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Gabbs Nevada

Nestled in Nye County, Nevada, Gabbs is a small yet historically rich town with a colorful past. Originating as a company town for Basic Magnesium, Inc., it has evolved through various economic and demographic changes, reflecting a unique slice of American history.

Gabbs Nevada

Gabbs Nevada Overview

Gabbs in Nye County, Nevada, serves as a fascinating example of a town deeply influenced by its natural resources and wartime industrial demands. Established around the mining industry, particularly magnesium, the town’s history is intertwined with the ebbs and flows of mining fortunes, evolving from a bustling war-time production center to a semi-ghost town with a resilient community spirit.

The town’s motto is “High Up We Go, The Town of Gabbs Show” and the town’s nickname is “The Little-Big Northwest.” At this time we do not have the history of either origin.

Click here to view Ghost Towns in Nevada.

Did you know that Gabbs, Nevada is home to the largest tarantula migration?

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

Discovered 1876 and Gabbs was officially founded in December 1941, although its roots trace back to earlier mining activities in the area.

Gabbs Nevada History

Gabbs’ origins lie in the mining camp named Brucite, named after a locally occurring magnesium oxide. The town adopted the name of the surrounding Gabbs Valley, named in honor of William Gabb, a paleontologist who studied fossils in the area. The town’s growth was significantly boosted during World War II due to the demand for magnesium, leading to rapid development and incorporation in 1955.


The area was rich in magnesite, brucite, iron, silver, lead, zinc, tungsten, and copper.


  • 1876: Mining district established.
  • 1926: Discovery of tungsten.
  • December 1941: Establishment of Gabbs as a town.
  • 1942: Establishment of police, jail, and school district.
  • June 1943: Gabbs becomes a township with 426 residents.
  • September 1944: Original magnesium plant closes after meeting war-time production targets.
  • March 29, 1955: Gabbs is incorporated.
  • 1955: Population revival with the opening of a new plant by Basic Refractories, Inc.
  • 1960: Population peaks at 796.
  • 1982: BRI lays off half of its workforce, leading to population decline.
  • 2001: Gabbs loses its incorporated status.


Unknown at this time

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Post Office

1943 – Current

The post office in Gabbs, Nevada was open from 1943 to the current day, and below are the postmasters that we are aware of. 

  1. Mrs Gladys P McMichael December 31, 1942 
  2. Mrs Gladys P McMichael March 29, 1944 
  3. Mrs Thelma R Studer June 30, 1945 
  4. Mrs Thelma R Studer March 16, 1949 
  5. Mrs Thelma Klinkner December 23, 1956 
  6. Mrs Myra A Denius August 19, 1963 
  7. Mrs Myra A Denius May 26, 1964 Gabbs
  8. Mrs Frances H Chiatonick June 26, 1971 

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices and Nye County, Nevada Postmasters.


  1. Gabbs Gabb June 14, 1943 – August 25, 1944
  2. Gabbs Valley Enterprise 1974 – April 6, 1976

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The population of Gabbs Nevada

The 2010 census recorded 269 residents, which declined to 186 by 2020.

Area Size

  • Land 1.50 sq mi (3.88 km2)
  • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
  • Total 1.50 sq mi (3.89 km2)


From Tingley:

The Gabbs district covers the western portion of the Paradise Range and extends from Downieville, north of the present town of Gabbs, to the Cottonwood Canyon area on the south, and from the western front of the range near the town of Gabbs east to include the area of Craig Station in the eastern part of the range.

The historic Mammoth district included the area of the present Gabbs district along with the Ellsworth district to the northeast.

The Central district was, according to the Territorial Enterprise, located 10 miles south of Downieville.

The Cottonwood or Centers district described by Danner (1992) is located in Cottonwood Canyon, east of the town of South Gabbs.

The Gabbs district now includes the area of the town of Gabbs and most of central part of Paradise Range as well.

Gabbs Nevada

GPS Coordinates

38°51′59″N 117°55′32″W

How to Get to Gabbs Nevada

  • Austin – 95 miles / 1 26 minutes via US-50 and NV-361 S
  • Fallon – 79 miles / 1 hour 11 minutes via US-50 E and NV-361 S
  • Hawthorne – 55 miles – 52 minutes
  • Las Vegas – 321 miles – 5 hours
  • Manhattan – 78 miles – 2 hours
  • Tonopah – 110 miles – 1 hour 42 minutes vis US-95 and NV-361 N

Things to Do Nearby Gabbs, Nevada

There are not a lot of things to do in the town of Gabbs, Nevada other than exploring wilderness and mines so it’s a good stopping point on your way to explore other areas such as these points of interest:

  • Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park – 21 miles – 29 minutes via NV-844 W
  • Diana’s Punch Bowl – 167 miles / 3 hours and 20 minutes
  • Fort Churchill State Park – 114 miles / 1 hour 52 minutes
  • Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area – 120 miles / 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Humboldt Wildlife Management – 144 miles / 2 hours 29 minutes
  • Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark – 194 miles / 3 hours 4 minutes
  • Railroad Valley Wildlife Management Area – 207 miles / 3 hours 13 minutes
  • Rye Patch State Recreation Area – 159 miles / 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Sand Mountain Recreation Area – 54 miles / 52 minutes
  • Walker Lake Recreation Area – 69 miles / 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Warm Springs Ghost Town – 160 miles / 2 hours 27 minutes

Adjacent Counties

If you are exploring Nye County, be sure to check out the surrounding counties to help you find information to plan your next adventure!

Today, Gabbs stands as a testament to the fluctuating fortunes of mining towns, retaining its unique charm and a small, resilient community. Its historical significance and the legacy of its mining past continue to attract interest and curiosity.

References Used

Gabbs Nevada