Tonopah, Nevada

About 1916, Bernard Harvey passed away. Mary Harvey, nee Gregory, was left to raise her children in the Death Valley. In 1920, she and her children, Bernard and Mary, were living in yet another mining town. This one was named Tonopah and it, too was located in Nevada. Bernard was a blacksmith in a silver mine while sister Margaret was a telephone operator.

One of the richest booms in the West occurred at Tonopah Springs on May 19, 1900. And the name Jim Butler will forever be associated with the name Tonopah and the many stories that surround the discovery. News of the discovery traveled to the Klondike and soon scores of eager prospectors were searching the area. But it was not until August 27, 1900 that Butler and his wife filed on eight claims near the springs six of which were some of the biggest producers the state has ever had. Because the Butler claims were known far and wide, the town was often referred to as “Butler.” By the summer of 1901, the mines around the town produced nearly $750,000 worth of gold and silver. Now it was time for a post office and one opened on April 10, 1901 named Butler. It was not until March 3, 1905 that its name changed to Tonopah. Butler now had a population of 650 and was increasing every day. It also had six saloons, restaurants, assay offices, lodging houses, and a number of doctors and lawyers. By 1907, Tonopah had become a full-fledged city with modern hotels, electric and water companies, five banks, schools, and hundreds of other buildings. Tonopah’s mines continued to produce extremely well until the Depression brought a slowdown. From 1900 to 1921, they produced ore worth almost $121 million. Tonopah’s biggest year was 1913 when its mines yielded almost $10 million worth of gold, silver, copper, and lead. By the time World War II started, only four major mining companies were operating in Tonopah. At the end of the war even the companies that had been there at the beginning were gone. As of now, the value of the Tonopah district’s total production is just over $150 million. Tonopah is still vibrant. Tourism now plays a large part in the local economy and is an excellent home base for anyone visiting ghost towns in Nye County.