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Ophir Nevada

Ophir, Nevada, also known as Twin River or Toiyabe City, is a haunting reminder of the Silver State’s vibrant mining past. Established in the mid-19th century amidst a silver rush, Ophir’s history is a tapestry of rapid growth, prosperity, and eventual decline, leaving behind a ghost town with echoes of its former glory.

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Ophir Nevada

Ophir Nevada Overview

Ophir’s journey from a bustling mining hub to a ghost town traces the trajectory of many such settlements in Nevada. Silver discoveries in the 1860s led to a flurry of activity, with the establishment of the Murphy Mine and a 20-stamp mill. Despite periods of revival and significant silver production, challenges like labor disputes and the high cost of ore extraction led to Ophir’s eventual desertion.

Silver ore was discovered in Ophir Canyon in 1863 by a French prospector, S. Boulerond. This led to the establishment of the Twin River Mining Company and the rapid growth of the town. Despite initial prosperity, the hardness of the rock and high operation costs led to the company’s bankruptcy by 1868. Subsequent revivals in the 1880s and early 20th century failed to restore Ophir’s former success, leading to its decline

Year Established/Founded

Ophir was founded in 1863.

Timeline

  • 1863: Silver discovered in Ophir Canyon.
  • 1864: John Murphy makes additional discoveries; Ophir City rapidly grows.
  • 1865: Construction of a 20-stamp mill.
  • 1869: Bankruptcy of the original mining company.
  • 1870s: Decline of mining activities; the town becomes almost deserted.
  • 1880s: Brief revival of mining activities.
  • 1890s: Ophir becomes deserted; sporadic mining activities continue.
  • 1917: New mining attempts by the Nevada Ophir Mining Company.
  • 1925: Final closure of mining operations.

Mines

The Murphy Mine was the principal mine in Ophir, known for its rich silver veins.

Category

Mining

Marker Type

Blue marker

Nevada Historical Marker Number

Ophir Nevada is Nevada Historical Marker #64.

Click here to view the complete list of Nevada State Historical Markers.

County

Nye County, Nevada

GPS Coordinates

38.938781, -117.197451

Nevada Historical Marker Transcription

Well up into the canyon above, the massive stone foundations of a costly and splendid stamp mill as well as the stone walls of an elegant office and mansion are visible.  This is the site of Ophir, now a ghost town.

In 1863, S. Boulerond discovered ore at Ophir.  In 1864, the Murphy Mine opened and became the leading local producer.  In 1865, a 20-stamp mill was completed costing over $200,000.  This included the first experimental Stetefeldt furnace ever built.  When the Murphy Mill was built, the town of Toiyabe City was established, growing to a population of 400.  Through poor management, the work in the mines declined in 1869.  Ophir was almost deserted.  In the 1880s, the mines were reactivated, and Ophir had another period of prosperity.  By the 1890s, the town was deserted but some mining activity at the Murphy Mine continued sporadically into the 20th century.

More than $3,000,000 worth of gold and silver were mined from the Murphy vein and from surrounding properties.  Iron, copper and arsenic were also found in the area.

Ophir managed to have all the accouterments of a large community, including a school, a church, various lodges, and, of course, several saloons.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER NO.  64

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

CENTRAL NEVADA REDEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION

References Used

Ophir Nevada