In the last entry we looked at a convenient stopover for migratory snowbirds in Pioche, Nevada. If you find yourself camped there for an evening and want to spend a day exploring before resuming flight, here are some places worth exploring.
The number one attraction in town is the Million Dollar Courthouse:
Pioche was designated the Lincoln county seat in 1871. Plans were drawn up to build a courthouse for a contract of $26,400 with bonds being sold to cover the anticipated price. However, by the time it was completed a year later, modifications, failed contracts, mismanagement, cost over runs and kickbacks had grown the price tag to over $88,000. To cover the additional costs, the Board of Commissioners issued more bonds with the promise of high redemption rates raising the debt to $181,000. With the decline in mining, taxes revenues fell, pushing the outstanding debt to $670,000 by the turn of the century. When the final payment was made in 1937 (the courthouse was condemned in 1933) total cost of the courthouse in principal and interest payments was almost $1,000,000 – hence the Million Dollar Courthouse moniker. After being abandoned for nearly 40 years, it was restored in the 1970’s and now serves as a local museum featuring relics from Pioche’s mining heydays which ended with the demise of mining the 1950’s.
Once you have visited the museum and want to explore Pioche’s mining history first hand, jump into your tow vehicle or dinghy and head to the following points of interest:
On the southwest outskirts of downtown you will find the Number 1 Mine at: N37°55.501 W114°27.418
Not far away and to the southeast of the Number 1 Mine at N37° 55.067 W114° 26.090 you will find a very photogenic and technically interesting ore box connected to the upper terminus of the tram line that transported ore to the mill in the valley below.
To complete the mine to mill “tour” head down the hill and north of town to N37° 56.884 W114°26.720 where you will be met with a gate to the historic mill.
Note: Currently the mine, ore box and upper tram terminus are not restricted to public access, while the mill is fenced and posted against trespassing. None of the three are developed for public access and you need to be aware that unmarked hazards exist. Please explore responsibly and at your own risk.
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