SILVER PEAK / WEEPAH
It’s one of Nevada’s oldest mining towns, and one of its few “living” ghost towns. Discovered in 1863, Silver Peak rode the peaks and valleys of the gold and silver rushes of the late 19th and early 20th-centuries, until the town went bust in 1917. Silver Peak rebounded when rich deposits of lithium were discovered in a nearby dry lake bed. Today, this little town is the nation’s major supplier of this metal.
Weepah is a ghost town that was born during what was arguably America’s last gold rush. When gold was discovered here in 1927, a small mining community sprang up. Given the era, however, instead of burros and horses, people came in via automobile. Many of these miners used their cars as their homes. The community lasted from April to November in a single year—but left its mark on Nevada history forever.
The closest lodging facilities are in Tonopah.
The closest restaurants and stores are in Tonopah.
What to see
Silver Peak is one of the oldest mining areas in Nevada. Mining camp lawlessness prevailed during the late sixties, and over the next 38 years, Silver Peak had its ups and downs. In 1906 the Pittsburg Silver Peak Gold Mining Company bought a group of properties, constructed the Silver Peak Railroad and built a 100 stamp mill at Blair the following year. The town, at times, was one of the leading camps in Nevada, but by 1917 it had all but disappeared. The town burned in 1948 and little happened until the Foote Mineral Company began its extraction of lithium from under the floor of Clayton Valley.•
Weepah is located about 15 miles northeast of Silver Peak. After Indians discovered shallow gold pockets in 1902, about 200 people rushed to Weepah (means “rainwater” in Shoshone), but the rush died out in a few weeks. In 1927 gold was rediscovered by two miners from Tonopah, and it was assayed at $70,000 a ton. This became the Weepah boom, and a throng of motorized vehicles developed into the wildest Nevada mining stampede since Rochester and Rawhide. Within a week, 1000 gold rushers showed up and staked claims. By the end of March 1927, the three roads to Weepah were jammed with cars; western Nevada railroads had to put on extra coaches to handle the throng of gold seekers, and the new town soon had a population around 2000. By April the town had about 60 frame buildings. Most were gone by the end of 1927. In 1934, an open pit silver mine and 350-ton mill was built. This operation lasted until 1938.