Tag: Pahrump

Geology Saved Spring Mountains From Mining

Tim France, standing in front of the Johnnie Mine head frame, said that the mining just stopped at the Johnnie Mining District and didn’t continue into the Spring Mountain Range. Photo by Horace Langford Jr.

Some of the more well known mines in Pahrump, like the Johnnie, the Labbie and the Congress, are pretty much close together. In fact, most of the largest mines in the  Pahrump Valey were all built at the northern end, even though legends like Breyfogle’s lost mine pointed to the nearby Spring Mountain Range. So why did the mining stop at the northern end of the Pahrump Valley? And why were the Spring Mountains never mined?

Well, they didn’t stop looking for gold in the Spring Mountains. There is plenty of evidence of mining activity and even some smaller mines there. According to Tim France, President of the Pahrump Museum Board, it just wasn’t economically feasible to mine the Spring Mountains, even though he is pretty sure that gold is there.

“If mining companies back then, and even now, took on the Spring Mountains, it would just cost them too much to get the gold out of the ground,” Tim said. “And we should be thankful they didn’t, because modern open pit mining would have devastated the mountains.”

Tim is sure there is gold in the Spring Mountains, but as to how much he has no clue. And he is sure that the mining technology of today could extract it, but it would certainly destroy the beauty of the mountains as we know them now.

What saved the Spring Mountains was the geology of the area.  For you see, the Pahrump Valley is  landlocked. There were no paved roads into the valley until 1954. And the trails into the valley were rough. Las Vegas was 110 miles via the northern exit of the town. For the longest time, people from Vegas had to come into the valley from the northern end.

The majestic Spring Mountains are on the eastern side of the Pahrump Valley, with Mount Charleston rising to 11,916 feet.

Tim Hafen, a rancher who came to Pahrump in the 1950s,  said from Vegas it was a “two tire trip,” meaning most people would get two flats on the way to Pahrump.

One  reason the larger mines were even possible back in 1905 was the existence of a rail line from Las Vegas to Tonopah, which sort of hugged today’s Highway 95. Even with the rail line close by, the cost was huge because mule teams from the rail line then had to carry the large timbers for the head frame up into the mountains.

The Pahrump Valley is landlocked by mountains. These are the mountains to the north of Pahrump, 4 to 5000, feet tall.

Then, the decline in the amount of gold coming out of the mines led to the shutting down of the rail line, which was gone by the end of the First World War. By 1930, the Johnnie Mine was pretty much played out.

Today, the Johnnie Mine is part of a Pahrump Museum project, which has led to a whole new chapter of Pahrump history.

So in the end, it was geology that saved the Spring Mountains,  which is ironic, for the very same reason the miners came to the valley in the first place has ultimately saved it.

— Vernon Hee

Pahrump Correspondence – November 2018

Geology Saved Spring Mountains From Mining Tim France, standing in front of the Johnnie Mine head frame, said that the mining just stopped at the Johnnie Mining District and didn’t continue into the Spring Mountain Range. Photo by Horace Langford Jr. Some of the more well known mines in Pahrump, like the Johnnie, the Labbie […]

Pahrump Correspondence – October 2018

Pahrump — from gold mining days to the modern era                                                     Tim Hafen displays photos of Pahrump in the 1950s and Pahrump in 2010. Gold was the biggest mover of people out West. People came by the millions looking to start a new life. Pahrump, Nevada was one of those towns. But when the gold […]

Pahrump Correspondence – September 2018

Rockhounding in the Johnnie Mining District                                                                                          The Johnnie Mining District The Johnnie Mining District may be historic in nature and worthwhile to poke around a bit if you are into history, but there is another reason to go there. Like most mining districts in Nevada, people can find some pretty good rocks, and even […]

Pahrump Correspondence – August 2018

Pahrump still has a lot of gold to be found Historically speaking, when people talk about gold being discovered in Nevada, they mention towns like Goldfield, Beatty, Virginia City, Tonopah,  and Eureka, to name a few, but very few ever speak of Pahrump. And yet gold has been discovered in the area, just like most […]

Pahrump Correspondence – June 2015

Pahrump still has a natural spring that one can walk to The small town Pahrump is here for only one reason: the first settlers found water close to the surface. Of course, that was vital to the survival of those first settlers for they had no well-drilling equipment. One such spring can still be seen […]

Pahrump Correspondence – May 2018

Pahrump Has the Need for Speed                                                         A crowd enjoys a night time race at the Pahrump Valley Speedway. Not all towns can say they have a speedway. The Pahrump Valley Speedway is a hidden gem, especially if you enjoy watching action packed motorsports.  I say “hidden” because people can live here for years, and, […]

NevadaGram #202 – Rural RoundUp in Tonopah, Big Spike in Boulder City, Reno Night on the Town

Peter Barton and Gernor Brian Sandoval at dedication of the new NSRy bridge to Henderson

Rural RoundUp, the annual grand conclave of tourism workers from all around rural Nevada, was held this year in Tonopah. The speakers were insightful and entertaining, the workshops apt and informative, the meals ambitious and delicious and the schmoozing pleasant and productive . . . but what we most remember is the wind. The bitterly […]

Ely Correspondence – April 2018

History and Art with Laura Rainey Stop by Garnet Mercantile or the White Pine Public Museum and you might be fortunate enough to find artist Laura Rainey at work sewing and beading custom moccasins.                                Laura Rainey sewing custom-made buckskin moccasins “We always sewed,” she said, in between signing in visitors to the museum where […]

Pahrump Correspondence – April 2018

Why Not Take that Golf Vacation in Pahrump?                                                                           An idyllic scene at Mountain Falls Golf Course Imagine getting out of your hotel room and leisurely driving down the road to play some golf in Pahrump. Out here, there is no traffic and maybe one major traffic light on your way. Your tee time is […]

NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network ©