Alunite Nevada Overview
Named for the alunite in the district, Alunite was a mining district at the southeast end of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada, at a low gap known as Railroad Pass, was discovered in 1908 and was named for the alunite in the district.
Also known as the Flatiron, Glonite Mining District, Railroad Pass Mining District, and Vincent Mining District.
Learn more about Ghost Town in Nevada and Ghost Towns in the Southwest.
Alunite Nevada History
The Alunite district is located in the vicinity of Railroad Pass about 19 miles southeast of Las Vegas. The district occupies most of T23S, R63E in the Black Hills, southwest of Railroad Pass.
The southern part of the district may have been known as Flatiron in 1910.
Averett (1962) lists Glonite as an alternate name.
A rush occurred in October 1908 and a bunkhouse, stables, a blacksmith shop, an office building, and tents were erected. But, in early 1909 the excited wore off as nothing was found of importance.
From 1923 publication:
Gold was discovered in the mountains to the W. of Railroad Pass prior to 1908. Robert T. Hill discovered alunite and gold in the pass in 1908. This discovery was prospected by the Alunite M. Co. and abandoned shortly afterwards. Interest in the district as a possible source of potash from alunite was aroused in 1915, but the proportion of potash present was found to be too low to pay to work. The Quo Vadis gold mine began operations in 1915 and produced a little high grade ore but is at present shut down.
Gold (potash), tungsten, and alunite.
Mine and geology information from 1923 publication:
The Quo Vadis M. Co. was incorporated in Nevada in 1915.
P. Buol of Las Vegas is Pres.; C C. Ronnow, V. P.; E. W. Clark. Sec.-Treas.; with F. A. Clark and J. B. Anderson additional Directors.
The mountains to the W. of Railroad Pass are composed of biotitemonzonite and those to the E. of andesite and latite, according to Hill. Within the area of the pass, between these mountains of unaltered igneous rocks, the biotite-monzonite, andesite, and latite have been alunitized and silicified and small amounts of precious metals have been deposited in them. According to Gale, the general run of rock as it would have to be mined in this locality would probably not average over 21/2% of potash, or, at the most, 37/2%. At the Quo Vadis Mine in the biotite-monzonite to the W. of Railroad Pass, rich stringers of gold ore occur. A letter from E. S. Giles states that the gold is free in quartz, and very little silver is present. The gold-bearing quartz is frozen to the wall on one side and to calcite colored by manganese on the other side, the calcite being frozen to the other wall of the vein.
35° 58′ 29.92″ N, 114° 54′ 46.96″ W
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Work in the New Camp Being Pushed with Energy. Many Prospectors Flocking into the District.
The Alunite Mining Company which lias lately, through its operations in Railroad Pass, brought that section so prominently to notice is now rapidly getting things in shape for extensive development work. A contract has already been let to Mr. Fredericks of Searchlight, for sinking a first class vertical, two compartment shaft to a depth of 200 feet. The hoist for this shaft will soon be installed and the work pushed with vigor.
Contracts for several other shafts of similar character will be let as soon as the proper locations for the same are determined.
Bunk houses, stables, an office building and a blacksmith shop are now being erected and a force of men is employed in improving the road between Vegas and the camp. Twenty-five men are now in the employ of the company and this force will be gradually increased as the work progresses.
Prof. Robert T. Hill has charge of the technical department and is now engaged in a thorough surface sampling of the extensive holdings of the company.
C. L. Graves of New York, President of the Company, is now on the ground giving his personal supervision to its affairs.
In an interview Mr. Graves said:
The Alunite Mining Company has been organized by New York people who are also largely interested in the Hill Syndicate, a New York Company now engaged in extensive mining enterprises in Mexico and elsewhere.
“Our company is not speculative in character and has no stock for sale. It is operating for the sole purpose of developing mines in the Railroad Pass district where we believe the surface showings justify a large expenditure of money. We are neither inviting publicity nor striving to attract people to this section, but are engaged in this enterprise simply because we believe we can develop very valuable mines in this section which will amply repay us for the large expenditures we are making.”
“W. D. Pearce is General Manager and will have full charge of the work locally.
Considerable activity in the field by prospectors and speculators who have been attracted to the scene by the extensive operations of the Alunite Mining Company is noticeable.
- United States Geological Survey – Alunite Nevada
- Paher, Stanley. Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, Howell-North Books, 1970, p. 276
- Tingley, Joseph V., Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Report 47 – Mining Districts of Nevada, pages 15-16
- The Nevada State Writers Project Administration, Origin of Place Names Nevada, 1941, p. 13