Pioche Railroads and Mines
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This page was last updated on November 3, 2018.
Silver was discovered on the eastern slope of the Pioche Mountains in 1869 and exploited for high grade, bonanza silver ore until the 1930s when the known veins and fissures were fundamentally depleted. This ore was found near the town of Pioche mostly in the Treasure Hill area. Just to the west of the bonanza silver vein area and extending from it into adjacent limestones and shales, high grade lead-zinc-silver ore was discovered. The lead-zinc-silver ore was actively mined between 1924 and 1959, and later. The 3.2 million tons of sulfide lead/zinc/silver ore mined between 1924 and 1959 averaged 4.8 ounces of silver, 0.044 ounces per ton gold, 4.5 percent lead and 12 percent zinc.
The following comes from the 1875 report by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, "A Reconnaissance Though Southern And Southeastern Nevada, Made In 1869" by G. M. Wheeler:
[page 45] PIOCHE, the name of the principal mining town in the Ely District, where are found what are known as the Meadow Valley mines, among which the one called the "Pioche" seems to be the mother vein.
The great richness of this district since the summer of 1869 has caused to grow here a town of considerable size. The mill of the Meadow Valley Company is situate in a little valley to the eastward, called Dry Valley, around which has sprung up a small settlement called Lyonsville, after the present president of the company.
[page 46] [In Dry Valley] a twenty-stamp mill, the property of the Meadow Valley Mining Company, and known as the Lyons mill, has been erected. Ore from the Pioche mines is being crushed there, with fine results.
After being settled in 1868, the town of Pioche was named at the organizing meeting of the Ely Mining District in 1869 with the reading of a letter dated February 20, 1869, suggesting that the town be named in honor of Francois Louis Alfred Pioche, of San Francisco, one of the financial backers of the mines being developed in the district. (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 930)
The early bonanza silver ores mined prior to 1891 were hauled to mills built at Bullionville, where there was water from numerous springs and from Meadow Valley Wash. After the arrival of the railroad in 1907, the smelter slag and mill tailings at Bullionville were found to be rich in silver and were excavated and carried by railroad to Salt Lake City smelters for use as smelter flux.
"Bullionville began early in 1870 when John H. Ely and William H. Raymond removed their five-stamp mill at Hiko and placed it at this point. The enterprise prospered and during the next two years most of nearby Pioche's mills were located here because of the proximity to water. The town grew rapidly and by 1875 it had five mills, a population of 500 and the first iron foundry in eastern Nevada. During the same year a water works was constructed at Pioche which eventually led to the relocation of the mills. Although a plant was erected here in 1880 to work the tailings deposited by the former mills, this failed to prevent the decline of Bullionville." (Nevada Historical Marker 203, Bullionville, State Route 93 One Mile North of Junction With State Route 319)
The five-stamp mill at Bullionville went into service in January 1870, having been moved in 1869 from Hiko, 47 miles to the southeast. There had been a few other, much smaller furnaces and mills at other sites in the district since the earliest located claims, but they all had been failures. (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 937)
Mining activity in the 1870s was dominated by the Raymond & Ely and Meadow Valley mining companies. In 1872 the recorded total output from the Pioche area mines was reported as $5,462,000, with the Raymond & Ely mines producing two-thirds of the total, at $3,700,000. Some of the more dominant mines in the immediate area included the original Raymond & Ely Shaft No. 1, which was the original Burke claim located by the Burke brothers, Edward and Pat. A second Raymond & Ely shaft lay just to the east of the No.1 Shaft. In later years, what was known as the Burke tunnel was opened to the southeast of Shaft No. 1, and was used to access the lower levels of many of the shafts and mines in the immediate Pioche-Treasure Hill area. This later Burke tunnel provided for the removal of the ores from these lower levels to be loaded into the aerial tramway, for processing at the Pioche Consolidated Mines & Reduction mill.
"After John H. Ely migrated to Nevada, he bought several claims from William Raymond in Lincoln County. This transaction led to a partnership and resulted in the development of the famous Raymond and Ely mine in the Pioche District. They bought the property for $3,500. Ely gave his watch in part payment, and within sixty days the balance was forthcoming. The mine produced $20,000,000. San Francisco capitalists offered Raymond and Ely $700,000 for their mineral holdings in Pioche. Raymond refused to sell his interest, but Ely accepted $350,000 for his share in the valuable mine. Ely removed to Salt Lake and lived in luxury for a few years." The town of Ely, Nevada, was later named for him to honor a loan he had made for the purchase of the Ely townsite. (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 1049)
In April 1885, the "Entire plant including mines and complete machinery" of the Raymond & Ely Mining Company was to be sold, including the mines, property, and machinery, along with a 20-stamp mill and a 30-stamp mill at Bullionville. (Salt Lake Herald, April 2, 4, 12, 17, and 19, 1885)
In 1890, following a slump in mining activity, the Raymond & Ely, Meadow Valley, and Yuba mining companies were merged into the Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Company, with the well-known Salt Lake City magnate William S. Godbe at the helm.
The Pioche Consolidated bought the remaining assets of the abandoned Pioche & Bullionville Railroad in the immediate area of Pioche itself, and in 1891 started construction of the Pioche Pacific Railroad. In the area around Pioche, to connect the new company's mines with its planned new mill out in the valley, what became known as "The Hill Line," ran from the area of the current aerial tramway (next to old No.9 Shaft), along the hillside northwesterly to serve the No.1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 shafts for the Pioche Consolidated company, then eastward downhill to the new Pioche Consolidated mill, east of town. A 15-mile extension was also built from the Pioche Consolidated mill and smelter, northwest to Jackrabbit (formerly Royal City), to serve the mines there, along with the loadout at Jackrabbit for the aerial tramway from Bristol. The remnant of the old Pioche & Bullionville originally carried ore to the Summit Mill, until completion of the Pioche Consolidated smelter at West Point. The Pioche Pacific ran sporadically until 1948, when it was finally abandoned.
Jackrabbit -- "Local legend attributes the discovery to the locater picking up a rock to throw at a jackrabbit and finding himself holding high grade silver. The Jackrabbit District, named for the mine, was located in 1876 by Isaac Newton Garrison. Early mine production of the camp, at one time named Royal City, was about ten tons per day, carrying native silver in flakes, yielding about $40 per ton - sometimes as high as $2000 per ton. Mineral production declined during the 1880's, but when a fifteen-mile narrow gauge railroad was opened in 1891 between the Jackrabbit mine and Pioche, mining soon increased. After 1893 the mines fell silent except for several short periods of activity in 1906-07 and 1912-14." (Nevada Historical Marker 204, Jackrabbit, One Mile West of US Route 93 Fourteen Miles North of Pioche)
The Pioche Consolidated smelter was built in 1891 just to the east of Pioche, at a place called West Point, to process the ores mined in the area. The original mill burned in 1893, but was subsequently rebuilt. The Pioche Consolidated mill was served by both the Hill Line, and the Jackrabbit line of the Pioche Pacific Railroad.
"Silver, gold, and base-metal mining reached a peak at Pioche in 1872. There followed a lengthy period of decline and virtual abandonment, lasting until about 1905. A revival in metal production began here in 1924, when the flotation process was introduced to beneficiate zinc-lead sulfide ores previously of no value." (source not recorded)
In 1907 the Union Pacific built a standard-gauge railroad line from Caliente to the Pioche Consolidated mill, using some of the former Pioche & Bullionville grade through Condor Canyon. The new rail line allowed cheaper transportation for lower-grade ores to the mills and smelters in the Salt Lake City area.
In 1913 the owners of the Prince Consolidated Mining Company (located across the ridge on the western side of Treasure Hill, about two miles from Pioche) completed its own private railroad, a standard-gauge line that ran northwards around Treasure Hill, then turned eastward to cross the narrow-gauge Pioche Pacific Railroad at a point named Atlanta, and eventually connect with the LA&SL Pioche Branch near the Pioche Consolidated smelter.
The independent Prince Consolidated railroad had its own locomotives and rolling stock. A trespass and encroachment suit for underground mineral properties in 1918 by the Virginia Louise Mine, ended with a settlement allowing the Virginia Louise company the right to ship ores over the Prince Consolidated rail line. The line was purchased by LA&SL in 1940, which continued to use the two original steam locomotives until World War II, after which the steam locomotives were retired. The Prince Branch, along with the Pioche Branch from Caliente, remained in place until 1984, when the Union Pacific abandoned and removed the line.
In 1923 the Combined Metals Reduction Company purchased the Pioche Consolidated mines, properties, and smelter. In 1929, to handle the increased output from the re-opened mines and to take advantage of new refining methods, the former Pioche Consolidated smelter out in the valley was reconfigured into a 250-ton flotation concentrator. Shortly after being placed into operation the entire complex burned to the ground but a completely new facility was constructed and placed into operation by 1930. At the same time, an aerial tramway was built from the newly-reconstructed mill to the area of the No.9 Shaft on Treasure Hill, next to the Wheeler Monument, to more efficiently transport ore from the mines to the new concentrator and mill. This aerial tramway still survives to this day, and is a landmark for all of Pioche.
In 1929, Combined Metals concluded that the best way to access the abundant ore deposits under Treasure Hill was to sink a shaft on the western side of the mountain, just northwest of the Prince Mine. This became the Caselton Shaft, and from the 1200-foot level built an 8,000-foot long tunnel to connect the Caselton shaft with the No.1 Shaft on the Pioche side of the mountain. The plan at the time was to have all ores from these mines to be removed at Caselton for processing at a future mill to be built by Combined Metals, while the No.1 Shaft would handle only men and equipment. The new mill at Caselton would need large amounts of electrical power and construction was delayed until Hoover Dam was completed, and power brought to Lincoln County in 1936. Before this, the mines in the Pioche district used coal-fired (and later diesel) power plants to furnish their electrical power needs. The new Combined Metals mill at Caselton was constructed in 1940 and operated up until 1978.
The following comes from Mining and Milling Methods at the Caselton Mine, by George H. Holmes:
High-grade silver ore was discovered during the 1860's, and Pioche became a camp of great activity, which lasted until 1876, when mining ceased owing to exhaustion of the ore bodies and a heavy flow of water at deeper levels. Some activity ensued during the 1890's, but the camp remained more or less dormant until the early 1900's, when the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad to Caliente and construction of a branch line to Pioche provided cheaper transportation for the higher-grade ores to Utah mills and and smelters. Early mining was on fissure veins in quartzite and on contact deposits along a major dike. The existence of lead-zinc mineralization in the overlying flat limestone beds was known, but the complexity of the ore and the inability to effect a satisfactory separation prevented any extensive mining. Prior to World War I, E. H. Snyder, president of Combined Metals Reduction Co., began metallurgical experiments on these complex ores to find an effective method of lead and zinc separation. This work was under his direct supervision, and in 1924, after many years of extensive research and experimenting in the field of selective flotation, this problem was solved.
During the 1920's, underground development of the mineralized beds was carried out through the No. 1 shaft, and a large area along the west side of the range was explored by churn drilling. Company operations commenced in 1923, and the higher-grade complex ores were shipped by rail to the company's mill at Bauer, Utah. The Caselton shaft was sunk to a depth of 1,470 feet during the early 1930's, and the 69,000-volt transmission line from Hoover Dam to the Pioche district was completed in 1937. The advent of cheap power made for lower operating costs and was chiefly responsible for the construction of the Caselton mill, which was started during late 1940 and completed in 1941. Originally designed to handle 500 tons daily, its capacity was increased to 1,000 tons in 1943. Construction of the Caselton mill by the Combined Metals Co. gave impetus to the mining industry in the Pioche and adjoining districts, because lower-grade ores could be mined and milled at a profit, as the company was willing to accept custom ores from other properties.
Production from the Combined Metals mine has been continuous since 1923, and the mill has a record of uninterrupted operation since 1941. It is estimated that 1,925,000 tons of ore has been mined since operations began, of which 900,000 tons was treated in the Caselton mill. In addition, an estimated 700,000 tons of custom ore has been milled. (Mining and Milling Methods at the Caselton Mine, Combined Metals Reduction Co., Pioche, Lincoln County, Nevada, by George H. Holmes, Jr., U.S. Bureau of Mines, Information Circular 7586, November 1950; Hathi Trust)
Railroad service for the Pioche district first came in 1868 by way of Palisade station on the Central Pacific, 270 miles to the north, meaning a journey by wagon and either 20-mule team or ox team over difficult mountain passes.
"Salt Lake, Sevier Valley & Pioche Railroad was organized during May 1872 to construct a three-foot gauge railway from Salt Lake City to Pioche, Nevada, a distance of 300 miles. During 1873, the route was surveyed and located west along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, around the northern end of the Oquirrh Mountains and then south to the promising new mining camps at Tintic, Utah, a distance of 70 miles. Adversely affected by the business depression that year, the Salt Lake, Sevier Valley & Pioche Railroad was forced to default without having ever laid a rail. On June 15, 1874, the Utah Western Railroad was organized and, having acquired the franchises of the defunct line, this new company was able to complete and place in operation by February 1875, 37.2 miles of narrow-gauge railroad from Salt Lake City to Terminus (near present day Shields, Utah) before it too defaulted on its bond interest. Attorney LeGrand Young, a nephew of Brigham, was appointed trustee of the railroad and later became its president. The Utah & Nevada Railway Company was incorporated on February 16, 1881, and assumed operation of the narrow-gauge line to Terminus on July 1st. No further significant construction was attempted by the Utah & Nevada." (Signor, LA&SL, page 13)
In 1881, the Utah Southern was completed to Milford, Utah Territory, 140 miles northeast. In 1899 the Utah & Pacific was completed south of Milford to the Utah-Nevada line at Uvada, just 33 miles from the Pioche district by wagon and team. Modena, ten miles to the northeast back along the line, became the point where freight wagons were loaded for the trip to Pioche. Then, in 1901, the Utah, Nevada & California Railroad completed its line to Caliente by way of Clover Valley Wash, bringing railroad service just 30 miles away by easy wagon roads north through Meadow Valley. Through service between California and Salt Lake City came in May 1905 when the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake (SPLA&SL) was officially completed between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The potential of mining traffic was important to the San Pedro company, and in less than a year, plans were under way to build a branchline north from Caliente to the mines at Pioche.
Railroad service to Pioche came to an end in August 1984, when UP began dismantling its Pioche Branch between Caliente and Pioche. The Caselton mill and concentrator last operated on 1978. The mill was at Caselton on the former Prince Consolidated branch, and essentially the sole source of traffic on what was then known as the Pioche-Prince Branch. (Signor, LA&SL, page 205)
(Former Union Pacific train crew members, and others, recall the year as 1982, adding that last outbound car before the rail was pulled up was a single empty gondola.)
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad
The Pioche & Bullionville Railroad, built in 1873, was reported as the first independent narrow-gauge railroad in Nevada. The Pioche & Bullionville Railroad was organized to haul ore from the Pioche-area mines, to milling facilities at Bullionville, a total distance of about 20 miles by way of Condor Canyon. (In some newspaper stories of the day, the Pioche & Bullionville was also called the Nevada Central Railroad. This should not be confused with the later Nevada Central Railway, organized in 1878, and completed in 1880 between Austin and Battle Mountain.)
The Pioche & Bullionville Railroad, a narrow gauge line built in 1873 between those two settlements, was torn up in 1884 and the rails and equipment reported sold to an iron mining and manufacturing company in Cedar City, Utah Territory. However, the rails and equipment apparently did not leave Nevada.
The following comes from American Narrow Gauge Railroads, by George Hilton, page 443:
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad -- In 1872 Pioche was at the peak of a silver boom; its output was second only to that of the Comstock Lode, and the population had reached 7,500. Nevertheless, the town was isolated from the American railroad system. The first railroad was not an effort to end this isolation, but rather a narrow gauge to serve local demands. General A. L. Page and other local mine operators incorporated the Pioche & Bullionville Railroad early in 1872, but Page, in association with W. H. Raymond, reincorporated the project in 1873 as the Central Nevada Railroad. They opened the line, however, on June 8, 1873, under the name of the Nevada Central Railroad--unrelated to the later Nevada Central built to serve Austin. The railroad connected Pioche with Bullionville (20 miles), a town of 450 people and the site of several mills. Most of the traffic was ore from Pioche for processing at Bullionville. The railroad was popularly known by its original name, Pioche & Bullionville.
Mining in the area began declining about 1874 with the exhaustion of the best ores and with chronic problems of underground water in the deeper mines. The railroad passed through a succession of owners.
Regular ore trains apparently ended about 1878. The railroad went bankrupt and was sold by the sheriff on March 3, 1881. Operation is thought to have ceased about that time, and the property was sold for scrap in 1883. (American Narrow Gauge Railroads, by George W. Hilton; Stanford University Press, 1990)
January 4, 1871
Nevada Central Railroad Company incorporated. (Robertson, page 157)
Nevada Central Railroad Co. was to build from Beowawe, 19 miles west of Palisade, 150 miles into White Pine Mining District. Mr. Page was a director. (Robertson, page 157)
The Pioche newspaper used "Nevada Central Railroad" and "Pioche & Bullionville" as if they were one and the same. (Robertson, page 157)
January 6, 1872
"Pioche -- The stock-holders of the Pioche and Bullionville railroad company met in the office of W. W. Bishop, Pioche, on the 6th inst., and proceeded to incorporate the company under and in pursuance of an act of the legislature of the State of Nevada. The company formed with a capital stock of $2,000,000, divided into two hundred thousand shares, of ten dollars each; principal place of business, Pioche, Lincoln county, Nevada. A. L. Page, Wm. W. Bishop, John R. James, B. P. Sides, C. W. Lightner, A. H. Rutherford and Frank Wheeler were elected directors for the ensuing year, and the per cent subscriptions required by law was paid into the treasury. The directors met and elected A. L. Page, president; Wm. W. Bishop, secretary; and B. F. Sides, treasurer. The company is fully organized and every effort will be made to hasten the completion of the road." (Salt Lake Herald, January 12, 1872)
February 16, 1872
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad incorporated. (Robertson, page 157)
September 11, 1872
"From Wednesday's Daily, Sept. 11 -- Pioche and Bullionville Railroad -- We are informed that one hundred and sixty tons of rolling stock and iron for this line was lately purchased in the east, sixty tons of which are now on the way to Pioche, the forwarding being done by Gordon & Murray. The line of railroad between Pioche and Bullionville will be 12 miles in length." (Deseret News, September 18, 1872)
September 23, 1872
"Gen. Page, President of the Bullionville and Pioche Railroad, is in town, and has contracted with Gordon & Murray of this city to transport the locomotives, cars and iron for the new road. More than seven hundred tons of freight are to be sent south, of which fifty tons are already here, and two hundred and fifty tons are on the road from the East." "Local Intelligence." "To Teamsters. -- See Messrs. Gordon & Murray's advertisement for ox and other teams to haul freight from Lehi to Pioche." (Utah Mining Journal, September 23, 1872; research by George Pitchard)
September 23, 1872
"Salt Lake, September 23d -- Locomotives, cars and iron for the Bullionville and Pioche railroad are in course of transportation. Fifty tons are here and about 250 tons are on the road from the east." (Sacramento Daily Union, September 24, 1872)
October 1, 1872
"Pioche, October 1st -- The initiatory survey for the Pioche and Bullionville narrow-gauge railroad was commenced yesterday. The probable route will commence at the chute of the Raymond & Ely mine, thence to the divide above the Pioche Company's mill, thence winding round on a grade of about 500 feet to the mile down near the Alps Company's works, thence to Light's stable and the canyon which leads through several miles to the Meadow Valley Canyon, and so on to the present terminus at Bullionville, where are located the majority of the mills of Ely District. The exact route cannot be stated yet. Several weeks will be required in running lines -- altering, backing, filling, etc. But it looks like business to see the surveyors at work. We have announced that iron for the road is en route, and that it will perhaps be completed and cars running thereon in 1872. The gauge will be three feet and iron of weight of twenty pounds to the yard." "Since the item about the survey was in type we have several points of substantial interest to record in reference to the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad. All the iron is en route according to contract of parties under bonds for its delivery to the amount of $50,000 by the middle of November. One wagon with rails will arrive in a day or two and a chair for a switch has already arrived by express. The road will be about sixteen miles in length." (Sacramento Daily Union, October 7, 1872)
October 2, 1872
Pioche to Hamilton Western Union telegraph line opened today. (Pioche Record, October 2, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
October 3, 1872
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad construction began. (Robertson, page 157)
October 8, 1872
"They broke ground on the Pioche and Bullionville railroad on Thursday last (October 3), amid popular demonstrations of pleasure from the surrounding Piochians. Commencement, anyway." "Col. Carter will build the Pioche and Bullionville narrow-gauge road -- a link in the road to be constructed from this city to that thriving camp. The Colonel is already in Pioche, says the Record." (Utah Mining Journal, October 8, 1872; research by George Pitchard)
October 11, 1872
General A. L. Page, president, states that he has a number of men at work grading. (Pioche Record, October 11, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
October 16, 1872
"The Pioche and Bullionville Railroad is getting along famously. The grading is well under way, and Gordon & Murray are rushing along the iron from Lehi with unexampled zeal." (Utah Mining Journal, October 16, 1872; research by George Pitchard)
October 19, 1872
"Pioche, October 19th -- One mile of grading on the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad has been completed. The entire road will be finished before January 1st." (Marysville [California] Daily Appeal, October 20, 1872)
October 28, 1872
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad began laying rails. (Robertson, page 157)
November 2, 1872
"Gen. Page, says the Pioche Record, has received an installment of the rolling stock of the Pioche and Bullionville railroad, consisting of an engine, truck, etc., and other machinery. They are busily getting out ties and-stringing rails along the route." (Utah Mining Journal, November 2, 1872; research by George Pitchard)
November 2, 1872
The surveyor gave details of maximum grades, locations and headings of the track. (Pioche Record, November 2, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
November 8, 1872
"The Silver Spike Ceremony .- -A few weeks since we made mention of a silver spike manufactured by Mr. Cook, the well-known assayer in Mr. Butler's establishment, for the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad. . We heard Sunday evening that the first iron would be laid yesterday and the aforesaid spike driven according to the usual ceremony in such cases provided, but we had no official notice of the fact. To be sure of it we sent a reporter toward the divide to learn whether the affair took place or not. This man must have fallen by the wayside, and we had to go to press without the coveted item. The ceremony was performed about one o'clock, to the satisfaction of all present. This morning Gen. Page started to Salt Lake to hurry up the material. We also noticed some teams in town this morning with railroad supplies-one with iron, so that the work of laying the track can go on. The road will be completed in remarkably short order, and will be one of the best of its kind. -- Pioche Review." (Utah Mining Journal, November 8, 1872; research by George Pitchard)
November 10, 1872
Both grading and track laying are almost completed. (Pioche Record, November 10, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
November 16, 1872
Central Nevada Railroad Company incorporated. The major stockholders of Central Nevada Railroad Co. were Addison L. Page and William H. Raymond; Raymond was listed as President of Pioche & Bullionville in later years. The Central Nevada Railroad was to build from Pioche to Bullionville and on to Callville, 140 miles to the south, on the Colorado River. (Robertson, page 157)
December 12, 1872
First train of Pioche & Bullionville was operated. (Robertson, page 157)
December 12, 1872
Gives thanks to General Page for an invitation to take a ride on the (ore) cars. (Pioche Record, December 12, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
December 20, 1872
There are now 30 ore cars and one passenger car; over four miles of rails laid to date. (Pioche Record, December 20, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
January 3, 1873
"Messr's. Gordon & Murray last night received the bill of lading of another engine for the Pioche & Bullionville railroad. This is business. General Page is moving energetically in the matter of a narrow gauge railway from Palisade to Pioche,..." (Salt Lake Herald, January 3, 1873; research by George Pitchard)
January 11, 1873
"Pioche, January 12th -- The work of grading to the old Bowery mill was completed last night. To-morrow morning the track-layers will be at work in full force, and it is expected a mile a day will be laid and the work continued at this rate until this important local enterprise becomes an accomplished fact. The rolling stock is all on the ground, and within thirty days, at the farthest, the narrow gauge railroad will be in successful operation." (Sacramento Daily Union, January 20, 1873)
January 23, 1873
One and a fourth miles laid, best day ever. Expect to reach Dry Valley by the 25th. (Pioche Record, January 23, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
February 20, 1873
The new locomotive, shipped from Lehi on Feb. 1st, was found abandoned in the mud. (Pioche Record, February 20, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
March 20, 1873
Col. J. F. Carter , built by Dawson & Bailey, has arrived. It has 11x16 cylinders and with tender, wood and water weighs 17 tons. (Pioche Record, March 20, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
March 25, 1873
"The new locomotive for the Pioche and Bullionville railroad, which arrived a few days since, being put is running order at Bullionville, will soon be completed." (Salt Lake Herald, October 25, 1873)
April 3, 1873
The work of altering grades and curves will be resumed today. (Pioche Record, April 3, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
April 11, 1873
The railroad is a failure - rails too frail, curves too short and steep. (Pioche Record, April 11, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
April 17, 1873
"There is no use in longer trying to deny the fact that the narrow gauge railroad between here and Bullionville has proved a failure. The rails are too frail, and the grading, in places, is not safe. A new survey is being made, and the work of constructing a good, serviceable railroad between here and Bullionville is now being prosecuted sensibly and in earnest. An abundance of necessary new material is en route. The curves of the existing track make locomotion with heavy loads impracticable." (Salt Lake Herald, April 17, 1873)
April 23, 1873
Changing and strengthening the curves is being pushed vigorously. (Pioche Record, April 23, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
May 6, 1873
"Pioche, May 7th -- Day before yesterday the new locomotive for the narrow gauge railroad was fired up for the first time in Bullionville." (Marysville [California] Daily Appeal, May 13, 1873)
May 7, 1873
New locomotive fired up for the first time May 5th. (Pioche Record, May 7, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
May 23, 1873
Rebuilding is nearing completion as is work on the turntable. (Pioche Record, May 23, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
June 8, 1873
Pioche & Bullionville Railroad construction complete. (Robertson, page 157)
June 10, 1873
First day of operation. (Robertson, page 157)
June 10, 1873
The silver spike was driven at Bullionville on June 8th. A mixed train will operate to Bullionville today with the 36,000 pound J. F. Carter . Engine #1 is being rebuilt. (Pioche Record, June 10, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
June 11, 1873
"Pioche, June 11th -- On Sunday, the 8th instant, the last rail was laid on the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad. Yesterday the first train of ore cars passed over the road. Its successful working is a source of sincere congratulation among all classes." (Sacramento Daily Union, June 12, 1873)
June 20, 1873
First timetable: Lv. Pioche daily at 8:30 a.m. - returning Lv. Bullionville at 2:30 p.m. (Pioche Record, June 20, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
June 22, 1873
The 15 tons Col. Carter is hauling 15 ore cars and the passenger car. (Pioche Record, June 22, 1873; from Robertson, page 157)
October 22, 1873
"Pioche, Oct. 9th -- Mr. Nesbitt during his superintendency of the railroad leading from the mines of this district to the mills at Bullionville, has shown that his experience in such matters has made him a thorough railroad man. Under his direction the road has been very materially shortened and put in complete running order. The engine now in use -- the "Henry C. Chapin" -- is of 16 tons capacity, and drives the train down and back twice every day, carrying a nice passenger car. Mr. Nesbitt has received a dispatch from Toano, saying that the new engine (20 tons) for the railroad will be shipped on the 10th, and after its arrival, regular trips will be made, carrying freight and and passengers on schedule time." (Deseret News, October 22, 1873)
November 1, 1873
"Pioche, Nov. 2 -- A new and powerful locomotive belonging to the Nevada Central Railroad Company, arrived yesterday morning from Toano, and was at once forwarded to Bullionville, where superintendent Nesbitt will employ a large gang of men to adjust and put the finishing touches on it." (Deseret News, November 19, 1873)
Nov. 15, 1873 Grant Works engine Joseph W. Nesbitt , #3, arrived today from Central Pacific. The tender is painted lake with a green panel stating "Nevada Central Railway." (Pioche Record, October 2, 1872; from Robertson, page 157)
June 24, 1874
"From Pioche -- We had a friendly visit from Mr. J. W. Nesbitt yesterday, who is staying in the city a day or two. Mr. N. is a representative railroad contractor and builder, having followed that business for many years both in the East and West. His last railroading was the reconstruction of the Nevada Central, the narrow gauge line running from Pioche to Bullionville. It will be remembered that the road as first built was found to have too many short curves and heavy grades for practical use, but Mr. N. has now got the line in excellent condition, though at present there is but little use for it, trains being run but once a week on account of the scarcity of ore." (Salt Lake Herald, June 24, 1874)
March 7, 1877
"The Nevada Central railroad, running from Pioche to Bullionville, has recently been started to work, after a suspension of some months. This would seem to indicate a revival of business at Pioche." (Salt Lake Herald, March 7, 1877)
Poor's Manual of Railroads for 1877-1878 reported on what showed as the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad. "Line of Road. Pioche, Nevada, to Bullionville, Nevada. 21 miles. Sidings and other tracks, 2 miles. Gauge, 3 feet. Rail, 30 lbs." "The road is chiefly used for the transportation of ores. The Eureka and Palisade Company are said to have purchased it, and will make it an extension of their own tracks." (Railroad Manual of the United States, 1877-1878, by Henry V. Poor, page 846)
The Pioche & Bullionville was abandoned in 1881, but some of the former grade in the Pioche area was utilized in 1891 by the Pioche Consolidated company for its Pioche Pacific Railroad to serve the mines on Treasure Hill and the Raymond & Ely mines on Treasure Hill to the Summit mill, and also featured a 15-mile long line north of Pioche to Jackrabbit (originally called Royal City). The Summit mill was reported to have been located near the Wheeler Monument, erected by Army Corps of Engineers in 1877 during its survey of lands west of the 100th Meridan. The monument still stands today, near the current aerial tramway station.
May 15, 1883
Date given in Robertson, page 157, as the last day of operations.
June 2, 1883
Talk of repairing the railroad to haul low grade ore ended in talk, not agreement. (Pioche Record, June 2, 1883; from Robertson, page 157)
December 22, 1883
The narrow gauge has been sold to a firm at Iron City, Utah, where it will be used to carry coal to furnaces there. The understood price is $15,000. (Pioche Record, December 22, 1883; from Robertson, page 157)
December 29, 1883
Tracks to be removed from Pioche south to Delmoi's (Delmues), then Bullionville north to Delmoi's (Delmues). (Pioche Record, December 29, 1883; from Robertson, page 157)
January 7, 1884
"Moving a Railroad." "Bishop Thomas Taylor, superintendent of the Utah Iron Manufacturing Company, is about to commence the work of removing to Iron City, in this territory, the rails, ties, rolling stock, etc., of the Nevada Central Railroad, which the company he represents recently purchased. The manner of moving the plant will be as follows: the workmen will first move the track and materials in Pioche down to Delmoi's (Delmues) ranch, then they will remove the track from the Bullionville end up to the same place, then all the material will be removed to Iron City. It is the intention at present to take up and relay the track as they go on. Before they arrive halfway to their destination, says the Pioche Record, it is safe to predict that they will give up this method of removing the road." (Salt Lake Evening Chronicle, January 7, 1884; research by George Pitchard)
January 17, 1884
"Iron Manufacture -- Bishop Thomas Taylor of the Iron Manufacturing Company of Utah has just returned from Southern Utah and Nevada whither he has been on business concerning the removal to Iron City of the Pioche & Bullionville railroad recently purchased by the company The Iron Company got a bargain in the little road all of which was bought, including over twenty miles of track, two locomotives, more than twenty cars besides the necessary turn tables, scales, tools, machinery, water tanks and apparatus of a well equipped line. Much of the property has already been removed to Iron City and the removal of the track, locomotives and cars will be undertaken as soon as spring opens. As before stated in The Herald, an effort will be made to have the road transport itself by pulling up the rails at the furthest end of the track and relaying them at the nearest and so on repeating the operation until Iron City is reached. Should this plan prove unsuccessful another will be tried. Mr. Robertson is now on the ground superintending the transportation of the road. The road will be run from Iron City to the coal mines about thirty miles distant and also connect the iron ledges with the furnaces. Bishop Taylor is well pleased with the purchase and is confident that with cheap coal and the small cost for transporting ore that will be secured the company will be able to produce iron cheaper than it can be imported. The company is preparing for quite extensive operations in the spring." (Salt Lake Herald, January 17, 1884)
January 19, 1884
Both of the locomotives were ruined; water was left in the pipes overnight and froze. (Pioche Record, January 19, 1884; from Robertson, page 157)
"President John Taylor received permission from LDS church members at the April 1884 General Conference to put church funds into the ironworks, which enabled Iron Manufacturing Company of Utah to buy the Pioche and Bullionville Railroad, a narrow-gauge line with 20 miles of rails, two locomotives, 25 cars, a roundhouse, and other equipment. Tracks were to be laid between the coal mines in Cedar Canyon, iron deposits at Iron Mountain, and the furnaces at Old Irontown. The road was to transport itself by repeatedly extending the rails in front of the engine, moving the engine and cars onto the rails, removing the rails from behind, and again placing them in front. However, the method proved too time consuming, and the railroad equipment was finally transported by oxcart and wagon from Jack Rabbit, Nevada, to Cedar City, a distance of 80 miles. Though some grading for the railroad was done, no tracks were ever laid." (From the Ground Up, The History of Mining in Utah, edited by Colleen K. Whitley, Utah State University Press, 2006, page 204)
June 21, 1884
At Delmoi's (Delmues) ranch, the cars and locomotives lie all in a heap, having been taken apart and none of it removed; we do not believe they will ever be removed to Iron Springs. (Pioche Record, June 21, 1884; from Robertson, page 157)
Three locomotives are shown in builder records compiled by Robert Lehmuth as having been sold to Pioche & Bullionville Railroad.
|No. 1||C. W. Lightner||0-4-0T||8x15 inches||National||187||Aug 1872|
|No. 2||Col. J. F. Carter||2-6-0||11x16 inches||36 inches||34,000 pounds||National||189||Oct 1872|
|No. 3||Jos. W. Nesbitt||2-6-0||10x16 inches||43 inches||42,000 pounds||Grant||982||Jan 1873|
Pioche & Pacific Railroad
With the prospect of the completion of direct railroad service to Bullionville and Pioche in late 1907, many of the mining properties in the two districts were undergoing a boom, including plans to treat and re-treat much of the earlier second-class ore that had been dumped on the ground as being too expensive to transport to distant railroad locations.
Robertson shows that the name changes for the narrow gauge railroad between Pioche and Jackrabbit were as follows:
- Pioche Pacific Railway Company, 1891-1908; construction began in June 1891; first train operated on August 15, 1891
- Pioche & Pacific Transportation Company, 1908-1911 (reference to Pioche & Pacific Railroad as early as December 17, 1907; Deseret News)
- Pioche Pacific Transportation Company, 1911-1912 (reference to Pioche & Pacific as late as May 15, 1912; Evening Standard)
- Pioche Pacific Railroad Company, 1912-1948 (mainline Jackrabbit to Pioche, 13 miles, sold by December 1930 to Bristol Silver Mines Company)
- (Robertson, Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, The Desert States, page 158)
The following comes from Robertson, page 158:
Pioche & Pacific Transportation Co. was first listed in ICC for 6/30/08 as an operating-independent with 17 miles owned and in use. Increased to 18 miles by 6/30/10. The volume for 6/30/11 uses the name Pioche Pacific Transportation Co. and shows 18 miles owned and in use. It was placed in receivership on October 13, 1911. Listed in 1912 edition (and thereafter) as Pioche Pacific Railroad Co. with 17 miles owned, 14 miles operated. By 1914 it was 17 miles each and 16 miles each by 12/31/16.
From 1925 until 1929 it was 17 miles each. Reduced to 3.5 miles each by 12/31/30, having sold the main line, Pioche to Jackrabbit, to the Bristol Silver Mines Co. From 1933 to 1941, the railroad company operated a four-mile mine branch; this was abandoned in 1942. Bristol Silver abandoned the final portion.
Some books refer to this whole operation as "Railway"; full, exact and proper designations are rare and often conflicting. When this confusion is found, the author accepts the titles found in Interstate Commerce Commission and state public utility records. Even though Nevada started publishing a PUC report in 1908, this company was not included until 6/30/14. Regular earnings and operation statistics are shown through 1940 with 1941 just a blank.
This operation was not found in Poor's Manual or Official Guide. Railroad Gazette for November 20, 1891 (listed as Pioche & Jackrabbit) states that rails to complete the track have left Milford, Utah. The head of track was now 1/2 mile from Onondago. The rails were second-hand from Denver & Rio Grande in Colorado.
Total investment (to 1914) was given as $3,790.15 or $236.88 per mile. The president was G. A. Marr with headquarters in Salt Lake City. For further reading and construction details see Pioche Weekly Record, all in 1891 - June 11, 18, 25. July 2, 16, 23, 30. August 6, 13, 20, 27. September 10, 27. The only formal name found was Pioche Consolidated Mining Co. All other references were to "the Jackrabbit road." (Encyclopedia of Western Railroads, The Desert States, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, by Donald B. Robertson; The Caxton Printers, 1986)
The following comes from American Narrow Gauge Railroads, by George Hilton, page 443:
The Pioche Pacific Transportation Co. -- Railroading returned to Pioche with a mine tramway projected along the escarpment of Treasure Hill. To make use of some of the remaining equipment of the Pioche & Bullionville, as well as a portion of its grade, 3'-0" gauge was adopted. Operation began in January 1890, and later in the year the property, which amounted to only about half a mile to the west of the town, passed into the hands of the Consolidated Mining & Reduction Co. in the course of a merger. The president of the mining company, W. S. Godbe, decided to extend the tramway to its full projected three miles, and to build a 15-mile line northwest to the Jackrabbit Mine at Royal (Bristol). Godbe incorporated the line as The Pioche Pacific Transportation Co., a private carrier, and built it in 1891.
In November 1907 Pioche gained its first rail connection with the outside world when the Union Pacific's Caliente & Pioche arrived in town, making use of a portion of the Pioche & Bullionville's grade. This development caused the Pioche Pacific to become a common carrier in 1908. The line remained mainly a facility of Godbe's firm, since 1904 known as the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelting Corp. This firm went bankrupt in 1912, causing the rail line to be reorganized as the Pioche Pacific Railroad in 1913. In 1917 the mines served by the railroad were leased to Combined Metals, Inc., but the railroad was not transferred from the Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelter Co., as its owner had been renamed in its reorganization. E. H. Snyder, head of Combined Metals, became restive in the face of what he considered the excessive rates of the Pioche Pacific, and on June 5, 1930, bought the Jackrabbit line for $30,000 for his subsidiary, the Bristol Silver Mines Co., ending any common carriage by the narrow gauge. The shorter line up Treasure Hill had been operated under lease by Combined Metals since 1923. These changes caused the Pioche Pacific to apply in 1937 to the Public Service Commission of Nevada to drop its common carrier status, but the Commission dismissed the application in 1939 on the ground that the ore moved in interstate commerce. The Interstate Commerce Commission dismissed a similar application on February 25, 1942, on the opposite ground that the operation was intrastate. The Pioche Pacific responded by removing the line up Treasure Hill. Trucks took over the ore movements from Jackrabbit in 1947, and the rail line was closed in October 1948. (American Narrow Gauge Railroads, by George W. Hilton; Stanford University Press, 1990)
Union Pacific graded for a railroad between its end of track at Milford, and Pioche, by way of Condor Canyon. (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 944)
(The grade was actually the grade of the narrow gauge Pioche and Bullionville line, completed in 1873 and abandoned in 1881.)
Pioche Consolidated began the construction of a 15-mile, 22-inch gauge railroad between its smelters being built at Pioche, and its mines at Jackrabbit, including the Half Moon, the Mendha, and the "famous" Day (Jack Rabbit) mine. Construction of four miles of the line had already been completed. (Salt Lake Herald, May 15, 1891)
August 15, 1891
Operation of Pioche Pacific Railway Company began. (Robertson, page 158)
Construction complete. (Robertson, page 158)
December 30, 1905
"The engine of the Pioche Pacific railroad with J. B. Wheeler at the throttle and Roy Orr as fireman makes its regular trips hauling ballast from the dumps at the Raymond & Ely to ballast the track with." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1905) (This reference indicates the the Pioche Pacific had completed its branch between the Pioche Consolidated mill, east of Pioche, and the mines on Treasure Hill, above Pioche.)
January 24, 1906
"Camp Railroad Rebuilt. -- The roadbed and tracks of the Pioche & Pacific railroad from the smelter to Jackrabbit has been repaired and put in good condition, and trains are now running daily hauling timbers and material to the latter place preparatory to reopening and working the famous old Day (Jack Rabbit) mine. The aerial tramway has arrived there and is in course of erection, the machinery is being overhauled and put in condition, and extensive ore bins are being built, sufficient lumber now on the ground to accomplish prearranged plans having recently arrived." (Pioche Record, quoted in the Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1906)
(According to James M. Hill's "Notes on some mining districts in eastern Nevada", U. S. Geol. Survey Bull. 648, published in 1916, page 124-125, the Day mine was the same as the Jack Rabbit mine. "A narrow-gage railroad connects this mine with Pioche.")
June 15, 1908
"The little Jackrabbit road with its new new locomotive and improved track and roadbed is of great help to the mining industry of the district." (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 15, 1908; the new Porter arrived in March)
(This was the Porter 0-6-2 saddle tank locomotive, numbered as the first No. 3.)
July 6, 1911
The "Pioche-Pacific Railroad Company" was incorporated in Utah, "To build a railroad from Pioche to Royal City, in Lincoln County, Nevada, about thirty -five miles." (Salt Lake Telegram, July 6, 1911)
October 13, 1911
Pioche Pacific into receivership. (Robertson, page 158) (along with parent company Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Co.)
August 21, 1912
"All told approximately seventy cars of ore are being sent from Pioche every week (from the Prince Consolidated, Mendha, and Day-Bristol mines), while over 100 cars of tailings per week are going from Bullionville and Condor Canyon, making a total of about 200 cars in transit weekly over the Pioche branch at the present time." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 21, 1912)
February 28, 1914
The Pioche & Pacific Railway purchased a large order of second hand steel rails in February from American Machinery Company of Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1914)
During 1929-1930, the mainline, 13 miles, was sold to Bristol Silver Mines Company, leaving about 3.5 miles of mine branch line, which was abandoned in 1942. Bristol Silver Mines abandoned the mainline by 1948.
December 31, 1930
Pioche Pacific "mainline" from Pioche mill, to Jackrabbit, 13.5 miles, was sold to Bristol Silvers Mines Company. (Robertson, page 158)
(Prior to this sale, the railroad was wholly owned by Consolidated Nevada-Utah Corporation, with the Amalgamated Pioche company as it operating company. Consolidated Nevada-Utah was reorganized in 1913 from the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation, which in-turn had purchased in 1905, the assets of the original Pioche Consolidated company, which had built the railroad in 1891-1892.)
(Bristol Silver Mines had purchased the mining properties of the Uvada Copper Company in 1919, which in-turn had purchased the mining properties of Day-Bristol Consolidated company in 1914. The Day-Bristol Consolidated company had purchased the mining properties of the Bristol Consolidated Mines & Smelting Company in 1911, including the Bristol mines on the west side of the ridge, and the Day mine, also known as the Jackrabbit mine, or the Black Metals mine, on the east side of the ridge. The railroad's northern terminus was at the Jackrabbit mine, which explains why the railroad was at times called the "Jackrabbit road.")
(In 1940 Union Pacific purchased the railroad of the Prince Consolidated company, and rehabilitated the line to handle the increased traffic from the new Caselton mill. Part of the rehabilitation work included new rail, which required a new crossing with the narrow gauge Pioche Pacific at Atlanta, north of Pioche. Instead of a new crossing, the two companies developed a transfer station at Atlanta to transfer ore from the narrow gauge cars, to the Union Pacific standard gauge cars. The narrow gauge line from Atlanta to the mill east of Pioche was abandoned.)
Pioche Pacific branches, operated 1933 to 1941, were abandoned. (Robertson, page 158)
(During this time, throughout the 1930s and during World War II, the narrow gauge railroad was used to ship ore from the mines to the mill, out in the valley east of Pioche.)
Pioche Pacific abandoned. (Robertson, page 158)
Pioche Pacific is known to have owned at least four locomotives.
|No. 1 (1st)||Shay, 10 Tons, Two-trucks||(2) 6x10 inches||21 inches||Lima||362||Jun 1891||(new)|
|No. 1 (2nd)||Shay, 18 Tons, Two-trucks||(2) 8x12 inches||26 inches||Lima||892||Jul 1904|
|No. 3 (1st)||0-6-2 saddle tank||9x14 inches||Porter||4125||Mar 1908||(new)|
|No. 3 (2nd)||Shay, 24 Tons, Two trucks||(3) 8x8 inches||26-1/2 inches||Lima||2194||Jul 1909||ca. 1925|
|No. 279||2-6-0||11x18 inches||43 inches||Alco Schenectady||50829||Jan 1912||1927|
|1.||No. 1 (1st) was built in 1891 as Pioche Consolidated Mining and Reduction Co. no. 362, renumbered no. 2, (Pioche Pacific Transportation Co.) at Pioche, Nevada. (see www.shaylocomotives.com for information and photo)|
|2.||No. 1 (2nd) was built in 1904 as Birce & Smart Lumber no. 1, Emigrant Gap, California; to Pacific Gas & Electric, Lake Spaulding, California in 1912; to Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelters (incorporated in July 1911), for Pioche Pacific no. 1 (2nd), Pioche, Nevada; abandoned in desert, still visible in 1990 (previously thought to be the remains of No. 1, 1st) (see www.shaylocomotives.com for information and photo)|
|3.||No. 3 (1st) was built in 1908 as Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters no. 3, Pioche, Nevada; to Pioche Pacific Transportation Co. no.3, Pioche, Nevada; to Pioche Pacific no. 4 (remains can be seen laying in the foreground of a photo on page 700 of Myrick's book)|
|4.||No. 3 (2nd) was built new 1909 for Santa Barbara Tie & Pole Company at Embudo and Hodges, New Mexico; to W. A. Zelnicker Supply Company (dealer), St. Louis, Missouri; to Little Cottonwood Transportation Company no. 1 in 1916, used to serve the mines in Little Cottonwood Canyon, near Salt Lake City, Utah (drawing in "Chili Line, The Narrow Gauge Trail To Santa Fe" by John A. Gjerre, 1969, page 47, Lima Class 29-2); converted from wood fuel to coal fuel in November 1925 (not on LCT or Alta Scenic at the time); sold to Pioche Pacific Transportation Company no. 3, at Pioche, Nevada, and then to Bristol Mines Company (same location); sold in the 1940s to Robert Caudill; as of 1971 it was on display at either the Last Chance Museum or the Last Frontier Hotel, both in Las Vegas; during the late 1990s, the locomotive was still on display near the Gold Strike Casino (later known as the Hacienda Hotel & Casino) in Boulder City, Nevada; the locomotive was sold to Brad Milne for use on the West Side Narrow Gauge Restoration; moved in November 2003 to Washington state for restoration to become West Side Lumber Company no. 16 and eventual movement to Tuolumne, California for operation.|
|5.||No. 279 was built in 1912 as Chicago & Northwestern no. 279; sold to Pioche & Pacific no. 279 in 1927; to Bristol Silver Mines Company in 1930 (along with entire railroad); preserved and displayed in Pioche, Nevada.|
SPLA&SL Caliente & Pioche Railroad
Large portions of the grade south from Milford to Pioche, by way of Clover Junction (Caliente), 145 miles, was essentially completed by Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern Railway, including the line between Caliente and Pioche by way of Condor Canyon (which had been used in the 1870s and 1880s by the narrow gauge Pioche & Bullionville). Construction was halted due to the financial difficulties of parent company Union Pacific, which declared bankruptcy in 1893. The grade lay dormant until 1901 when UP, through its Oregon Short Line subsidiary, restarted work to continue the line south of Caliente, to California. There was competition from San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, organized in 1901 to build between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. In 1903, after suits and counter-suits, an agreement in 1903 resulted in OSL selling its line in Utah, and partial constructed line in Nevada, to SPLA&SL, which completed its line in May 1905. (LA&SL Corporate History)
SPLA&SL acquired the title and ownership of the grade between Clover Valley Junction (Caliente) and Pioche, by paying back taxes owed to Lincoln County. (Signor, LA&SL, page 29)
The SPLA&SL was formally completed between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
June 8, 1906
Caliente & Pioche Railroad was incorporated. (LA&SL Corporate History)
"In March '06, almost 100 miles of the San Pedro between Acoma and Vegas were washed out by a flood in Clover Valley and Meadow Valley Wash, and the line was out of commission for two months. In June '06, articles of incorporation of the Caliente & Pioche R. R. were filed, but work on the road was not commenced until the middle of April, '07, shortly after another wash-out in Meadow Valley Wash. The first train came into Pioche in Nov. '07, but there was no regular service and only a few shipments were made until the following year." (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 948)
"During February 1907, work began on a railroad to the Pioche District of southern Nevada, a rail extension project abandoned by the Union Pacific interests some years earlier. Incorporated on June 6, 1906, the Caliente & Pioche Railroad Co. was soon at work rebuilding and strengthening the old UP grade. Although delayed by the unprecedented floods of 1907, the branch was completed from Caliente to Pioche during late October and the first carload of freight was shipped on November 18, 1907. Organized and financed by the Clarks, the Caliente & Pioche was leased to the SP,LA&SL on January 1, 1908, and sold outright to the 'Pedro the following March. Traffic was quick to develop on the line and, despite occasional setbacks, the Pioche Branch remained viable for a number of years." (Signor, LA&SL, page 61)
Caliente & Pioche was completed. (LA&SL Corporate History)
January 1, 1908
Caliente & Pioche was leased for operation to SPLA&SL. (LA&SL Corporate History)
March 8, 1909
SPLA&SL purchased all interest and assets of the Caliente & Pioche. (LA&SL Corporate History)
"Two more serious washouts of the San Pedro in Meadow Valley Wash Jan. 1, 1910, and Jan. 28, 1911, persuaded that line to build a new roadbed through the wash, about 15 feet higher than the old one, after an unsuccessful endeavor to find a route other than through the Wash. Caliente enjoyed a brief boom while the reconstruction work was in progress. The branch railroad from Pioche to the Prince Mine was completed in July, 1912, by the Thompson Construction Co. of Salt Lake, at a cost of about $150,000. Railroad mileage is as follows: San Pedro, 162.09 miles; Pioche Pacific (Jack Rabbit) 18 miles; Prince Con. 9-1/4 miles. The population Lincoln County in 1910 was 3,489. (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 949)
Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Co.
Pioche Consolidated Mining Company had been organized in 1886 by W. S. Godbe to develop the old Raymond & Ely claims near Pioche. (Salt Lake Herald, September 19, 1886)
September 10, 1890
The company was reorganized as the Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Company on September 10, 1890. (Salt Lake Herald, September 11, 1890, "yesterday")
The first ore shipments took place in February 1891, with three shipments going to three different smelters to determine the value of the ore and compare reduction processes and costs. (Salt Lake Herald, February 8, 1891)
Godbe made several trips to New York to confer with shareholders of Pioche Consolidated, and with Union Pacific to encourage the extension of Utah Central south from Milford, to the mines at Pioche. (Salt Lake Herald, March 22, 1891)
Due to the collapse of the price of silver, the Pioche Consolidated mine was closed, putting hundreds of men out of work. Work continued on developing the lead ores of the Detroit claim in the Bristol district. (Salt Lake Herald, March 2, 1892; June 10, 1892)
January 1, 1894
"The Pioche Consolidated Company shut down its fine smelting plant in November 1892." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1894)
November 21, 1897
"The Summit Mill is running steadily, and E. S. Godbe left Thursday to buy another concentrator and supplies in Salt Lake City." (Salt Lake Tribune, November 21, 1897)
The 20-stamp mill of the Pioche Consolidated was destroyed by fire. (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 30, 1899, "a few days ago")
May 30, 1907
The Pioche properties of Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Company, have been conveyed to the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation for the reported amount of a half million dollars. These properties included the Raymond & Ely, the Meadow Valley and Yuba mines at Pioche, and the Day and Hillside mines at Jackrabbit. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1907)
Prince Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co.
The Prince Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company was organized in 1907 by James Hackett of Louisville, Kentucky, and the Godbe Brothers of Salt Lake City. The Godbe Brothers also owned the site of the old Bullionville smelter, and were shipping tailings and slag to Salt Lake City smelters as fluxing ores. In 1913, they built a spur from Panaca on the Caliente & Pioche Railroad, to the Bullionville site to replace the steady stream of wagons and teams that were making the trip between Bullionville and Panaca.
May 30, 1908
"The Prince Consolidated was acquired by the present company a year ago last February and active work was begun at once in its equipment and development." "The Prince Consolidated company is also the owner of the noted Bullionville tailings located about twelve miles south of Pioche on the Salt Lake railroad, together with over 1000 acres of land, large water rights and privileges, a mill containing a great deal of machinery, dwelling houses, office buildings, etc." (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1908)
February 9, 1912
Prince Consolidated began the construction of its railroad. Laying of rails began in May. (Robertson, page 159)
June 15, 1912
First train was operated on Prince Consolidated's railroad. (Robertson, page 159)
On June 30, 1912, the Prince Consolidated company completed its 8.71-mile railroad from the Caliente & Pioche station at Pioche, north then west around Treasure Hill, then south to the Prince mine.
August 21, 1912
"That Pioche is one of the best mining mining camps in the west at the present time is evidenced by the ore shipments being made from the camp at the present time and with very flattering prospects that the output will soon be very materially increased. The Prince Consolidated company leads with an average output of 300 tons or six carloads per day from the mine." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 21, 1912)
The Virginia Louise Mining Co. was incorporated in 1912 and began work late in that year, sinking a shaft to the south of the Prince shaft to reach the supposed extension of the Prince ore beds. In 1917, the Virginia Louise company sued the Prince Consolidated company for encroachment and trespass. In 1918 the suit was found in favor of the Virginia Louise company, but a settlement between the two companies resulted in the Virginia Louise company being able to ship its ore over the Prince Consolidated company's private railroad.
February 29, 1916
"The Prince Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company, Pioche, Nevada, under the management of Murray C. Godbe of Salt Lake will soon commence the construction of a 100-ton mill to handle its tailing dumps." (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 29, 1916)
July 15, 1916
Prince Consolidated Mining company was to have in operation a new 200-ton mill at Bullionville to process the approximately 120,000 tons of tailings at Bullionville and at Dry Valley eight miles away. A railroad connects all of these properties. A 16-inch conveyor belt has been installed to lift the Bullionville tailings 548 feet to the level of the mil at that location. Each ton of the tailings have been found to contain 7-1/2 percent lead, 10 ounces of silver and $2.40 in gold. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 1, 1916)
The Prince Consolidated company was very active in shipping ore between 1912 and 1921, when water levels in the mine became too much for the pumps to handle. to overcome the financial difficulties, the company was reorganized on August 22, 1923 as the Prince Consolidated Mining Company, dropping smelting for its name and business. The adjacent Virginia Louise mine was shut down in 1922, and in 1923 it was reorganized as the Virginia Louise Development Company, which in 1924 took control of the Prince Consolidated Mining Company. In March 1926, the pumps were shut down and the mine closed, mostly because the Salt Lake smelters had greatly reduced their market for the particular flux ore produced by the two mines. (Prince Consolidated history from USGS Professional Paper 171, pages 60-61)
May 27, 1940
Prince Consolidated sold its railroad to Union Pacific. (Robertson, page 159)
June 10, 1940
"Plans for a new mill at Caselton, Nevada, led Union Pacific to apply for authority to acquire the Prince Consolidated Railroad in 1938. This 8.69-mile line extended from a connection with UP's branch at Pioche to the mining town of Prince. Authority was received and rehabilitation of the line was begun on June 10, 1940. Included in the work, which was completed that summer, were 2.49 miles of new track bringing the line up to the site of the new mill." (Signor, LA&SL, page 118)
Prince Consolidated is known to own at least three locomotives.
|No. 25||2-8-0||19x30 inches||51 inches||SP Sacramento||50||Nov 1887||ca. 1912|
|No. 2503||2-8-0||19x30 inches||51 inches||SP Sacramento||67||Jul 1888||Apr 1912|
|No. 2511||2-8-0||19x30 inches||51 inches||SP Sacramento||64||Jun 1888||Dec 1915|
- Prince Consolidated no. 25 was built in 1887 by SP at its Sacramento Shops, in Sacramento, California; in service as Oregon & California no. 47; renumbered to SP no. 1910 in 1891; renumbered to SP no. 2510 in 1901; retired by SP in August 1909; sold to dealer Twohy Brothers, Seattle, Washington in February 1910; sold to Prince Consolidated Mining Company; retired in 1927; reinstated in 1933; scrapped by UP in 1940.
- Prince Consolidated no. 2503 was built in 1888 by SP at its Sacramento Shops, in Sacramento, California; in service as SP no. 237; renumbered to SP no. 1903 in 1891; renumbered to SP no. 2503 in 1901; retired by SP in October 1910; sold to dealer N. B. Livermore Company; sold to Prince Consolidated Mining Company in April 1912; further disposition unknown
- Prince Consolidated no. 2511 was built in 1888 by SP at its Sacramento Shops, in Sacramento, California; in service as Oregon & California no. 48; renumbered to SP no. 1911 in 1891; renumbered to SP no. 2511 in 1901; retired by SP in September 1913; sold to dealer N. B. Livermore Company; sold to Prince Consolidated Mining Company in December 1915; converted to stationary boiler service at Pioche in 1923
- Sources include Robertson, page 159 and Southern Pacific Company Steam Locomotive Compendium by Diebert & Strapac (Shade Tree Books, 1987)
Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corp.
Overview, Not In Utah
Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters is shown in Lima builder records as an owner of two Shay locomotives operating in Utah, and the two locomotives are usually included in lists of Shay locomotives in Utah. Research has found that the company merely kept a physical address in Milford, Utah, but a very large portion of its operations and interests were in the Pioche mining district in southern Nevada. For unknown reasons, it was the Milford address that Lima used in its records.
The Imperial mine, mentioned below, was located about 16 miles northwest of Milford, and was at the head of Loeber Gulch, near the ridge of the south end of the San Francisco Mountains about two miles west of Frisco, Utah, and about 1-1/2 miles southeast of the Cactus mine of Newhouse Mines and Smelters. No maps have been found that show anything at the Imperial mine other than minor development work. Other than the LA&SL Newhouse Branch, there was never any kind of railroad service, either to the Imperial mine, or in the gulch in the vicinity of the mine itself. Ore shipments, if any took place, were likely by wagon to a dump that may have been located on the Newhouse Branch.
"In Sept. 1901, through the efforts of Ed. Freudenthal, most of the old Pioche mines were incorporated under the name of the Manhattan Mining Co., which later became the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation." (History of Nevada, Davis, 1913, page 947)
Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation was organized in 1905.
Article about Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters Corporation being incorporated in Maine. (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1905, page 25)
The Pioche and Bullionville districts were undergoing a boom in 1907 due to the prospect of the completion of direct railroad service from the south at Caliente. Plans were being made to treat and re-treat much of the earlier second-class ore that had been dumped on the ground as being too expensive to transport to distant railroad locations.
December 30, 1905
"The work that is being done by the Nevada-Utah company on the works and grade here is of a most permanent character and shows that it is done not for a mere splurge but for permanent utilization everything being put in first class shape." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1905)
The following about the improvements being made by the Nevada-Utah company comes from the Pioche Record, quoted in the Salt Lake Herald, January 24, 1906:
A spur from the Pioche & Pacific railroad near town has been completed to the Pioche & Phoenix shaft No. 1, on the Raymond & Ely vein, where a shaft house is in course of construction and an engine is being installed.
The shaft house on Meadow Valley No. 5 has been remodeled, the old machinery thrown out; another engine installed more adequate for re-timbering the shaft and is now ready for duty as soon as timbers arrive which are now in transportation from Modena. A spur has also been built to No. 5, skirting the mountain to No. 1 and making the circuit to the Pioche & Pacific railroad. A passenger coach having undergone reconstruction is now almost ready to be placed on the track, when passenger service will be inaugurated between Pioche and Royal City.
The machine shops are being remodeled and put in order, and within a fortnight will be equipped with sawmill adequately arranged to frame all necessary timbers.
Near the Meadow Valley No. 6 and almost in the center of the entire group of mines a substantial and neat assay office has been erected and elaborately fitted with all necessary metallurgical and chemical appliances.
A spacious and architecturally neat and substantial and comfortable brick office, comprising twelve rooms, is nearing completion, and standing as it does on an eminence is a credit to the entire works and the town.
Many old buildings have been torn down or repaired, dumps freshened up by, new improvements, roads graded and all together everything presents a neat and business-like appearance.
The water line has recently been put in good condition, and everything is moving along smoothly and steadily without pomp, but with genuine order.
The lumber for re-timbering No. 5 to the 1,400 and No. 1 to the 900 has arrived at Modena and is in transportation here. It is the intention of the company to make these two shafts the main working compartments for all their property surrounding them, and as soon as they are prepared for this purpose new and elaborate electric hoists will take the place of the present ones.
There was apparently a change in management at the Nevada-Utah company, with John Weir and his supporters being forced out, and majority stockholders in the East. The disagreement was reported as coming from the $500,000 bond that was issued in 1905 when Nevada-Utah took over the holdings of Pioche Consolidated Mining Co., with the first payment on the bond coming due in June 1907. One side wanted to pay the bond off and take the option of ownership, while the Weir camp wanted to keep the bond in place and continue working the properties. (Inter-Mountain Republican, May 14, 1907)
May 25, 1907
The properties of the Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Company, along with an undivided half-interest in the Pioche Water Company, were conveyed to Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation on May 25, 1907. Included in the sale were the Raymond & Ely, Meadow Valley, Mazeppa, and American Flag (Yuba) mines at Pioche, together with the Day, Hillside, Onondago, and other properties at Jackrabbit, and 18 miles of railroad connecting Jackrabbit with Pioche. (Salt Lake Herald, May 26, 1907, "yesterday")
May 30, 1907
The Pioche properties of Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Company, have been conveyed to the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation for the reported amount of a half million dollars. These properties included the Raymond & Ely, the Meadow Valley and Yuba mines at Pioche, and the Day and Hillside mines at Jackrabbit. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1907)
(In November 1920, the Day and Hillside mines were sold by the Uvada Copper Mining Company to the newly formed Bristol Silver Mines Company.)
June 17, 1907
Nevada-Utah purchased the Imperial mine in Beaver County, Utah, and the Manhattan mine in Pioche. (New York Times, June 17, 1907)
September 9, 1907
"The railroad to Pioche is nearly finished, and shipments from Nevada-Utah will begin soon. The developments at the Cactus mine of Newhouse Mines & Smelters are proving the value of the Comet mine, as the richest showing in the Cactus is near the Comet boundary." (New York Times, September 9, 1907)
(The Caliente & Pioche Railroad was incorporated in Utah on June 8, 1906. The corporate history of LA&SL shows that construction of the railroad began at Caliente in February 1907 and was completed to Pioche in November 1907. It was leased for operation to San Pedro, Los Angels & Salt Lake Railroad on January 1, 1908, and formally sold to SPLA&SL on March 8, 1909. SPLA&SL became the LA&SL in 1916.)
January 19, 1908
Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation was the subject of investor speculation. (New York Times, January 19, 1908)
June 1, 1908
"Nevada-Utah's daily shipment is two carloads from the Pioche properties, which is returning $8,000 to $15,000 a month." (New York Times, Jun1 1, 1908)
November 1, 1909
"The Day (Jack Rabbit) mine of Nevada-Utah has been completely closed, and all activities of Nevada-Utah have ceased. This is understood to be due to the closing of the Tintic smelter and the raising of rates by other smelters, so the the low-grade fluxing ore could not be handled at a profit." (New York Times, November 1, 1909)
October 19, 1910
The previous president of Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation, George E. Learned, resigned and was replaced by Ernest R. Woolley of Salt Lake City, who was also elected as director and general manager of the company. Woolley was also president of Utah Sampling Company. The change in management meant that Mr. Learned and his associates were no longer in control of Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation. (New York Times, October 19, 1910)
July 27, 1911
Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelters Corporation was incorporated on July 27, 1911, in Maine, to take over the properties of the Nevada-Utah, Prince Consolidated, Ohio-Kentucky, and Pioche Consolidated companies. It is an operating company of the Consolidated Nevada-Utah Corporation. (The Mines Handbook, Volume XIII, 1918, page 1120; Google Books) (The assets of the Nevada-Utah company included the Pioche Pacific railroad; financial statement showed $1,442 in liabilities for the railroad.)
(The Mines Handbook for 1922 shows the Amalgamated Pioche company as owning the Pioche Pacific railroad, with income derived from leases to Combined Metals and others. The Amalgamated Pioche company had not been actively mining its properties since 1917.)
November 19, 1911
The District Attorney for New York had sent a detective to Utah to arrest Ernest R. Wooley, former president of Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation, on the charge of embezzlement. Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation was chartered in Maine in 1904, and held copper properties, among which were Comet Lines in Beaver County, Utah; the Last Chance in Bingham Canyon, Utah; and the Manhattan and Phoebe Consolidated Mines at Pioche, Nevada. (New York Times, November 19, 1911)
January 8, 1912
Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation was in the midst of being reorganized. (New York Times, January 8, 1912)
As part of a settlement between the Godbe interests and the owners of Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters, the Godbe group agreed to release the shares it held as collateral for a $125,000 note held by the Woolley administration of the Nevada-Utah company. These shares included all of the stock of the Pioche & Pacific Railroad company, as well as one-half of the stock of the Day-Bristol Consolidated Mining Company. The need to settle this note came about during the merging of the Ohio-Kentucky Nevada interests with the Raymond & Ely properties, and the formation of the Amalgamated Pioche company. The Godbe interests agreed to buy back $125,000 in stock of the Ohio-Kentucky company, which gave them two seats on the board of the new Amalgamated Pioche company. (Evening Standard, February 27, 1912)
April 15, 1912
The president of Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters Corporation was Colonel John Weir, 60, who was on the H.M.S. Titanic when it sunk in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. The following comes from the entry for John Weir in the Encyclopedia Titanica. (Read about John Weir at Encyclopedia Titanica)
He was a native of Scotland who had made a fortune in western mining before returning to Scotland, where his daughter and sister lived, and to England. He had been president of the Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters corporation. During the Spanish-American War he was appointed quartermaster-general by President McKinley and served in the Philippines. According to local papers he was well thought of in Salt Lake City. "The years had left him gray, but his heart was young and his strong body retained without a hint of the years, it bore the straight lines of the typical soldier." Weir was known for his Christmas spirit, giving his friends substantial gifts during the Christmas season. After he returned to Europe he made frequent trips back to Utah, and often stayed at the Knuteford. He was a member of the Alta Club in Salt Lake City.
His friend, Morris P. Kirk of Salt Lake City, received a letter from Weir dated 6 April in which Weir stated that he was going to travel on the Philadelphia. He was planning on traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah. Morris Kirk and Weir were to travel to California to look over some mining areas in the Feather River area.
However, the sailing of Philadelphia was postponed by the coal strike and Weir transferred to the Titanic. He boarded the ship in Southampton and was traveling in first class.
The operation of the Pioche & Pacific railroad was to resume "tomorrow or Monday", serving the new Amalgamated Pioche No. 1 mine (Raymond & Ely?). The mine was being un-watered, which would allow production to resume. (Evening Standard, May 15, 1912)
June 10, 1912
The assets of Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation were sold on June 10, 1912, as the company was bankrupt. Its stated value was reported as $455,180.34. The corporation was incorporated in Maine on January 15, 1912, with 1,498,500 shares outstanding. The assets were shown as being $100,000, plus "certain other assets" of $2,000, being the entire assets of the company, as well as the amount of the offer that was accepted. The assets of the corporation were ordered to be sold on May 29, 1912 by the District Court of the U. S. for the Southern District of New York. (The Federal Reporter, Volume 202, March-April 1913, pages 126-129, Google Books)
"Nevada-Utah Reorganization", news item about the Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters being reorganized as Consolidated Nevada-Utah Corporation. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 30, 1913, page 17)
Consolidated Nevada-Utah Corporation was organized in 1913, in Virginia, as a reorganization of the bankrupt Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelters Corporation. the new company purchased the assets of the former company under judgment proceedings for $100,000. The Pioche property was operated by the Amalgamated Pioche Mining Company, of which the Consolidated Nevada-Utah company owns 80 percent. The Pioche properties were the former Pioche Consolidated property and comprised 38 claims, 51 town lots, and 1,525 miscellaneous acres. They were silver-lead mines and produced large quantities of ore in 1875-1876. They were shut down in 1893. (The Mines Handbook, Volume XIII, 1918, page 1122; Google Books)
October 10, 1913
The Nevada-Utah company sold its Last Chance mine at Bingham, Utah, to the United States Mining Company. The Last Chance was made up of 13 patented mining claims, all located adjacent to the U. S. company's Jordan mine and in the same mineral belt. The price was reported as $50,000, and would give the reorganized Nevada-Utah company much needed cash to develop its properties at Pioche. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 11, 1913, "yesterday")
April 25, 1917
Ernest R. Wooley gave himself up on April 25, 1917, after being a fugitive from justice since 1911, when he was indicted on a charge of grand larceny for obtaining 10,000 shares of Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters stock under false pretenses. He had been living in Salt Lake City and "had been prosperous." (New York Times, April 26, 1917, "yesterday")
Bristol Silver Mines Company
Early history of the Bristol District, from James M. Hill, USGS Bulletin 648, 1916, page 127:
The Bristol district was organized April 10,1871, by Hardy, Hyatt, and Hall. The ore deposits of this region were known in the late sixties, as most of this region had been prospected shortly after the discovery of Pioche, which took place in 1863. A smelter was built at Bristol Well in the late seventies, and later, a 5-stamp mill at the same place. In 1877 the Hillside Co. was organized to take over the properties of Mr. Steele, which included the Hillside mine and the well and smelter.
For several years the Hillside and Bristol companies operated the Hillside and May Day deposits on the west side of the range. The Day (Jack Rabbit) mine in Lake Valley was operated independently. These properties and several others near Bristol were consolidated in 1911 by the Day-Bristol Consolidated Mining Co., which, in 1913, was operating the May Day and Gypsy mines and had leased the Inman, Tempest, and Hillside properties. The Day (Jack Rabbit) was idle, and it was reported that the lower workings were below the ore zone. This company at present holds 23 patented claims and 4 locations.
Description of Bristol mines, as of 1916, from James M. Hill, USGS Bulletin 648, 1916, page 130:
The more important mines controlled by this company, named from south to north, are the Gypsy, May Day, Vesuvius, Inman, Tempest, Hillside, Iron, and Day (Jack Rabbit). In 1913 all the ore mined at these properties either by lessees or the company was hauled by team to the terminus of the narrow-gage railroad at the Day mine at a cost of $4 to $6 a ton. In October, 1913, the plans for an aerial tram over the range from the Day to the Gypsy mine were completed, and it was expected that this tram would be completed early in 1914. When this tram is in operation it should reduce the freight charges by about $4 a ton.
August 21, 1912
"That Pioche is one of the best mining mining camps in the west at the present time is evidenced by the ore shipments being made from the camp at the present time and with very flattering prospects that the output will soon be very materially increased. The Prince Consolidated company leads with an average output of 300 tons or six carloads per day from the mine. The Mendha company is sending out fifty tons per day from its property in the Highland district, while the Day-Bristol company is marketing approximately 10 tons per day from its Bristol and Jack Rabbit mines." "The Day Bristol company has sixty head of horses on the road constantly hauling ore to the railroad from the Bristol side." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 21, 1912)
December 30, 1913
"The right of way for the new tramway of the Day-Bristol in the Bristol district is cleared and grading for towers completed. The tram line is 9,125 feet long with a fall of 600 feet and connects the mine with the terminus of the Pioche Pacific. The Broderick and Bascom system will be used and power will be furnished by a 15 horsepower Alamo gas engine. Other equipment includes a similar gas engine hoist of fifty horsepower and a second 50 horsepower engine driving a 314 cubic foot compressor." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1913)
July 30, 1917
"The hoisting plant head house of the tramway and adjacent buildings at the Gypsy property of the Uvada Copper company at Pioche, Nevada were recently destroyed by fire. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1917)
July 1, 1919
The Snyder interests in Salt Lake City, represented by E. H. Snyder, and Eastern capitalists, represented by W. T. McNabb, took a lease on the Uvada Copper Mining Company in the Bristol district. The main working shaft of the Uvada company was the Gypsy mine. The Black Metals mine was mentioned as if the Snyder interests already had control of that mine, and that it would be connected with the Gypsy shaft. (Salt Lake Telegraph, July 1, 1919)
December 15, 1919
"The old Day mine acquired by the Black Metal Mines, Inc. in March 1919 from the Uvada Copper Mining Company, after negotiations extending over a period of about a year, is now producing seventy five tons of iron manganese fluxing ore." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 15, 1919)
Bristol Silver Mines Company was shipping its ore by aerial tramway from its mines to the ore bins at Jackrabbit, where it was loaded into cars of the Pioche Pacific and taken to Pioche, then on Salt Lake Route trains to Salt Lake Valley smelters. About 1,000 tons of silver-lead-copper ore was shipped during August 1920. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 30, 1920)
November 15, 1920
Bristol Silver Mines Company was formed in early 1919 ("about 18 months ago") to consolidate mining claims in the Bristol Mining District, across (south) the Bristol Range of mountains from Jackrabbit. The claims consolidated included the Gypsy, May Day, Hillside, Tempest, Vesuvius, Inman, Jack Rabbit, Iron and Detroit. The ore was shipped by way of a 9,000-foot aerial tramway, from the mine to Jackrabbit. Work began immediately to rehabilitate the mines, drive new access tunnels and build surface facilities. By November 1920, expected tonnage was to be about 75 tons per day. The majority of the underground development work was from winzes from the bottom of the 400-foot vertical Gypsy shaft. The Bristol company had "recently" acquired the Black Metals Mines Company, on the Jackrabbit side of the Bristol Range, with direct access to the narrow gauge railroad, eliminating the use of the aerial tramway. In addition to access to rail transportation, the acquisition of the Black Metals property gave the Bristol company more than 400 acres of mineral bearing ground. Work was under way to connect the underground workings of Black Metals, under the divide to the underground workings of the Bristol company. From the 900-foot incline tunnel of the Black Metals company, with its easy angle, there was already a 1,900-foot drift in the direction of the Bristol company mines. An extension of this drift for another 1,200 feet would put it below the Hillside mine. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 15, 1920)
During December 1920, Bristol Silver Mines shipped 1,125 tons, and Black Metals Mines shipped 355 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1921)
During February 1921, the Black Metals mine was operating under a lease and was shipping what was known as flux ore to the Salt Lake smelters. (Salt Lake Telegram, February 1, 1921)
May 30, 1921
The Bristol mine owned by the Bristol Silver Mines Company still continues to be the principal shipper of the Pioche district. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1921)
January 15, 1922
The Black Metals mine was shipping 50 tons per day. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1922)
During the first week of April 1922, the Bristol Silver mine shipped 265 tons, and the Black Metals mine shipped 300 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 15, 1922; this would have been shipped from Jackrabbit to Pioche by way of the Pioche Pacific.)
April 30, 1922
Bristol Silver Mines Company purchased the Home Run Copper Company, whose three mining claims were adjacent to those of the Gypsy mine. The Home Run mine was a silver-copper mine, shipping ore that was 8 percent copper. (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 30, 1922)
"Ore is now hoisted directly to the surface up the new inclined shaft where it is loaded into the aerial tramway for transportation to the Pioche Pacific railroad, a distance of two miles." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 15, 1922)
During the third week of December 1922, the combined mines of the Bristol company shipped 650 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1922)
During all of December 1922, the Bristol mine shipped 2,350 tons of ore to the Salt Lake smelters, with a content of 2.3 percent copper and 44 percent iron. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 9, 1923)
During the third week of April 1923, the Pioche district shipped 1,940 tons: Virginia Louise, 560 tons; Prince company, Bullionville tailings, 630 tons; Prince company, Dry Valley tailings, 355 tons; Bristol Silver Mines (Snyder interests), 245 tons; Combined Metals mine (Snyder interests), 150 tons. (Salt Lake Telegram, April 21, 1923) (At about 40 tons per car load, this would be about 49 cars, about nine cars per work day, shipped by way of LA&SL's Pioche Branch to Caliente, then by LA&SL to Salt Lake City.)
During November 1924, the Pioche district shipped 28 carloads: Combined Metals - 15; Virginia Louise - 8; Black metals - 3; Bristol Silver - 2. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 15, 1924)
August 30, 1925
"Rich ore has been encountered in the lower levels of the Bristol Silver mine in the Pioche district and from 150 to 200 tons are being shipped weekly to Salt Lake Valley smelters smelters, according to advices from Pioche. The ore is being brought in over the tracks of the Pioche Pacific railroad, a narrow gauge line serving the Bristol and Jack Rabbit district, and also by highline." (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1925)
October 30, 1925
"The Bristol Silver Mines company was organized about five years ago by W. F. Snyder & Sons and Associates who still control the company. The Bristol company now represents a consolidation of about a dozen mines in the heart of the Jack Rabbit and Bristol districts near Pioche, Nevada, taking in the Hillside, Gypsy, May Day, Vesuvius, Iron, Detroit, Inman, National, Tempest and Home Run mines, close to a thousand acres in the heart of the district, mostly patented ground. The Bristol also owns about ninety per cent of the stock of the Black Metals, Incorporated from which mine a good grade of manganese ore is being shipped to the Columbia Steel Company." (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1925)
During the first two weeks of March 1926, the Bristol mine shipped 16 carloads, compared to nine cars during the entire previous month. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 30, 1926)
August 15, 1926
In order to handle the increased tonnage coming from the Black Metals, the Pioche Pacific railroad is now running a daily train to Jack Rabbit from Pioche a distance of approximately twenty miles." (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1926)
May 29, 1928
William F. Snyder died on Tuesday May 29, 1928. Mr. Snyder was closely identified with the Bristol Silver Mines, Black Metals Mines, and Combined Metals mine in Pioche, along with the Dalton and Lark properties at Bingham and the Eureka Lilly property at Eureka. His first mining success was the sale of the Annie Laurie gold mine west of Marysvale, which he sold in 1899. He was the head of the W. F. Snyder & Sons mining companies, and was survived by his sons, Edward H. Snyder, George W. Snyder, Guy M. Snyder, and Neal D. Snyder. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 30, 1928)
During the first week of November 1928, Bristol Silver Mines shipped 1,125 tons, and Combined Metals shipped 900 tons. (Milford News, November 23, 1928)
During the first week of December 1928, Bristol Silver Mines shipped 900 tons, and Combined Metal, from its No. 1 mine, shipped 600 tons. (Milford News, December 21, 1928)
In a directory of mining companies, Bristol Silver Mines Company was shown as having been incorporated in 1919, with its offices being in the Felt Building in Salt Lake City. Its only property was in Pioche. Its officers were officers W. F. Snyder, pres., E. H. Snyder, vice pres. and gen mgr., and C. M. Christensen, sec. treas. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1929)
The mine of the Bristol Silver Mines Company was closed, due to a slump in metal prices. (Iron County Record, May 9, 1931)
(The closure was temporary, and the mines continued in various levels of production, depending on metal prices, throughout the 1930s and during World War II.)
(At about this same time, Bristol Silver Mines purchased the Pioche Pacific narrow gauge railroad from Consolidated Nevada-Utah Corporation, the successor to Pioche Consolidated, which had built the railroad in the 1890s.)
Combined Metals Reduction Company
Prior to World War I, E. H. Snyder became convinced that the complex ores of the Caselton mine, west of Pioche, could be processed at a profit. In 1911, at age 22, he had graduated from the Michigan College of Mines, and began metallurgical experiments to develop a process that would extract metals from these combined ores. In 1915 he joined Combined Metals, Inc., and in 1923 he was president and general manager of the company when control of the company was purchased by National Lead, and changed to Combined Metals Reduction Company.
With the completion in 1923 of the flotation mill at Bauer, Utah, with its new capability to process mixed sulfide ores, Combined Metals Reduction Company began the development of ore from the Caselton, Prince and Ely Valley mines. The mines continued to furnish ore when the new mill at Caselton was completed in 1940, until the ore bodies were depleted in 1957. The Caselton mill was reopened in 1964 to process the ore from the Pan American mine. The Pan American mine was closed in 1968 as a result of litigation, and the Caselton mill was once again forced to close. (The Pioche Mining District, Nevada, by L. D. Hayes, 1971)
When it first opened in 1924, what was known as the Combined Metals mine was a lease to the Combined Metals Reduction Company from the mine's owner, Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelter Corporation. The location was the old Raymond & Ely No. 1 Shaft. From the top of the shaft, at 6,346 feet above sea level, the shaft was 1,272 feet deep, with the main working level being known as the 1200 Level. Other workings extended down to the 1400-foot level. The water level was originally at the 1200 level, but pumping had lowered the water level down to the 1400 level. The first ore was shipped to the plant of the Combined Metals Reduction company at Bauer, near Tooele, Utah, on May 19, 1924. The mine was connected by a narrow gauge railroad to the Union Pacific terminal at Pioche. (USGS Professional Paper 171, page 54)
Throughout its history after its opening in 1923, the ore from the Caselton mine was shipped to the Bauer mill, the resulting lead concentrates were shipped to the International smelter near Tooele (opened in 1910) and the zinc concentrates were shipped to the Anaconda's reduction works at Great Falls, Montana. This continued with the opening of the Caselton mill in 1941, and until its closing in 1957.
The Caselton shaft was sunk to a depth of 1,470 feet during the early 1930s. The 69,000-volt transmission line from Hoover Dam to the Pioche district was completed in 1937. The advent of cheap power made for lower operating costs and was chiefly responsible for the construction of the Caselton mill, which was started during late 1940 and completed in 1941. Originally designed to handle 500 tons daily, its capacity was increased in 1943 to 1,000 tons. Construction of the Caselton mill by the Combined Metals company was the start of a new era for the mining industry in the Pioche and adjoining districts, because lower-grade ores could be mined and milled at a profit, as the company was willing to accept custom ores from other properties.
By 1953, developed sulfide ore reserves in Caselton mine had been largely depleted. The company tried unsuccessfully to mine and mill manganese ore until 1954, after which rehabilitation and development work on sulfide ore reserves restored Caselton's production of lead and zinc sulfide ores at a profitable rate of 10,000 tons per month. In 1957, the price of metals dropped dramatically, and the Caselton mine was closed. The shaft was operated in 1975 by St. Patrick Mining Company to process water for the Caselton mill. In 1976 and 1977, Bunker Hill Mining Company operated the mill, employing seven persons. In 1980, Kerr-McGee Corp was employing 25 persons in underground rehabilitation of the Caselton mine.
The Caselton concentrator was a 1500 ton per day sulfide flotation mill located on 33 acres of land with surface rights only in Lincoln County Nevada. A lease with option to acquire the property was included with the lease option of the Pan American Mine, leased to International Silver in November 2010.
The Caselton concentrator facility was first constructed to process ores from the Combined Metals Reduction Company Caselton #2 Mine in 1944. The concentrator was subsequently refurbished to process ore from the Pan American Mine in 1966 and again refurbished in 1976. It was last operated commercially in 1978.
The ore being processed was trucked from the Pan American mine, a joint venture between the Anaconda Corporation and the Bunker Hill Company, located 16 miles west of the Caselton concentrator. The concentrate produced was a clean zinc concentrate containing an average of 54 percent zinc, and a lead/precious metals concentrate grading 60 percent lead with 58 ounces per ton silver. The lead/precious metals concentrates as well as the zinc concentrates, were shipped by rail to the Bunker Hill Company's smelting and refining complex in Kellogg, Idaho.
The Ely Record. 1870-1872 (Ely mining district, near Pioche, not at Ely, Nevada)
Pioche Daily Record. 1872-1876
The Pioche Weekly Record. 1877-1900
Lincoln County Record. 1900-1905
The Pioche Weekly Record. 1906-1908
The Pioche Record. 1908-1925
Lincoln County Record. 1925-1932
The Pioche Record. 1932-1968
Lincoln County Record. 1968-current
Pioche Mines and Railroads -- A Google Map showing the railroads and major mines in the Pioche, Bristol, and Jackrabbit districts near Pioche, Nevada.
Encyclopedia of Western Railroads, The Desert States, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, by Donald B. Robertson (The Caxton Printers, 1986)
Railroads Of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume II, The Southern Roads, by David F. Myrick (University of Nevada Press, 1991)
Geology And Ore Deposits Of The Pioche District, Nevada, By Lewis G. Westgate And Adolph Knopf, USGS Professional Paper 171, 1932
Notes on some mining districts in eastern Nevada, by James M. Hill, USGS Bulletin 648, 1916 (excellent description of the history, geology and ores of the Bristol mines)
Utah Digital Newspapers Project -- Numerous old newspapers digitized and online; keyword searchable.
Silver State Specialties -- "Ghost Towns & Abandoned Mines, Pioche & Surrounding Area, Nevada"
International Silver, Inc. -- Purchased the Prince Mine and Caselton properties in 2010; descriptions of the geology and history of the Prince Mine, the Pan American Mine, and the Caselton concentrator
History of Nevada, Volume II, by Sam P. Davis, 1913; available online at the Internet Archive. (ed. note: This is well-written and is a good read.)
Mining and milling methods at the Caselton Mine, Combined Metals Reduction Co., Pioche, Lincoln County, Nevada, by George H. Holmes, Jr., U.S. Bureau of Mines, Information Circular 7586, November 1950 (Hathi Trust)
American Narrow Gauge Railroads, by George W. Hilton (Stanford University Press, 1990)