Friday

Ghost Town of Carrara

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Cararra Town
(Fig. 01)
Carrara Nevada-2
(Fig. 02)

Directions: From Las Vegas, follow US-95 North for approximately 104 miles (approximately 10 miles south of Beatty, Nevada). Turn right onto an unmarked dirt road on the right side of the highway (heading northeast) (Fig. 02). You can see some visible ruins from the highway. This road runs almost straight up the desert valley to the base of Bare Mountain and the old Carrara marble mine site (Fig. 03).
                  
EFP-P1050173
(Fig. 03)
History of Carrara Nevada: The town site (Fig. 01) was laid out circa 1911-1913 by the American Carrara Mable Company, on the northeastern edge of Amargosa Valley, just a few miles down from the quarry, northeast of the tracks for the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad. Though it once enjoyed several years’ worth of hustle and bustle in the mid-teens and early 20s, the town's only remains today are a few cellars, slabs, building foundations (Figs. 05-07), and the town's main attraction, a marble fountain that was 18 feet across, and 3 feet deep that supported a 6 foot column of water (Fig. 08) The picture in (Fig. 09) shows two unknown persons sitting on the edge of the fountain. The fountain got its water from a nine mile pipeline that ran down from the town of Gold Center to the northwest. Due to the completion of the mines’ railroad in 1914, Carrara’s peak years were 1915 and 1916. Some buildings were actually moved to Carrara from Beatty and Rhyolite to make the town look more finished than it really was. Circa 1914, a hotel was opened that featured electric lights, running water, and telephones, along with a store and restaurant. Around this time, there were more than forty buildings at the town site, which eventually inflated to between 100-150 residents.  It even had a newspaper, the Carrara Obelisk, which published between May 8, 1913 and September 1916, and a post office that was opened shortly thereafter on May 24, 1913. The post office remained open until September 15, 1924.

EFP-P1050339
(Fig. 05)
EFP-P1050341
(Fig. 06)
EFP-P1050336
(Fig. 07)
EFP-P1050352
(Fig. 08)

Cararra Fountain
(Fig. 09)

 

Cararra Marble Mine-3
(Fig. 10)
Cararra Marble Mine-2
(Fig. 11)
Cararra Marble Mine
(Fig. 12)
Though some records indicate that the marble deposits were first located in 1904, but it wasn't until 1911 that some prospectors ended up forming the American Carrara Marble Company. The economy of Carrara was based almost entirely on the marble quarry (Figs. 10-12). Because the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad was three miles below the mine site, a three mile unpowered cantilevered railroad that involved a single standard gauge track upon wooden ties was built to get the marble blocks (Figs. 13 & 14), sometimes weighing up to fifteen tons, down for shipping. Motor power was a full car that pulled the empty one up the hill. At the midway point, a turnout track allowed the cars to pass each other. Begun in 1913, it was completed in 1914. After the marble slabs were processed, they were shipped out over the Las Vegas & Tonopah until that company failed. Later, the nearby Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad built a spur to the marble mill at Carrara and thereafter shipped out tonnage.

EFP-P1050178
(Fig. 13)
EFP-P1050180
(Fig. 14)
Unfortunately, even though the quarry contained high quality marble, it proved too fractured to provide profitable amounts to the company. As a result, all activities at the quarry halted in 1917. Most of the population was gone by 1924. After Carrara passed on, a small mining excitement began nearby in the form of the Gold Ace Mine. However it was not enough to bring the town back. About the only things left today of the marble finishing mill are a few scant foundations (Figs. 15-17).

EFP-P1050361
(Fig. 15)
EFP-P1050185
(Fig. 16)
EFP-P1050175
(Fig.17)