There are two ways to get to Delamar Ghost Town and the roughest option by far is to the route that begins at Delamar Dry Lake, which was featured in a previous article. A high ground clearance 4x4 is recommended for the trip from the dry lake to Delamar Ghost Town because there are a few silt beds to contend with and the uphill trek to the old gold mining camp basically goes overland on a challenging Jeep trail that is rarely used. For those who prefer a smoother way to go, the main road to Delamar Ghost Town begins on Highway 93 next to the Oak Spring Trilobite Site just a short drive south of Caliente, Nevada. This dirt road is well maintained and it is actually smooth enough for a higher than average ground clearance passenger car.
The rougher of the two roads was my choice since I tend to like taking pictures of places where few others go. Views along the lengthy power line road and the bumpy trail that goes way uphill into the mountains are depicted in the Flickr album attached to this article. Upon arrival, the full scope of Delamar can be seen way above the valley down below and there will be unobstructed views of the infamous Widowmaker Mine from this end of the town.
Gold was first discovered at the Delamar site way back in the late 1880s and it did not take long for investment money to pour in. Delamar soon became the top ore producing site in Nevada and an ample amount of modern infrastructure was set in place. Because of the harsh terrain, local materials were used to construct many of the buildings. Several of the old rock and cement mortar walls still stand tall, but most of the buildings have deteriorated beyond repair. Just like ghosts from the past, the remnants of the Delamar mining camp buildings impart a surreal effect, which is like a dream come true for old west landscape artists.
Delamar certainly was a very busy mining camp up until the year1900 when a fire destroyed most of the town. Delamar was rebuilt even better than before and the mining operations soon expanded with a new owner. The mother lode eventually dried up by 1909 and this was when many of the residents began heading for new horizons. A steadfast community still remained and a rebirth of Delamar took place in the mid 1900s, but sustainability became an issue in this remote place and Delamar was finally completely abandoned.
The bad reputation of Delamar being the Widowmaker was well known far and wide, which also ensured that this remote mining camp would eventually become a ghost town. The Widowmaker moniker actually has nothing to do with mining accidents, but instead refers to intense silicosis that affected the entire community. The gold deposits in the mines were locked in quartzite, which is composed of silicon, which turns into a deadly fine dust when milled into pure gold ore. The resulting silicosis from the dust made the Widowmaker nickname more famous than the original name of the town and many outsiders heeded the warning. For this reason, it is best to pack a dust mask for the Delamar Ghost Town experience, especially if windy conditions are forecasted!
Leave no trace!
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