Thursday

Goodsprings, Nevada - Modern Day Ghost Town

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EFP-P1000743
(Fig. 01)
Directions-Pioneer Saloon

08/20/2013 Trip Notes: Though I have visited this historic town on many occasions over the past several years, my latest visit to Goodsprings was associated with a drive to the peak of Mount Potosi, the extensive mountain range located north of town. As usual, drove through town and made a stop at the world famous Pioneer Saloon before leaving the area. Click here for more pictures and info on this historic landmark ...  Pioneer Saloon. After a recent visit to several of the mines located behind the town, many the original mines that formed the Goodsprings Mining District, I put together the following page … Yellow Pine Mines.  The view in (Fig. 02) was taken from several thousand feet up in the Mount Potosi range behind the town. For more pictures and information on this trip, click here ... Mount Potosi. If you look carefully, you can find Goodsprings near the upper right of the picture, just above and left of the large tree. On the way down from the top of Potosi, we turned onto Pauline Mine Road and made our way along the large red sandstone outcrop on the left side of (Fig. 02), and drove to Aztec Tank and the Contact Mine. Click here for more pictures on this colorful ride ... Aztec Tank & the Contract Mine. On this last visit, we actually took more time to roam some of the town's streets looking for the remains of its many historic structures; some pictures of which I have included in the town history found below.
                                    
05/04/2013 Trip Notes: On this day, Connie and I headed down to the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings for their 4th annual Chili Cook-off. This the first time we had attended this event and it was a fun time. The chili cooking and tasting was held in the barbecue area directly behind the bar. For more pictures and information, click here … 4th Annual Chili Cook-off. This was a fun event and I can’t wait to go back again next year.
                   
EFP-P1030363
(Fig. 02)
Goodsprings History: The town of Goodsprings, Nevada (Fig. 01), population 229, is located in the hills seven miles west of Jean and about 30 miles south of Las Vegas. The natural springs in the area surrounding what is now Goodsprings were first used by the Ancient Puebloans, and then the Paiute Indians. The springs were first documented in 1830 by white settlers in a caravan that traveled along the Old Spanish Trail. Mining first occurred in the area in 1856 when Mormons established a lead mine at nearby Potosi, the oldest lode mine in Nevada.
                  
In the 1860’s, the town of Goodsprings was originally known as Good’s Spring after one Joseph Good built a cattle ranch in the southeastern foothills of the Spring Mountains. His cattle frequented the rich underground spring that is now the area known as Goodsprings. Many of the Cottonwood trees found here today were originally planted by Mr. Good and were able to flourish in this otherwise desert area because of the natural underground spring. In 1861, Joseph discovered silver near the springs and established a small store in the area, however, a town was not established until more silver and lead deposits were discovered around 1868.
                
By 1882, gold had also been discovered, resulting in the establishment of the Goodsprings (Yellow Pine) Mining District. In 1883, after more gold was discovered at the Keystone Mine, about 5 miles west of Goodsprings, the first post office of the area was established at the Keystone Mine. During this time, the numerous small mines of the area supported a population of about 200 people. The Keystone Mine also had the distinction of being taken over by the miners two years later in a dispute over wages. The miners held the mine for three months until enough money had been made to pay both their wages, as well as the wages for local Indians who had been cutting wood for the mine.
Before 1900 there was only a small cluster of tent cabins, a couple of stores, and a small mill. In 1897, the post office at the Keystone Mine closed. During this same period, Joseph Good had sold his store to a man named Samuel Yount, who established a new post office in Goodsprings in 1899.

EFP-P1030142Campbell Cabin: The oldest building in Goodsprings is the Campbell stone cabin (Fig. 03). This was the first permanent structure in Goodsprings, being built in 1886. In 1915 during the Goodsprings heydays, this site was also home to the Jensen and Crampton store, the Assay office, and the home of the Goodsprings Justice of the Peace, Phil Springer. In 1920 Otto Schwartz bought these buildings, except the Campbell Cabin and the Schwartz General Store, and occupied the surrounding area until 1934. In 1917 Otto & Cora were married in the stone cabin and they lived there till Cora's death in 1980. Over the years Goodsprings has had several fires that have claimed many of its great buildings, and all of which were lost at this site except the Campbell Cabin.
           
EFP-P1030138
(Fig. 03)

EFP-P1040186
(Fig. 04)

YellowPineMill
(Fig. 04a)
The Goodsprings’ Mining Boom: Goodsprings didn’t became a booming mining town until 1901, when the establishment of the Yellow Pine Mine, a company that consolidated ownership of most of the area mines, built a 100-ton milling plant in town (Fig. 04 & 04a), making it the most productive mining district in Clark County.  Goodsprings became the heart of the mining district by serving as an important town for milling ore from all the surrounding mines. Over the years, lead, copper, zinc, gold and silver have all been mined from this area. The township was officially platted in 1904, and gradually its tents and shacks were replaced by more substantial buildings. The picture below(Fig. 05), (circa 1917) is a shot of the town of Goodsprings looking east. The large building (middle left) is the Fayle Hotel. The facility on the edge of the hill (in the middle) is the Yellow Pine processing plant. Photo Courtesy of the Clark County Museum.
                    
Goodsprings
(Fig. 05)
At this point, getting the ore out of the area was a difficult job, as it had to be hauled by wagon to distant shipping points. Fortunately, when the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad built a line through nearby Jean in 1905, the task of moving the ore became much easier. Now, after milling, the ore would then be transported by wagon to Jean where it was loaded onto trains. This effort was further enhanced when the Yellow Pine Mine built a narrow gage railroad from the remnants of the railroad line which had served the Quartette Mine in Searchlight. EFP-P1030145Though the spur to Goodsprings took several years to build, when it was completed in 1911, production increased at the mine allowing the railroad to haul tons of ore from Yellow Pine's 100-ton mill to Jean. With transportation problems eased, the town really began to grow. Most early buildings in the town were constructed during the boom spurred by the railroad in 1910-1911. The community prospered, reaching its peak population of nearly 1,000 people in 1915.
                

EFP-P1030149General Mercantile Site: Built circa 1900, there is a group of old buildings that are still standing (Fig. 06), even through the fires destroyed many of the sites’ original buildings, and that is the site of Samuel Younts’ General Mercantile and Assay Office. The mercantile was later purchased sometime in the mid century by the Flemming family, who still own and protect it to this day. Some of the Flemming family even attended school at the Goodsprings Elementary, built in 1913.
                    
EFP-P1030151
(Fig. 06)

Cottonwood Cabin: This 103-year old cabin, next to a large cottonwood tree (Fig. 07) has been on this site since 1910. The cottonwood tree was probably planted by Joseph Good, a miner and cattleman, who settled in the area in the 1860's. It was first occupied by Jesse Knight and later by Dick Duncan, Johnny Carter, Sarah Williams, George Bardwell and Mickey Egger.
         
EFP-P1040317
(Fig. 07)

(Fig. 08)

Goodsprings Elementary School: After a number of moves, the current Goodsprings Schoolhouse (Fig. 08) was erected in 1913. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the Goodsprings Schoolhouse is the oldest school in Clark County that was built as a school and is still used as a school.

E-IMG_2870
(Fig. 09)
Pioneer Saloon: Today, Goodsprings is most famous as the home of the Pioneer Saloon (Fig. 09), which at 100 years old this year, is considered to be one of the oldest saloons in Nevada. The town of Goodsprings offers more than a decade of history and you can get a walking tour map of the town at the Ghost Town Cafe located next to the Pioneer Saloon. Click here for more pictures and information on this historic landmark … Pioneer Saloon.

Fayle Hotel
(Fig. 10)
Fayle Hotel: Though no longer standing, the Fayle Hotel (Fig. 10) had a huge impact on the town of Goodsprings. In 1916, George Fayle built the Fayle Hotel, the most luxurious hotel in the area. It provided 20 guest rooms with electric lights, hot and cold running water, steam heat, and a restaurant that boasted fine dining. Advertised as the "finest hotel in the west,” it opened with a grand ball on May 13, 1916. The hotel and restaurant were initially so successful, Las Vegas residents would make a trip to Goodsprings to enjoy the hospitality. Unfortunately, the hotel that was located about 100 yards west of the Pioneer Saloon would eventually be a financial failure and in 1966, the building burnt to the ground.
                              
Fayle Plot
(Fig. 11)
Goodsprings Cemetery: By the time Joseph Fayle died, Goodsprings was called home to about 800 people, several businesses including a number of stores, several restaurants, nine saloons, a post office, a school, the grand hotel, a hospital, and a weekly newspaper. The town was so much larger than Las Vegas, those residents traveled to Goodsprings for their shopping and entertainment needs. They came to dine in the sumptuous restaurant at the Fayle Hotel and to watch automobile races on the nearby desert flats. Fayle was buried in the Goodsprings cemetery in 1918 (Fig. 11). Click this link to read more about the Goodsprings Cemetery
                   
The town continued to thrive until the end of World War I, when lead and zinc was no longer needed for the war efforts. When the war ended in 1918, production decreased, mines shut down, and the town began a rapid decline, eventually reaching a population of only 400 by 1920. In 1930, the narrow gauge railroad to Jean ceased operations and four years later, in 1934, the railroad tracks were removed. By that time, the vast majority of the mines sat silent, and Goodsprings was well on its way to becoming a ghost town, with less than 100 residents. Even though Goodsprings saw a spurt of activity during World War II, it never grew back to its former size.

Generally, the term 'ghost town' is most often associated  with a boomtown of the American West that,  because the economic activity that once supported it has ceased to prosper, has become deserted or abandoned, yet still contains visible remains of what it once was. However, in a broader sense it can also refer to a town which is still populated, albeit with significantly less people than during its boom years years - as it the case with Goodsprings, Nevada. Once a thriving mining town and the recognized center of the Goodsprings Mining District, with a peak population of nearly 1,000 inhabitants, it now has a population of less than 230 residents. With only a handful of reminders that hearken back to its "glory" days, many falling into further decay with each passing year, Goodsprings can be truly classified as a modern day ghost town.