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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 4

Warm Springs, NV to the NV/Ut State Line

 

 

 

CONTINUED from PART 3

 

TYBO

Eight miles up US 6, north of Warm Springs is the turnoff for TYBO, an old silver-lead mining town and one of rural Nevada’s better ghost towns. It was on my list of “MUST-STOPs,” however upon reaching the turnoff the rough condition of the definitely-needed-to-be-graded dirt road killed that idea immediately. My little car wouldn’t stand a chance on this road. TYBO is at the eastern base of the Hot Creek Range, about 6.5 miles west of that junction and consists of a number of buildings and ruins.  It is said to be well worth the effort to get to, WITH THE PROPER VEHICLE!  Tybo dates to the late 1860s, and by 1876 had 1000 people and all the attendant businesses needed to support them.  By the end of 1881, the town went bust when the mines and mills shut down.  It didn’t completely die, and some activity kept a few folks hanging on.  A fire in 1884 destroyed about half of the remaining buildings, which were not rebuilt.  In 1894 only 16 people remained.  The post office, which opened in September 1874, closed July 14, 1906 after a 32-year run.  By 1911, only four people still lived in what had effectively become a ghost town.  But good mines die hard, and TYBO’s were no exception.  

 

Another flurry of activity in the 1910s through the early 1920s renewed interest, but by 1924, the electricity was cut off and it was abandoned.  BUT, only for a couple of years.  In 1926 another flurry of activity reinvigorated TYBO, and a mill was set up to process lead ore.  By 1929 there were 75 people, and the post office reopened February 11, 1929.  In 1930 the census counted 228 folks, but in 1937 the mill and post office both closed.  TYBO’s production almost reached a total of $10,000,000.  A few people remain in the vicinity along with numerous buildings, a cemetery and some charcoal ovens.

 

Oh well, on to the next ghost. This was the first setback in an otherwise perfect trip.

 

About seven miles beyond the Blue Jay Highway Maintenance Station, US 6 makes its first turn after 25 miles of arrow-straight road north of Warm Springs. Winding through the sunburned Pancake Range, the highway crests Black Rock Summit and drops down the east side and into Railroad Valley. 

 

SILVERTON

Somewhere near the road in that summit area, are the remains of the 1921-1922 mining camp of SILVERTON.  I saw nothing.  But, then again, tent foundations and mine dumps aren’t highly visible at highway speeds. The mine was originally discovered in 1914, but it wasn’t until 1920 that any interest or development occurred.  On a flat area below the mines, a small tent camp popped up, and the canvas was quickly replaced by wood frame buildings.  The strike fizzled, and the camp died, the buildings being relocated elsewhere.

 

On July 19, 2010, I received the following bit of information from Daniel D.:  At the scant remains of Silverton you missed an interesting grave yard.  As of several years ago, my last visit, it was still being used.  Most of the grave were old but some more recent, and a few even had pictures of the deceased....

 

Thanks Dan for the SILVERTON & LOCKES info.

 

LOCKES

Further north, at the southwestern point of the Railroad Valley Wildlife Management Area are the remains of LOCKES. The only buildings visible amongst the trees and other greenery were a gas station and kit log cabin called BLACK ROCK STATION on the east side of the highway.  Since they looked active, I didn’t stop. Now I realize this was probably the site of LOCKES.

 

LOCKES was originally settled in the 1860s as a ranching center located near some springs used by freight teams.  It was first called Keyser or Kaiser Springs. In the 1920s a gas station and restaurant were built, followed by a school in 1935. The restaurant and gas station closed in the 1950s and the school sometime later.

 

On July 19, 2010, I received the following bit of information from Daniel D.:  “…Where the Black Rock store is you are at Lockes.  There are some buildings in the trees to the west of the store.  They are fenced and the Silver State cattle company leases and runs stock throughout the area.....More to see the next time you’re in the area.

 

 

ALLRED

Continuing northeast, the road passes by the now-barren site of ALLRED. It sits five miles north of the junction of US 6/Railroad Valley Road. A post office operated here April 17, 1911 to October 31, 1912. A couple tanks are in the area, along with a modern modular home. Nothing remains of the old post office or of any possible town site.  Ethyl ALLRED was the postmistress for the little town of WARM SPRINGS, located to the south, in the 1920s (SEE PART 3).  It’s possible that she was a member of the namesake family of ALLRED.  That’s purely a guess on my part, and I have no information to support or deny that supposition.

 

CURRANT

Five miles north of Allred, another abandoned town grabs our attention. CURRANT is pretty much a goner. The motel is dead, the beds are empty and remain unmade.  Out buildings between the motel and restaurant are dead.  The restaurant/bar/gas station is dead, the booths and other furnishings now collecting only dust. The RV Park is dead.  The garage is dead.  The only sign of life were some ranch-type structures on SH 379 to the northwest, two buildings south of the motel and in the green vines overtaking the old restaurant and the weeds sprouting up in the motel parking lot. This little ghost was what I needed to redeem the loss of a TYBO visit.

 

Currant is at the intersection of US 6/SH 379, about 114 miles northeast of Tonopah and 50 miles southwest of Ely and just nine miles shy of the county line.  It squats at the southern base of the White Pine Range, and its history is filled with ups and downs. It was founded as a farming town in 1868, and by the 1880s had around 50 people.  It also had a saloon and two stores.  Over the years has served as a stage station, ranching center and in the mid-1910s as a mining supply center. In the late 1930s and stretching into the 1940s, magnesite and minor gold mines were active in the area, keeping the little town alive.  A post office operated here three separate times:  April 16, 1883-May 5, 1884; September 19, 1892-July 31, 1922 and August 31 1926-December 31, 1943.  The restaurant/bar and attached gas station closed in 1996, its hanging sign still swinging in the ever-present breeze.

 

Leaving Currant, the road follows Currant Creek up towards Currant Summit. Hidden deep in a fold between two mountain ranges, the site of the old CURRANT SCHOOL is located 2.6 miles beyond Currant. It closed in 1966 and was burned by vandals on October 31, 1970, the victim of a bad Halloween prank. A cemetery is also located near the old school site.

 

For those folks interested in exploring the ghost towns of Nye County, author and ghost towner Shawn Hall as written an excellent book called Preserving the Glory Days.  This book should be the Bible for those wanting to see what this magnificent county has to offer.

 

 

NYE/WHITE PINE COUNTY LINE

The highway follows Currant Creek, continuing uphill to the northeast.  It is absorbed by a canyon between the White Pine Range, to the north, and the Horse Range, to the south.  Just 1.4 miles beyond Currant Summit, is the White Pine County line.  From here, the highway runs downhill towards the junction of US 6/SH 318.

 

BLACK JACK INN

At that junction, 13.7 miles northeast of the county line, the single-story, abandoned BLACK JACK INN sits forlorn and forgotten on the northeast corner.  Edward and Florence Funk, from the tiny ranching town of PRESTON, built the BLACK JACK INN in 1963 and operated it until 1975.  Since then it has passed through several owners, and has been closed for several years.  It consisted of a bar, café, casino, gas station and motel.  As I was getting real hungry, I elected to bypass the site and  as a consequence have no photos of it.  Located just 23 miles to the northeast, ELY, with its plethora of places to eat, beckoned. 

 

ELY

ELY is a very active, very historic and very picturesque gold mining town of some 5000 friendly folks, and serves as a major stopping place for hungry and tired Road Warriors.  At the southeastern end of town, the junction of US 6/50/93 supports a cluster of the best that corporate America has to offer in the way of gas stations, fast food joints and motels, all dangling their wares for road-weary tourists.  After topping up the Ghost Town Express’ gas tank, I headed over to Mickey-D’s to top up my stomach.  Here where the “Loneliest Road in America” and the “TRUE Loneliest Road” in America merge is a real oxymoron!  Nothing lonely about this stop!

 

I originally entertained the idea of exploring old ELY, but a nasty-looking, quickly growing thunderboomer off to the southeast changed my mind.  As that was the direction I had to go after leaving ELY, I made an executive decision to forgo ELY and tackle the next leg of the journey before the storm broke loose.  I didn’t particularly wish to drive through the peak of a Nevada thunderstorm.

 

It broke, and I did.

 

WARD CHARCOAL OVENS

 

Just a mile north of the junction with CR 45 - the northern access road to the WARD CHARCOAL OVENS - a grey curtain walloped the Ghost Town Express with marble-sized raindrops that rendered the windshield wipers useless.  I slowed to about 25 miles per hour and stared through the slapping wipers and into the grey mess.  The rain lightened up a bit and I spotted the junction of the road to the kilns.  What was once a wide, smooth, graded dirt road was a torrent of muck and brown water. 

 

Scratch another side trip. 

 

Located about 18 miles south of ELY, the WARD CHARCOAL OVENS are now a state historic park that preserves the six, 30’ tall, beehive-shaped charcoal ovens.  From 1876 until around 1879, they produced the charcoal that fueled the furnaces that smelted the silver and lead that came from the WARD mines. 

 

About four miles past the southern turnoff to the WARD CHARCOAL OVENS (CR 16), the highway swings east and clambers up and over Conners Pass.  Here the rain stopped and a bit of sunshine peeked out from behind the cloud I just passed under, and was quickly absorbed by another thunderhead boiling up just to the east.

 

MAJOR’S PLACE

US 6/50 continues its eastbound roll by slithering up and over Sacramento Pass in the heart of the Snake Range, north of Wheeler Peak and Great Basin National Park.  Just to the east of the pass, the road unwinds.  I zipped past MAJOR’S PLACE, an active gas station/store complex sitting on the south side of the highway west of the junction where US 93 splits off of US 6, and heads down the scenic east side of Nevada through PIOCHE, CALIENTE and points south. A wide valley lay ahead.

 

CRYSTAL QUEEN MINE

About five miles beyond MAJOR’S PLACE, the second storm smacked us.  In an almost identical copy of the previous storm, copious rain and strong winds again slowed us to a crawl, the windshield wipes unable to keep up with the liquid sunshine washing over us. We crept past a slight bend in the highway and the junction with CR 38.  West of the highway, the interesting buildings of the CRYSTAL QUEEN MINE we barely visible through the rain-streaked windows squatted behind a protective fence, decorated with colorful “PRIVATE PROPERTY” and “KEEP OUT” signs.

 

OSCEOLA

Off to the east of the junction and tucked into a deep canyon, ruins of the old mining town of OSCEOLA sit along the rough dirt road.  The gold mines here were discovered around 1872, and by 1878 the town was busy enough to support a post office, which opened March 26, 1878.  Up to 400 people once lived here, and the post office finally closed December 15, 1920.  OSCEOLA remained a viable town until the 1960s, and in the past half century has become rubble-ized.  It really was a blessing that it was raining, as this was not a planned stop anyway, as the road required a high-clearance vehicle, or four-wheel drive.  Some sources claim it is passenger-car accessible, but I wouldn’t recommend taking that chance.

 

BORDER

After being battered by huge, close-together drops of liquid sunshine and battered by fast moving air molecules, the Ghost Town Express finally broke free of the weather.  We passed the junction of US 6/SH 487, five miles north of Baker, and began a run down a long, descending straightaway.  The Utah desert spread out before us and the “True Loneliest Road” fell behind.  We made a quick stretch-my-legs stop at BORDER.  This gas station, motel and casino/restaurant complex straddles the state line.  It’s real easy to tell which side is Utah and which side is Nevada!  As I stepped out of my car, I turned and faced the west wind, stretching my arms over my head.  AHHHH!!!!

 

The warm breeze carried the acrid smell of coming rain as a few stray drops splatted on top of my hairless head and smacked into my face.

 

Click – click – click

 

Three photos and the pedal to the metal. 

 

Hello Utah!  Goodbye Nevada!

 

CONTINUED in PART 5

 

 

 

PREVIOUS – Part 4 - 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

Allred (Nye Co.)

4846’

38.6782677 / 38° 40' 42" N

-115.5486413 / 115° 32' 55" W

SE3 Sec 32, T10N, R58E, MDM (Mount Diablo Base Line & Meridian)

Black Jack Inn (White Pine Co.)

6030’

38.997441

-115.122921

SW3 Sec 8, T13N, R61E, MDM

Blue Jay Maintenance Station (Nye Co.)

5249’

38.3721546 / 38° 22’ 20” N

-116.2250527 / 116° 13’ 30” W

NW3 Sec 22, T6N, R51E, MDM

Border (White Pine Co., NV/Millard Co.,UT)

5119’

39.056609

-114.048954

(NV) middle of east line Sec 30, T14N, R71E, MDM /

(UT) upper west line Sec 24, T20S, R20W, Salt Lake Meridian

Crystal Queen Mine (White Pine Co.)

5748’

39.0702221 / 39° 04' 13" N

-114.4525024 / 114° 27' 09" W

NE3 Sec 21, T14N, R68E, MDM

Currant (Nye Co.)

5177’

38.7421542 / 38° 44' 32"N

-115.4747502 / 115° 28' 29" W

Ctr Sec 8, T10N, R58E, MDM

Currant School (Nye Co.)

5508’

38.7635470 / 38° 45' 49" N

-115.4344714 /  115° 26' 04" W

NE3 Sec 3, T10N, R58E, MDM

Ely (White Pine Co.) – Jct US 6/50

6434’

39.243072

-114.868906

NE3 Sec 22, T16N, R63E, MDM

Lockes (Nye Co.)

4810’

38.5549325 / 38° 33' 18" N

-115.7750384 / 115° 46' 30" W

Ctr Sec 15, T8N, R55E, MDM

Majors Place (White Pine Co.)

6489’

39.0249441 / 39° 01' 30" N

-114.5819504 / 114° 34' 55" W

NE3 Sec 5, T13N, R67E, MDM

Nevada/Utah State Line

5119’

39.056609

-114.048954

(NV) middle of east line Sec 30, T14N, R71E, MDM /

(UT) upper west line Sec 24, T20S, R20W, Salt Lake Meridian

Nye/White Pine County Line

 

38.825617

-115.275110

SW3 Sec 7, T11N, R60E, MDM

Osceola (White Pine Co.)

6788’

39.092890

-114.392223

middle of east line Sec 12, T14N, R68E, MDM

middle of west line Sec 7, T14N, R69E, MDM

Silverton (Nye Co.)  ALL info is for Black Rock Summit

6260’

38.5040992 / 38° 30' 15" N

-115.9136538 / 115° 54' 49" W

NW3 Sec 32, T8N, R55E, MDM

Tybo (Nye Co.)

6588’

38.3843768 / 38° 23' 04" N

-116.0669918 / 116° 04' 01" W

N2 Sec 24, T5N, R52E, MDM

Ward Charcoal Ovens (White Pine Co.)

7054’

39.0349425 / 39° 02’ 06”  N

-114.8477921 / 114° 50’ 52” W

NW3 Sec 36, T14N, R63E, 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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A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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FIRST POSTED:  February 22, 2010

LAST UPDATED: June 15, 2014

 

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