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Athens Nevada

Athens, a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada, traces its roots to the early 20th century, embodying the quintessential story of a mining town’s rise and fall. Situated in the Bullfrog Mining District, Athens’ story is one of fleeting prosperity and enduring legacy, marked by gold and silver mining.

Athens Nevada

Athens Nevada Overview

Established in 1910 amidst a surge in mining activity, Athens was initially a confluence of two mining camps, Juniper Springs and Warner. Its growth was spurred by the discovery of rich ore, attracting miners and leading to the development of essential town amenities. Despite its initial promise, Athens faced a decline as the quality of the ore proved disappointing, culminating in its eventual abandonment in 1939.

Athens was a mining district located in Nye County, Nevada. I have found references that the mining district was also known as Pactolus and Pactolis but contradicting references state that Pactolus was about 7 miles north of the Warrior Mine, which was part of the Athens Mining District.

Another source states that the Athens District includes the old camps of Athens and Pactolus.

Most sources state that the name of the mining district was Athens and the Pactcolus camp was part of it.

Learn more about Ghost Town in Nevada and Ghost Towns in the Southwest.

Learn more about Nye County:
The History of Nye County
Things to Do in Nye County, Nevada
View books on Nye County, Nevada

Year Established/Founded

1910

Athens Nevada History

Athens’ history began with the discovery of ore by John Martinez, J.R. Stott, and James Herald in 1909, leading to a rush to the area in 1910. The town flourished briefly with the establishment of businesses and amenities. However, the low quality of ore and the cessation of mining operations led to its decline and eventual desertion.

There is a Pactolus town in Pitt County, North Carolina, named after the ancient river in Asia Minor. I was thinking that the naming could be the same but after a quick search in historical documents, I found that it is also a surname and there were families in Nevada with this surname. 

The original discoveries were made at the camp of Pactolus in about 1903 and were active until 1907 intermittently thereafter.

In 1912, discoveries made about 5 miles to the southwest resulted in the development of the camp of Athens.

Both areas are included within the present Athens district, although Pactolus is sometimes considered to be a separate district.

Timeline

  • July 19, 1902 – The new camp has been christened the “Pactolus” by the owners, which classical appelation has been parodied into “Pack-mule-us” by some of the uncultured later arrivals in the camp. The prospect of the Pactolus group making a great mine is very good, and while it is close to the county line, it is (ar enough within the borders o( Nye county to make it a difficult matter for our Esmeralda county friends to appropriate it. The owners are all deserving citizens of Tonopah and are to be congratulated on their good fortune. [Tonopah Bonanza
    Butler, Nevada • 19 Jul 1902, Sat • Page 5]
  • August 9, 1902 – Pactolus district has been duly organized, with Gurley Jones as recorder. [Tonopah Daily Bonanza · August 9, 1902, Wed · Page 4]
  • August 23, 1902 – Pactolus. Our latest information from the new-found mineral district of Pactolus comes from P. Blume, who after a visit of inspection says that there is no question about the very favorable appearance of rich ore showing. Mr. Allen has taken charge of company operations there. Mr. Mau has returned to the mines from a business trip to San Francisco, and upon his return to Tonopah, further particulars will be given. [Tonopah Daily Bonanza · August 23, 1902, Wed · Page 5]
  • September 27, 1902 – Pactolus Investors. Louis K. Mau, one of the original locators of the Pactolus group of’ mines, situated about thirty-five miles from Luning, Esmeralda county, is in Carson He is en route to the mines from San Francisco and is preceding a number of California capitalists, who will shortly go to Luning with a view to purchasing the property. [Tonopah Bonanza – Butler, Nevada -27 Sep 1902, Sat • Page 3]
  • 1909: Ore discovery by Martinez, Stott, and Herald.
  • July 1910: Athens is founded, merging Juniper Springs and Warner camps.
  • 1912: Discovery of the Warrior mine leads to a town revival.
  • January 17, 1912 – Harry McNamara left this morning for Athens, where he is developing mining property. [Tonopah Daily Bonanza · 17 Jan 1912, Wed · Page 4]
  • June 17, 1912 – Harry McNamara – Location notice. Athens mining district. [Tonopah Daily Bonanza · 17 Jun 1912, Wed · Page 4]
  • 1913: Construction of an amalgamation mill.
  • 1921: Aladdin Divide Mining Company uncovers new deposits.
  • 1931: Warrior mine is reopened by J.J. McNeil.
  • 1939: Mining ceases, marking the end of Athens as an inhabited site.

Mines

Gold and silver.

  • Montgomery Shoshone Mine: Significant gold and silver producer.
  • Snowball
  • Warrior Gold Mine: Principal mine in Athens, discovered in 1912.

Railroads

Unknown at this time.

Post Office

Pactolus Post Office

August 27, 1904 – December 13, 1904 (Rescinded)

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices.

Newspaper

Unknown at this time.

The Population of Athens Nevada

Peaked at several hundred during its prime.

Elevation

6,160 feet (1,880 meters)

Location

This district is located in the southern Pactolus Hills and extends from the Pactolus Hills south to the Nye-Mineral county line.

In the document Spirit Leveling in Nevada, 1897 to 1916, Inclusive, I found the following references:

  • Pactolus, 0.4 miles north of, forks at signboard reading ” Sodaville 35 miles,” 30 feet east of junction; iron post stamped “5796 3907 ” 5,788. 990
  • Pactolus, 5.7 miles southeast of, 25 feet west of road; iron post stamped “5930 1907” 5, 923. 324
  • The mining claims in the Pactolus project are located on the west slope of the Pactolus Hills, about twenty miles south east of Gabbs, Nye County, Nevada.

GPS Coordinates

38.669147955001996, -117.80233291356227

When I looked it up in the USGS system, it gave the coordinates for Goldyke but they are miles away from each other so used the coordinates that Google provided for now.] I could not find newspaper articles with the name Pactolis but found LOTS with the name Pactolus spelling.

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Photos and Videos

None at this time.

Today, Athens stands as a ghost town, its ruins and the foundation of a mill the only tangible reminders of its once bustling life. For those drawn to the stories of Nevada’s mining past, Athens offers a poignant reflection of the dreams and disappointments that characterized so many of the state’s early 20th-century mining ventures.

References Used

  • United States Geological Survey – Pactolus Nevada
  • Spirit Leveling in Nevada, 1897 to 1916, Inclusive
  • Gannett, Henry, (1905), The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States (Second Edition)
  • Lincoln, Francis Church (1964), Outline of Nevada Mining History, Report 7

Athens Nevada