Hamilton, NV – A Lincoln Highway Ghost Town

Ghost towns fascinate most of us, and many books and web sites chart the rise and fall of these once-booming settlements. Rick Pisio (see previous post) captured some amazing views at Hamilton, NV, a mining town on the original Lincoln Highway east of Ely.

Silver was discovered here in 1868, and within two years, there were more than 13,000 mining claims. Main Street grew to a mile long and the town itself a mile-and-a-half wide, with two banks, two newspapers, post office, courthouse, school system, water and steam company, churches, fire companies, and a hotel considered the state’s most expensive structure. Hamilton even became the first seat of White Pine County. But the ore layer was thin, and folks left as quickly as they had come. An intentional fire in 1873 (for insurance money) destroyed much of the town.

Even though it’s a 10-mile drive from US 50 over bumpy dirt roads, many make the journey, though their visits, and natural weathering, take a noticable toll. Online images show the brick structures crumbling a bit more every year, and soon, little will remain standing.

Two historic views from Ghost Towns: How They Were Born, How They Lived, and How They Died by Tom Robotham (Running Press, 1993) show the Wells Fargo bank as the town’s most prominent structure:
Ghost Towns book

See more of Rick Pisio’s photos from this and other Western ghost towns at rwphotos.

A detailed history of Hamilton is available at White Pine County Nevada History and Genealogy Research site.

For USGS maps on getting there, check The Lincoln Highway: Nevada by Gregory Franzwa and Jess Petersen. The 1913 LH stretches over maps 39-43.

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One Response to “Hamilton, NV – A Lincoln Highway Ghost Town”

  1. Eugenia Says:

    I love to read stories about Hamilton! My ancestor uncle , J. R.Withington, was one of the characters who played a role in in building Hamilton in the late 1860’s. And, yes, the Wells Fargo is a distinctive structure among the remnants of Hamilton’s glory days. But there is another distinctive piece still standing: a corner of the once grand Withington Hotel.

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