interior ones.
I couldn't find any explanation of where this came from.

These old buildings were grouped to look like a town.

Of course Bill thinks this was used to transport prisoners.
We passed the Clown Motel but I didn't get any photos.  There is also a lunar crater nearby that the astronauts trained for the lunar landing that we'll check out another time.

Tonopah is considered number one in the nation for stargazing.  I wonder if our friend Dave Burtrum has been here.  

The sign on the road says "next gas 100 miles."  I think we've just gone from one gas stop to the next to stay overnight. 

Turtle Safely.........


  1. Thanks for the tour. Tonopah is now on our list.

    1. It's 100 miles from the next gas station. 25 Miles away was a small area called Goldfield that looked like fun if we'd have stayed longer.

  2. Looks like the mining park was interesting, too bad about the museum, travel safe.

    1. There wasn't anything wrong with the museum just that we've seen the same old things before. I'm sure there are unique things about this town they could have displayed.

  3. Bill, looks like you started the AK beard......
    see ya next month?!

    1. Yeah, peer pressure, he needs to start his beard sooner. It's at that ugly stage. Hasn't shaved since we left CG.

  4. What a neat mine. Glad you were able to actually walk through part of it. I can't even image having to make a living working there.

    1. There was a sign that said every rock had been moved by a shovel.

  5. Another place to add to our to do list. We did Goldfield years ago, very neat.

    1. I really wanted to stop but we couldn't find a place to pull over.

  6. Looks like you're getting lots of touring done before you get to Alaska.


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