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Thread: How did these old mining towns get their names?

  1. #1
    Johnnie's Avatar
    Johnnie is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Smile How did these old mining towns get their names?

    My wife and I were viewing the posts on the bulletin board and thought it would be interesting to see what the rest of you think of the topic, of how these old west towns got there names.

    The mining town of Dunn Glen we presume was named after the founder, As we all know many of them were, Our friend and fellow "Yet another" Bob, may know and would be glad to the share the history on this great mining town in his great state of Nevada.

    A few mining camps went unnamed for short a time for one reason or another till the the towns people could come up with a catchy name.

    Many townspeople choose names of famouse people for their new community some chose names that they thought might bring them good luck, such as Lucky Boy, Home Ticket, Hidden Treasure, Paymaster, which was giving to one of grandfathers mines in Idaho.Then there was names like Eldorado, Good hope Jubilee Big Bankroll, Horn Silver, that we all know was later change to "Gold Point".

    The old mining town of National was named after the National Automobille.

    The Monkey wrench dicovery was giving by Riggs family who used a monkey wrench to break off a chunk of rock and were rewarded with very rich strike.

    Then some mines were giving homey names like Yellow Jacket, Bean Pot, The Tiffanny Mine, the red ruby, The Emeral,Golden Ledge.

    Some of these mines and towns adoped names of nearby streams or canyons or mountains ranges where they were located The Pony Ledge mine was named after the canyon that was used by the famouse Pony Express.

    As we all know the gambling instinct was so much part of the mininers everyday lives in the old west that some miners like to use names like Jumbo, Big Casino Royal Flush, Four Aces, Jackpot, Seven Up, Buck the Tiger, The Klondike, as we know some of these names are used by race horse owners of today.

    The town of Tonopah was from an Indian word meaning "No wood No water," We all know the mining camp of Bullfrog, was giving the new strike by the famouse miner Shorty Harris, for all the green rocks found in the aera.

    Then what about Rough and Ready, was this named pick by the townspeople to let the "Riff Raff know to keep on riding, because they were Rough and they were Ready, Instead of giving a name like The "Everyones Bonanza."

    Last year there was a town that we wanted to know about, as I remember went by the name of Riggs,and we wondered why we could not find it on the map, This question was answered by a fellow ghosttowner "Yet another" Bob and he shared what he knew on the history on this great little town in centeral Nevada and what he found out, that this town change it's name several times for one reason or another.

    There is a book published in the 1970s that is great for the explorer that wants to know what these town look like back in 1800s it has about hundred old photographs and to the explorer and researcher it is important to know where the main street was and where the buildings once stood.

    We all wonder I am sure what is going to left for future generations to see in the next 50 years of these fast dissapearing treasures of the old west are they all going to fade into past, We hope not, or will there be just a pile of tin cans and pile of wood who knows for sure.

    Well we hope we spiced up the bulletin board a little we hope you enjoyed our input and our love for the old west.

    From the desk of Johnnie & Sheila
    Old west researcher and Historians
    Last edited by Johnnie; 06-19-2005 at 06:35 AM.

  2. #2
    old judge's Avatar
    old judge is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Johnnie, When I started Ghosttownin' 45 or so years ago, it was because of a fascination my aunt, Pat Tabor, had with the Lost Dutchman's Mine. While my dream trip would be there, if legally possible, I'm sure I'm too old now to try it. I've only spent the last couple of years scarfin' up info on this goldarned computer before a trip. Fact is, info like "where did this town (mine) get it's name" is likely in the head of some person, not the internet. You obviously got the know-how. Got to go to the source. If it ain't on the net, nor in some archive somewhere, then it's just in someone's memory. You just need to find him/her and you'll know something nobody else knows. And you'll share it, or perhaps you'll just give a little guidance. The real fun is in lookin', not, necessarily, in findin'. OJ and his Lovely Bride

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    I have a couple of good books on place names. For California, the definite guide is
    "California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names" by Erwin G. Gudde.
    Won't help you with mine names or all real old ghosttowns, but it is amazing some of the places you do find in there.

    There are many other books out there - the one's I use the most are:
    "Place Names of the Death Valley Region in California & Nevada" edited by T. S. Palmer member of the Death Valley Expedition of 1891,

    Naming the Eastern Sierra (Dirty Sock to Bloody Canyon)by Marguerite Sowaal

    Signposts & Settlers: The History of Place Names West of the Rockies by Robert I. Alotta


    Rough & Ready, California: Founded in 1849 by
    settlers from Wisconsin. The group was led by Captain S. A. Townsend, who had served under General Zachary Taylor during the Mexican War. Taylor was known as "Old Rough and Ready," and Townsend borrowed that name to call his settlers the Rough and Ready Company. When the government levied taxes on the gold mines, the residents here were so incensed that they seceded from the Union wrote their own constitution and established a new country: The Great Republic of Rough and Ready. No one took them seriously, let alone the federal government which continued to levy taxes on them. Rough and Ready was made famous by bret Harte and his story about "The Millionaire of Rough and Ready"
    Cecile
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    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

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    Smile It is the ones you can't find info on that are most interesting

    Some of the old ghost town names have rather mundane reasons but some just beg for an answer and those tend to be the ones you can't find any information on! The most frustrating name I can't find anything about in Nevada is the little ghost called Gouge Eye, located about 10 miles north of Paradise Valley! I really love it when people suggest reasons for town names which have nothing what-so-ever to do with the real reason. I've seen Searchlight Nevada attributed to a "Lloyd Searchlight" which was a company, not a person and was formed several years after the town was named. There is also this silly story about it being so named for the "searchlights" that sometimes were searching the skies in the 1950s (They were advertising for the brothel and don't ask me how this then 10 year old kid figured that one out) but since Searchlight was named in the late 1890s one has to chortle at that most orignal but absurd explanation. Anyone know why "Gouge Eye" is called Gouge Eye?
    Last edited by Bob; 10-12-2004 at 01:58 PM.
    Yet Another Bob

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    Bob, here's what my book says about the name & a bit fo history on Searchlight:

    "Legend has it that this Clark County town was named after a box of matches! As the story goes, two brothers camped here in 1898 and found inspiration from the striking of a match. At one time, a claim here that later produced more than a million dolars was sold for "$1,500, a team of mules, a buckboard, and a double barreled shotgun." Another which produced $150,000 was traded for a" pint of whiskey. A more logical explanation is that the name donor was Floyd Searchlight, who developed a number of mining claims here in about 1897."


    Hmmmm.. Floyd or Lloyd???????
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  6. #6
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    Smile Names for mines and towns in the old west

    Thanks for the Information Cecile, and Bob, and Judge, for your input to this very interesting topic.

    It is sure great to be back on ghosttowns bulletin board again, we also enjoy sharing our knowledge and love for the old west and it's history.

    Johnnie & Sheila

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    Default Searchlight

    I think I posted this to you on another forum, but here goes...I read somewhere that Searchlight got its name because in the old days one of the ways miners supplemented their pay was to throw some high grade ore onto the dump car that took waste rock out to the dumps. Knowing approximately where they dumped the waste on the dumps each day - they'd go back at night and search those areas for the high grade ore. Well, the mine owners quickly savvied onto what was transpiring, and to counter it they erected some towers with searchlights and armed guards to cover these waste dumps at night. And that's how Searchlight got its name. Now I'll have to see if I can remember where I read that. If I do remember, I'll post the source.

  8. #8
    Johnnie's Avatar
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    Smile "A interesting ghost town name"

    A interesting story of a old mining town and how these townspeople came up with their catchy name of their town site, to be posted soon.

    Johnnie & Sheila

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    hey Johnnie, Come on with that story. I'm waitin'. oj

  10. #10
    Johnnie's Avatar
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    Smile Interesting names giving old mines and mining towns of the old west

    We apologize for the delay on our posting on this subject of "Names" giving these old west gems, but the story we were going to write about was to long we tried to condence it, but it just did not do it justice. But bare with us we will come up with something, That is just as an interesting as the first story.

    Your fellow ghosttowner
    Johnnie & Sheila

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