Goldfield is located approximately 188 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A lot of people know that the Las Vegas was built in the middle of the desert but unless you physically drive to and from Vegas you probably don't know the reality and desolation that surrounds this metropolis, ergo, Goldfield. Now Goldfield is often identified as a ghost town and not only does it look like one but with a population of under 400 it feels like one too. It's residents are described as eclectic independent thinkers.
Goldfield was a boomtown in the first half of the 20th century all because of the discovery of gold. The mines of Goldfield produced more than $86 million of ore between 1903 and 1940. After discovery gold the city grew rapidly reaching a peak population in 1906 of nearly 30,000 people. But, unfortunately, as quickly as it grew it declined with the ore production and by 1920 it's population was a staggering 1,500. To make matters worse a fire destroyed most of the town's flammable buildings in 1923. The few remaining buildings included the hotel and high school.
Right: This picture was taken next to the Fire House on Euclid and Crook Avenue.
A few interesting facts about Goldfield during it's heydays and in this century. Virgil and Wyatt Earp resided here from 1903 to 1905. Virgil was deputy and Wyatt worked as a pit boss in the town's gambling casino. There was a championship lightweight boxing match between Oscar "Battling" Nelson and Joe Gans. Tex Rickard's Northern bar was so long that it required 80 bartenders to serve its customers. Three movies have been filmed in Goldfield Nevada. And the Travel Channel and Syfy channel investgated the Goldfield Hotel for paranormal activity.
Still standing is the abandoned four-story Goldfield Hotel on Highway 95 which is the main road through this sleepy town. It opened in 1908 and was reported to be the most spectacular hotel in the state of Nevada at the time. Contents from the Goldfield Hotel like the sinks and heater elements lay in the desert among rusted cars and train engines at the freight depot and repair yard.
Present day attractions include wondering through the Bullfrog Goldfield train depot and repair yard. Which by the way is repairing nothing and hasn't for a really long time. There are ruins and unoccupied buildings still standing for you to take pictures of. Every year in August you can attend the Goldfield Days Festival hosting parades, historical displays and booths. If you are heading north out of Goldfield, just before leaving history in the dust, literally, stop and check out the Art Cars. Maybe not the sleekest or prettiest, these vehicles are clever and very fun to explore and I think I read that they might even be for sale.
Gold exploration still continues in and around the town of Goldfield today as well as throughout Nevada. Just keep in mind that southern Nevada desert temperatures are very hot in the summer but the winters are mild. We visited Goldfield on a Sunday. Bad idea. Nothing was open except a corner convenience store. The bar with it's fancy gold rush days decor was closed until late afternoon as was a few other attractions we wanted to visit. Poor planning on our part this time. In the three hours we were driving and walking around the town I think we saw less than 20 people that Sunday in quiet, little Goldfield Nevada.