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Keystone Nevada (Nye County)

Keystone, a modest camp rather than a bustling town, lies in the heart of Nevada’s mining history. Beginning in 1868 as a company town for the Old Dominion Mining Company, Keystone’s journey through the years reflects the tenacity and fluctuating fortunes of mining ventures in the American West.

Keystone Nevada

Keystone Nevada Overview

Keystone’s existence, predominantly under the Old Dominion Mining Company, was marked by periods of excitement and lulls. Initially a silver ore camp, it saw various phases of operation and abandonment, with its population and infrastructure reflecting the transient nature of mining economics.

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

Year Established/Founded

The camp of Keystone was established in 1868, primarily to support the Old Dominion Mining Company’s mining activities.

Keystone Nevada History

Keystone’s beginnings were modest, supported by a population of fifty and amenities like saloons. However, after an initial burst of activity, the camp quieted down for two decades. A silver strike in 1910 breathed new life into the camp, leading to intermittent operations up until as recently as 1990. Keystone’s landscape today is marked by old stone buildings and ruins, offering a tangible connection to its past.

Keystone’s story is one of repeated attempts to capitalize on the silver riches of Nevada. After its inception, the camp experienced a significant dip in activity, with the Keystone mine operating sporadically. The early 20th century saw a resurgence, thanks to a rich silver discovery, and mining operations continued sporadically over the next several decades. Various mining companies tried their luck in Keystone, from the Hot Creek Development Company in the 1910s to Nevada Goldfields, Inc., in 1990. Despite these efforts, Keystone never fully transformed from a camp into a thriving town, always remaining at the mercy of fluctuating mining fortunes.

Timeline

  • 1868: Keystone established as a company camp.
  • 1881: The Florence or Rattlesnake District was formed, briefly renewing interest.
  • 1910: Rich silver discovery leads to renewed mining activity.
  • 1912 – 1927: Keystone Post Office operates, marking a period of relative stability.
  • 1926: Operations by the MacNamara Mining & Milling Company commence.
  • 1930s: Periods of vacancy interspersed with mining activities.
  • Late 1970s – Early 1980s: Cyanide leaching operations on old tailings.
  • 1990: The last known mining operation by Nevada Goldfields, Inc.

Mines

The Keystone mine was the central focus of the camp, primarily extracting silver. Its operations were inconsistent, reflecting the broader trends in the mining industry.

Railroads

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Post Office

Operated intermittently, reflecting the camp’s fluctuating fortunes: Jan. 26, 1912 – Mar. 12, 1927.

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices.

Newspaper

Learn more about Nevada Newspapers

The Population of Keystone Nevada

Initially home to about fifty residents, Keystone’s population ebbed and flowed with the camp’s mining prospects.

Elevation

Location

  • Keystone is located in Nye County, distinct from the Keystone in White Pine County.
  • County: Nye County.

GPS Coordinates

38.445226°, -116.383799°.

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Photos and Videos

Today, Keystone offers a glimpse into Nevada’s mining past through its surviving stone buildings and extensive ruins. Fresh spring water is still available at the site, a reminder of the camp’s once-vital role in the region’s mining landscape.

Keystone’s story, spanning over a century, is emblematic of the many mining camps that dotted Nevada. Its persistence, despite numerous challenges and closures, offers a compelling chapter in the state’s rich mining history. For enthusiasts and historians, Keystone stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of mining communities in the American West.

References Used

Click here to view our list of History of the Southwest – Books and Online Resources to learn more about our amazing area!