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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

With Ghost Town USA

 

A Tour Guide to the Ghost Towns Along

U.S. HIGHWAY 6

From Bishop, California to Price, Utah

 

 

 

PART 3

Tonopah to Warm Springs, NV

 

 

 

CONTINUED from PART 2

 

The highway climbs up a long slope and enters…

TONOPAH

TONOPAH is a busy little road junction town, as well as the Nye County seat.  Its 2500 citizens cater to tourists, and the quiet, but still-living town sits at the eastern junction of US 6/US 95 in the heart of Southern Nevada.  It has numerous colorful buildings filled with an aura of history.  The Mizpah Hotel, TONOPAH’s one-time centerpiece is vacant as are a number of other larger buildings downtown.  For more details on this magnificent, century-old relic of the silver mining days, see our TONOPAH page. 

 

At the east end of town, US 95 divorces itself from US 6, then wanders off towards GOLDFIELD and points south.  Our route, US 6 continues east down a long slope past numerous mines and mill ruins.  About five miles to east it reaches a junction with State Highway (SH) 376.  Straight ahead on US 6, off in the distance on the south side of the highway, are some large, interesting-looking buildings, but, before we check them out, a detour is in order first.

 

BELMONT

Heading north on SH 376, we take aim on the old silver mining town of Belmont.  It is well worth the 40-mile, one-way detour up SH 376 AND SH 82 .  Ruins and a few occupied buildings remain.  As with TONOPAH, no details will be presented here.  Check it out on our BELMONT page.

 

TONOPAH ARMY AIR FIELD

Sprawling across a large area south of US 6 and 1.5 miles east of the junction with SH 376 is the former TONOPAH ARMY AIR FIELD.  From US 6, several large wooden hangers are visible in what is the still active TONOPAH AIRPORT.  But, what remains makes it well worth a stop.  The present-day main entrance is graced with a faded sign, and is open to the public.  (At least it was on July 6, 2008.)  Visible in the distance were a number of buildings, liquid storage tanks and a small cluster of trees.  West of the still-used runway are three large, round-topped, wooden hanger buildings made of ancient chocolate-brown wood, buildings, whose empty window sockets stare across the Nevada desert dreaming of the “good old days.

 

The first of the hangers is just over a half mile into the site.  Here a crumbling, paved road, lined with encroaching sagebrush leads to the right, to the open doors of the northernmost of the three remaining hangers.  Just to the east, several “modern” buildings supporting current airport operations are located along the nearly mile-long concrete apron abutting the runway. The hanger itself is about 90’ x 125’ and has huge sliding doors along the south side.  Inside were a couple of modern private airplanes. Outside, along the west side and semi-hidden in the weeds was the hulk of a dead airplane.

 

To the south, are a large water tank and a late 20th Century trailer park with a dozen or so weathered, but occupied mobile homes. West of the complex are a few fairly recent homes and a smattering of concrete foundations. Having spent a little time in the Army, I quickly recognized the layout of what appeared to be the remains of barracks:  latrine (bathroom) slab at one end, with rows of pier foundations that supported the building down the middle.  At the far end were concrete steps for the front entry.  Other slabs and foundations remained of offices, warehouses, mess halls, a hospital, the post exchange, a bakery, post theater, sewage treatment plant and other structures that once supported the thriving Tonopah Army Air Field from 1942-1945.  There were also faded street signs (with the proud names of some of the fighters and bombers that won that war for us:  Bearcat, Corsair, Liberator, Mustang.), rusting fire hydrants, in what may have been the bases’ housing area.  There are also the remains of hookup pedestals of what appeared to have once been a large mobile home park. (A badly faded sign along the highway indicated the “Joshua Country RV Park” with “Full Hookups.”)  A secondary entrance near that sign led people directly to the hookups, just beyond a couple of recent homes.  My guess is that this part of the development came long after the base closed. The entry monument MAY have been the original base entry and may have been protected with a guard shack.  The layout indicates that as a distinct possibility.

 

Right in the heart of the main part of the former base, a tall chimney and concrete slab the same size and layout as the three existing hangers indicated another hanger, although this one had been burned in the not-too-distant past. Staggered door tracks remained in the concrete slab, but the building was gone, with only charred wooden plates remaining attached to the slab.  The tracks really show how the staggered wooden doors overlapped to open the front of the hanger to allow airplanes access. (Photo is from the eastern hanger.)

 

Further south, two other hangers still stand, although the east hanger in the center is looking a bit ragged.  The southernmost one is 1.8 miles south of the entry. Both are posted with “KEEP OUT” signs, and I elected to obey them, although I did stick my head through the open doors on the center one for some photos. 

 

Other items of interest on the site include a small refinery near the present airport offices and several large, concrete, ammunition bunkers on the northeast side of the airport, located behind an automobile racetrack.

 

The TONOPAH ARMY AIR FIELD was established in 1940 as a support base and administrative center for a nearby gunnery range.  Actual construction began in 1941 and the Army moved-in in 1942. The focus of the base quickly changed to training fighter crews. A year later, around 2000 troops were training for overseas duty.  B-24 bomber training was added, and from September through November 1943 a major renovation and expansion of the base coincided with the arrival of the B-24s.  In 1944, the base population reached about 6500 troops, about a quarter of which were officers. Tonopah Army Air Field had become one of Nevada’s largest military bases.

 

When the war ended in August 1945, the troops and planes quickly disappeared, and the Tonopah Army Air Field was placed on inactive status. It formally closed in 1948 and was deeded to Tonopah for use as a civilian airport.

           

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  If any of you readers were stationed here, or have family members that trained here, I’d love to hear from you. Please E-mail me OR contact me by regular mail at PO Box 1328, Moreno Valley, CA  92556-1328. I really want to learn more about this fascinating place.  Also, I’d LOVE to post any contemporary photos or memories any of you may have of this place.

 

Returning to US 6, we again head east.  Now that US 95 traffic is no longer on the road, the highway begins to appear totally vacant.  US 50 claims to be the “Loneliest Highway in America,” but I put my money on this segment of US 6: between here and Ely! This is the TRUE Loneliest Road!  Here US 6 arrows dead straight for 13 miles, until it curves out of view and disappears in the distant mountains. In the Monitor Range, tucked off into side washes near the highway are the barren sites of a number of old mining camps I did not visit: HANNAPAH (gold-silver, 1902-1929), ELLENDALE (gold, 1909-1912, peak population of 350 people) or CLIFFORD (1905-1929). After passing over Warm Springs Summit, the road curves north, and runs downhill towards the junction of US 6/SH 375 (The Extraterrestrial Highway). At that junction is a cluster of abandoned buildings.

 

WARM SPRINGS

The little crossroads community of WARM SPRINGS sits at that junction on the southeastern slope of the Hot Creek Range.  During the past 44 miles, US 6 was totally empty.  I saw no cars, no towns, no ghost towns, nothing of interest. After passing up and over Warm Springs Summit and making a wide, sweeping, descending turn to the north, I burst upon this empty townlet filled with abandoned buildings.  It really reminded me of one of The Twilight Zone television episodes where people disappeared off the face of the earth.  I parked the Ghost Town Express on the wide dirt pullout in front of the former Warm Springs bar & café and started to explore the remains of WARM SPRINGS. I began at the small pool house, hiking up the hill, following a stream of warm, stinky water towards its source spring up the hill. Reaching it, I had a great overview of the site. Spread out below were the remains of this former travel stop, resort, RV park and road town – now all dead and nearly forgotten.  Warm Springs consists of a large water tank, a small fenced-off pool house with its still-full swimming pool, the old bar/café, a 1970s trailer park without the trailers, a rock corral, a small rock building adjacent to it and a handful of unidentifiable shacks, older wooden buildings, ruins and dead cars. There is also a rock house and garage on the hill above all the others.  GNIS lists an airport at the site, and the  aerial photo does show what appears to be a runway running NW-SE to the east of the trailer park and south of the creek running parallel to and south of SH 375.

 

The spring was discovered in 1866 and a rock house was built at the spring, above the current complex.  It served as a travel stop along the roads to Elko and Eureka.  In the early 1900s a store and “lodging house” were built. A post office operated by Ethyl Allred was open here January 1924 – June 1929, during the town’s zenith. This is a fascinating site, and worth a visit. I wonder if Ethyl Allred was involved with the former town of ALLRED (in part 4)?

 

Leaving WARM SPRINGS in the rearview mirror, we continue to head north…

 

CONTINUED in PART 4  

 

 

 

PREVIOUS – Part 3 - NEXT

 

PART 1: Bishop, CA to CA/NV State Line

PART 2: CA/NV State line to Tonopah, NV

PART 3: Tonopah to Warm Springs, NV

PART 4: Warm Springs, NV to NV/UT State Line

PART 5: NV/UT State Line to the Tintic Mining District, UT

PART 6: The Tintic Mining District to Price, UT

PART 7: Coal Mining Camps west of Price, UT

 

 

 

GPS and Standard Township/Range locations for the sites featured above

 

SITE NAME

ELEV.

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

TOWNSHIP/RANGE

Belmont (Nye Co.)

7424’

38.5960444 / 38° 35’ 46” N

-116.8742436 / 116° 52’ 27” W

NW¼ Sec 25, NE¼ Sec 26 T9N, R45E, MDM (Mount Diablo Meridian)

Clifford (Nye Co.)

6171’

38.1377133 / 38° 08' 16" N

-116.4781113 / 116° 28' 41" W

NE3 Sec 3, T3N, R49E, MDM

Ellendale (Nye Co.)

6601’

38.0985469 / 38° 05’ 55” N

-116.7570077 / 116° 45’ 25” W

Ctr Sec 19, T3N, R47E, MDM

Hannapah (Nye Co.)

6417’

38.1271570 / 38° 07’ 38” N

-116.9170147 / 116° 55’ 01” W

NW3 Sec 32, T3N, R45E, MDM

Junction SH 376/SH 82 (Road to Belmont)

5844’

38.256494

-117.078472

SE¼ Sec 30, T5N, R44E, MDM

Junction US 6/SH 376

5534’

38.071339

-117.127562

WCtr Sec 35, T3N, R43E

Tonopah (Nye Co.) - Town Center

4823’

38.0671553 / 38° 04’ 02” N

-117.2300825 / 117° 13’ 48” W

S½ Sec 35, T3N, R42E, MDM / N½ Sec 2, T2N, R42E, MDM

Tonopah (Nye Co.) - Junction US 95/6

 

38.063103

-117.223263

NE¼ Sec 2, T2N, R42E, MDM

Tonopah - Belmont Mine – milling complex (Nye Co.)

Approx. 6280’

38.070410

-117.215677

SW¼ Sec 36, T3N, R42E, MDM

Tonopah - Mizpah Hotel (Nye Co.)

 

38.068264

-117.230676

Tonopah Airport – Main Entrance

 

38.072943

-117.100396

NE¼ Sec 36, T3N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – North Hanger

 

38.064362

-117.098873

SE¼ Sec 36, T3N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – West hanger slab

 

38.058618

-117.101254

NE¼ Sec 1, T2N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – Center Hanger

 

38.053025

-117.093208

SW¼ Sec 6, T2N, R44E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – South Hanger

 

38.045539

-117.093079

NW¼ Sec 7, T2N, R44E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – barracks fdns

 

38.060780

-117.106726

NW¼ Sec 1, T2N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – large building fdns

 

38.065511

-117.109902

SW¼ Sec 36, T3N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – theater slab

 

38.064919

-117.107091

SW¼ Sec 36, T3N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – mobile home fdns

 

38.069903

-117.110031

SW¼ Sec 36, T3N, R43E, MDM

Tonopah Airport – ammunition bunkers

 

38.071525

-117.084990

Ctr Sec 31, T3N, R44E, MDM

Warm Springs (Nye Co.)

5423’

38.1660461 / 38° 09' 58" N

-116.4447776 / 116° 26' 41" W

West-Central Sec 20, T4N, R50E, MDM

 

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called:

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.  Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE: Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.  THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6 above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same. 

When you are exploring the ghost towns along US HIGHWAY 6, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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FIRST POSTED:  February 22, 2010

LAST UPDATED: June 15, 2014

 

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