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Mines & Town Of Delamar

This is the story about the mines and town of Delamar Nevada. It was in 1891 that two prospectors, John Ferguson and Joseph Sharp, were prospecting for gold and silver in an area called the Monkeywrench wash. This was further up the wash from where the old Monkeywrench mine was located. At first this mining camp was named Ferguson because it was named after one of the prospectors but as you will hear shortly, the name of the mine and town would very soon be changed.

In 1893, a big time mining investor from Montana by the name of John DeLamar came into town with pockets full of cash. He decided he wanted to buy a gold mine or two so after shelling out $150,000 he ended up owning the best claims and mines and then set off to get producing. It was at this time that the name of the town was changed to Delamar as John wanted the town named after himself.

One of the mines that John bought was the April Fool mine. The first thing that was done was install a ten stamp mill so the ore could be milled on site. By the time the mine was in full production, there were about 30 workers on the payroll. By 1895 the town already a couple thousand residents and there were several shops, two churches, a couple hotels, a blacksmith shop, the regular saloons and even an opera house. The even got it's own newspaper called the Delamar Lode and a post office. Water for the town was pumped in from a well some twelve miles away. Supplies came in through mountain passes by mules trains from Milford Utah and the gold concentrates and ore went out the same way.

The gold in this region was in desimated quartz veins and all this ore had to be put through a stamp mill and the concentrates were then shipped out. One of the problems was there was very little water so the ore was dry stamped. All the milled tailing were dumped out in piles out over the edges of the hillside. These tailings were nothing more than fine silica dust and this dust would blow everywhere throughout the town. It wouldn't take long before people were getting sick and dying silicosis from the toxic silica quartz dust. This is how town got it's nick name “The Widowmaker,” due to the premature deaths from the dust. It is said that at one time there were over 400 widows living in Delamar. Many of the grave markers in the towns two cemeteries are records of how these folks died.

Then in 1900 a fire swept through the valley and burned half the town down and was only partially rebuilt. In 1903 John Delamar sold the mines and claims and the new owners of the mines built a new stamp mill and this mill could pound out 460 tons per day. By 1906, Delamar was the third richest district in the state, only outdone by the new mines at Goldfield and Tonopah. In fact, between 1895 to 1900, a period when Nevada mining was experiencing a depression, Delamar accounted for over half tof all mineral production in the entire state of Nevada.

Around 1909, the ore started to lean out and it was very hard to turn a profit so mining was curtailed. The mill was no out pacing the amount of ore so work shifts were reduced and by 1914 the last of the available ore had been mined out. People left town and moved onto other Goldfeild and other camps. More than $15 million dollars worth of gold was produced from this mining camp.

Today there are still remenants of the old town and where the mill once stood. A lot of the building were made of stone and you can still see the skeletal remains of some of these buildings.