Gold Point is an old Nevada ghost town that sprouted up as a small mining camp in the late 1800s. The name of this ghost town changed several times in the early years and this fact may be helpful to those who enjoy researching old west history. The original ranching and mining camp was called Lime Point and when silver ore was discovered in the area, this mining camp was renamed as Hornsilver. Soon after, it was decided that the silver ore was not abundant enough and the cost of hauling the ore for processing at the nearby source of water in Lida, Nevada was too high. Even after the silver mining came to an end, Hornsilver remained on the map as a small settlement that was never completely abandoned.
The name Hornsilver stuck for many years, till sometime in the 1920s when the silver mine was purchased by an investor from back east. The investor took over the rights to the mine and as luck would have it, a substantial amount of gold was discovered running with the silver ore. As a result, the name Hornsilver was changed to Gold Point and this has been the name of this town ever since.
Gold mining continued at Gold Point up to and well after the gold mining moratorium of WWII. Gold Point still had gold producing mine shafts into the 1960s until a massive mine shaft collapse occurred, which put the nail in the proverbial coffin The gold mining operation ceased and eventually most of the residents parted ways. Even after the disaster, some of the residents and ranchers remained at Gold Point because of its proximity to Tonopah and Beatty. The mountain pass going west is a tourism route to Bishop, California, which is the gateway to Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park, so Gold Point actually is situated in a good spot. The living ghost town status of Gold Point has helped to preserve many of the old historic buildings and the gold mining artifacts of the past.
Gold Point is a living ghost town and this is important to keep in mind when visiting this destination. People do live in the old split timber buildings and the old artifacts that are lying around on the ground belong to the town. Visitors are more than welcome to poke around in this living ghost town, but they can only take the photos and good memories back home!
In Gold Point there is plenty of old west mining equipment to see. Rusty old antique cars and industrial mining equipment line the streets, just as if this entire ghost town is managed as an outdoor museum. The main street area buildings still exist and there actually are a few shops that can open up the doors if guests arrive. The old post office is still open and there are several historical markers to be found. In the main street area, there is an old mercantile store building that is described as being a little museum of the past. Rumor has it that a bed & breakfast business has also recently opened up in Gold Point. Those who really want to get away from it all, just to experience the old west, will find that staying over in Gold Point Ghost Town definitely is an option to consider!
One odd observation that is difficult not to notice while strolling around Gold Point is that this living ghost town must hold the world record for most amount of intact old west style outhouses. In nearly every direction that one looks, there is an old split timber outhouse standing out in the limelight like the star of the show. I always get a kick out of seeing an outhouse way out in the middle of a vast desert expanse and this weird imagery does present good picture taking opportunities.
Many organized events happen in Gold Point each year. Apparently Gold Point hosts a big Memorial Weekend Chili Cook-Off event that is quite a shindig to go to. Staged old west style gunfights, mock trials and public hanging reenactments take place in Gold Point and these shows are fun for visitors of all ages. Overnight camping is only allowed by permission in Gold Point and the camping style pretty much refers to RV or trailer camping. For outsiders, the best place to inquire about RV camping is near the post office. This area seems to be where the local spokesmen of town can be found. The local meeters and greeters usually do come out of the old mining camp shacks to greet strangers, so the chances are that they will find you, before you find them.
The living ghost town of Gold Point is famous for being RV friendly, so there are electrical hookups and facilities. There is a local saloon next to the post office that caters to special events, like the annual RV Camper Jamboree. The RV Jamboree was actually just starting when I visited Gold Point and several big land yachts had just wheeled into town. I met one of the organizers of the event and he mentioned that county temporary permits were pulled for food and beverage service at the old saloon, so the old swinging doors were wide open. Over by the old saloon, dozens of picnic tables were awaiting for the RV jamboree barbecue party to begin. By the look of things, the annual Gold Point RV Camper Jamboree certainly is an event that RV enthusiasts should check out!
Gold Point may not be the most famous ghost town in the west, but this destination is definitely fast becoming a major point of interest. Many old Nevada ghost towns are currently turning there local economy around by catering to the tourism market. Tourism commerce keeps the old west ghost towns alive in this modern age and those who visit these places will be rewarded with a great escape like no other. Spending some time touring the living ghost town of Gold Point is a great way to experience the traditional old west mining camp lifestyle, while helping to preserve this historic site for future generations.
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