November 6, 2005
Nevada's Online State News Journal
MINERAL COUNTY 957
BY J. G. ATCHISON.
[From The History of Nevada, edited by Sam P. Davis, vol. II (1912)]
On the 10th day of February, 1911, the Legislature erected the County of Mineral out of the northern portion of Esmeralda County. The Governor appointed as the first Board of County Commissioners, J. H. Miller, of Hawthorne, F. R. Red, of Rawhide, and B. R. Balzar, of Mina. The Board organized on February 18th, 1911, and appointed the following named County officers : Sheriff and Assessor, Eugene Grutt, of Rawhide ; Clerk and Treasurer, J. G. Atchinson, of Hawthorne; Recorder and Auditor, John Gallagher, of Hawthorne ; District Attorney, H. F. Brede, of Rawhide ; Public Administrator, W. E. Beauchamp, of Hawthorne County ; Surveyor, L. B. Spencer, of Hawthorne. These officers held until the next general election in 1912 at which election Eugene Grutt was again elected to the same office, J. H. White to the office of Clerk and Treasurer, S. T. Kelso to the office of Recorder and Auditor, John R. Melrose to the office of District Attorney, J. H. Miller and F. R. Red and Sol M. Summerfield were elected as a Board of County Commissioners.
This is essentially a Mineral County as it is named, although there is considerable agricultural area, principally in the northwestern portion of the county along the East Walker River and its tributaries, Sweetwater and Bodie Creeks, from the boundary line between California and Nevada to the boundary line between Mineral and Lyon Counties at the head of Walker Lake on the Indian reservation. The soil, in other portions of the county wherever water can be obtained, has proved highly productive.
The Nevada and California Railway extends through about the center of the county from its N. W. boundary to the S. E. boundary line, skirting the eastern shore of Walker Lake. Several ranges of mountains traverse the county from northwest to southeast, all of which are highly mineralized and are continuously being explored and developed by prospectors and miners. The majority of the towns of the county are the
958 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
result of the discovery of mines rich in gold, silver, copper, lead, etc. Earlier than the discovery of the Comstock, the mines of Aurora were producing millions in gold, and have been producers continuously, in varying quantities ever since. Very recently the Knight Investment Co. took over the principal mines and are prosecuting development work vigorously and are erecting a reduction works of 500 tons capacity daily. Aurora is situated near the boundary line of Nevada and California and 12 miles northeast of Bodie, Cal. (Mark Twain was discovered there). In the next range to the east, the Walker Lake Range, are numerous mining districts from the Beach Yerington and surrounding copper producers in the northern portion of the range, to mines in the Huntoon district in the southern portion of the county. The Chip-Munk Springs, Walker Lake, Mt. Cory, Alum Creek, etc. The Luckyboy mines are in Alum Creek district and produced over a million in silver and lead in a year. A tunnel is being driven on this property to a distance of six thousand feet to develop the known ore-bodies at a vertical depth of a thousand feet. The next range some 10 miles to the east, and generally parallel, extends the full length of the county, and in it are situated the Rawhide mines, in the northern portion. The phenomenally rich gold ore discovered here caused the Rawhide boom in the years 1906, 1907, and 1908. Rawhide is a steady producer, three quartz mills being in operation there and satisfactory returns being had. Further south, and all along the range on the eastern shore of Walker Lake, mining is being done with satisfactory results. In the next range to the east are the copper mines of Luning District and the mines surrounding Mina. Still further south are the mines of Candelaria, discovered in the early seventies, which have produced millions in silver, and are still producing. To the west of Candelaria is situated the Teels Borax marsh where F. M. Smith (the Borax King) made his start in borax production. This marsh has produced millions of dollars worth of borax. On the line of the Nevada & California Railway, in the northern part of the county, and near the head of Walker Lake, is the town of Schurz, the headquarters of the Indian Reservation officials. Walker Lake extends north and south a distance of 26 miles in length and averages four miles in width.
In the valley at the south end of the lake is situated the County Seat, Hawthorne, a veritable oasis in the desert. The soil is productive and is irrigated with water brought from the mountains to the west. Every
MINERAL COUNTY 959
residence is surrounded by shade, fruit trees and gardens, while the rest of the valley is arid, the waters of the lake being slightly high in akali for irrigation purposes. Hawthorne was the county seat of Esmeralda County prior to 1907, when Goldfield was made the county seat. The forming of the new county again made Hawthorne the seat of government. The town was built in 1881 on the advent of the Carson & Colorado R. R., afterward the Nevada & California R. R., and was division headquarters of that road. To the east of Hawthorne, on the line of the R. R., is the town of Luning, the supply point for the copper-mines of that vicinity. Twelve miles south is the flourishing town of Mina, division point of the railroad, and where the machine-shops, round-house, etc., are situated. Surrounding Mina is a rich mineral country, and it is being vigorously developed. Three miles further south is Sodaville noted for its mineral soda springs. Sodaville, some four miles, the Narrow Gauge R. R. leaves the main line and runs southwesterly through the county and on through Mono and Inyo counties to Los Angeles, Cal. Since the creation of Mineral County it has been prosperous. The valuation of assessable property being over two and a quarter millions. Expenses are light. Every community has its public school well equipped and well taught. There are thirteen school districts in the county. All in all the youngest county in the State has a bright future.