The one common thread about old mining towns is that most of them sprang up almost over night in the middle of nowhere. Where ever gold and silver was found back then, a mine would be put in and a town would be built. What always amazes me though is how fast things got done back then. I always figured it was because there was no one from the government there to slow you down with paper work and permits. You just moved into town and set up shop. Scrounged up a few boards and built a house. Things back then seemed to be simple but of course it did have it's hardships also. As you read the story on Goldfield you will see just how fast a town and an empire of mines was built. Be aware of the years in the story. This would never ever happen this fast in the world today. Never!
It was in 1902 that two prospectors, Billy March and Harry Stimler found gold just outside of Tonopah Nevada. Well as usual it wasn't long before word got out and people started moving in looking to strike it rich. By 1903 there were a few hundred miners in the area and by 1904 the town of Goldfield had a few saloons, a general store and a few other shops. The town had barely gotten started when in 1905 a fire swept though and burned about two blocks of buildings down.
1905 was a big year for Goldfield. Not only had a bunch of the town burned down but the railroad came to town also. The Santa Fe Saloon opened up also that year and the neat thing about that saloon is that it is still open to this day and one of the very few remaining business's of Goldfield. By 1906 there was over 30,000 people living in Goldfield. The town by this time had several producing mines in the area where miners worked. By the following year 1907 over 8 million dollars worth of gold had been mined.
That same year the mines saw strikes by the miners wanting higher wages. Miners formed a local branch of the Western Federation of Miners, and in this branch were included miners and laborers in Goldfield area mines. In December of 1907, the Nevada Governor, at the request of the mine owners, contacted President Theodore Roosevelt to dispatch some Federal troops to the town of Goldfield fearing that striking miners and non striking miners would clash. So the president sent in some soldiers and in 1908 after a police force was formed the troops pulled out. From 1907 to 1910 Goldfield was the largest city in Nevada.
Goldfield saw many different people also over the years. In 1904 Wyatt and Virgil Earp came to Goldfield. Wyatt had just arrived back from Nome where a gold rush was going on there. Virgil was the Goldfield deputy sheriff in 1905. George Rice also spent time in Goldfield. He's the guy who was a con artist and fraudster who became a stock promoter. His Sullivan Trust Company and its associated mining stocks caused the failure of the Goldfield State Bank in 1907 when it collapsed. He went on to ply his same trades in Rawhide Nevada a short time later.
By 1918 the mines were running out of ore and by 1920 here was only about 1200 people remaining in the town. Throughout it's time, Goldfields mines produced in excess of 90 million dollars worth of gold. Today very little remains but the Santa Fe saloon is said to still be open and serving drinks to anyone who happens to come around.