Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mining Ghost Town

Sometimes when you're researching unmarked vintage photographs, they can play tricks on you. This 1920s or -30s print of a mining ghost town was printed from a backwards negative, so the view is flipped horizontally, but I didn't know that when I started searching. The version at the right how the print appears. Below is how the view actually would appear to someone standing in this spot. After searching the internet for similar views in order to identify the town,

The photo flipped back to how the view actually looks
I came up empty, so did what I should have done in the first place: contact the good folks over at the Western Mining History website (and you can also follow their posts on Facebook!). It wasn't long before I heard back from them that this was Nevadaville, Colorado (also known sometimes as Nevada City), and they have a page of current photos of the town (they also host this photo from 1900 from aproximately the same vantage point). The giveaway that the photo had been flipped was the position of the building with the three arches next to the larger brick building. Another early photo can be found here, and a stereoview can be found here.

Nevadaville is the eastern-most of three mining towns in Colorado's Gregory Gulch (the other two are Central City and Blackhawk), and the towns sprang up after prospector John Gregory discovered gold in the area in 1859. At its peak in 1880, the town had just over a thousand residents, but today boasts a whole six!

The large brick building is the Nevadaville Masonic Temple, and is still in use by the Freemasons. After their original meeting hall burned with most of the rest of the town in 1861, they added a second story to this building. As that fire burned through the town, the residents dynamited a number of buildings to successfully stop the progress. The building with the three arches was once a saloon built by Joseph and John Kraemer. The building at the far right in the above photo has since been restored and serves as a general store. The house behind the Masonic Temple still stands today, and in 2012 was for sale for a whopping $47,000.

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