Skip to Content

Phonolite Nevada

Phonolite, also known as Bruner, is a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada, embodying the fluctuating fortunes of mining in the early 20th century. With its rich mining history, encompassing several nearby sites like Duluth, Peerless, and Penelas, Phonolite offers a fascinating glimpse into Nevada’s past.

Phonolite Nevada

Bruner Nevada Overview

Phonolite, peaking at around 30 residents, was one of several small mining camps in the area. Despite its size, it was part of a bustling mining district that included Duluth and Penelas, with the latter being the most significant producer.

Bruner was a mining district is in Nye County, Nevada.

Also known as Phonolite, Phonolite Mining District, Duluth, and Duluth Mining District.

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

Year Established/Founded

The area saw initial development in 1906, with significant growth in subsequent years.

Bruner Nevada History

Named for the promoter, Bill Bruner, who later became a postmaster of Bruner, Nevada.

Phonolite was named after a volcanic rock common to the district, with Duluth being named after the Michigan city. The camp saw various phases of activity, from individual mine development to larger corporate mining operations.

I found a document on NBMG Digital Library that states Mining began in 1906 with recorded production from 1936 to 1940 of $898,629.

From the book Mineral Resources of Nye County, Nevada, Victor E. Kral:

Butterfield Marsh is often regarded as a separate mining dis­trict; however, it is here included with the Currant district due to its proximity. Lincoln’s description of the area summarizes it well. He states, “Railroad Valley is a typical desert basin extending for 100 miles in a north-south direction and having a width of from 10 to 20 miles. Its drainage area is about 6,000 square miles and the flat central portion has an area of 200 square miles. Butterfield Marsh is in the lowest portion of the valley and bas an. area of 40 square miles. The valley was formerly occupied by a lake whose level was from 50 to 300 feet above that are in the steepest part of the area just below cliffs that/termin­ate a\ an altitude of 6,400 feet.


  • 1906-1915: Development of individual mines.
  • 1915-1925: Larger mining corporations purchase and develop the area.
  • 1926-1942: Major period of mining activity.
  • 1948-1949: Some mining activities by lessors.


Gold and silver.


  1. Penelas Mine: The most significant producer in the area, with a recorded production of $898,629 from 1936 to 1940.
  2. Paymaster Claim: Known for its ore occurrences along a rhyolite-andesite contact, though it had little recorded production.
  3. Broken Hills: Contributed ore to the local mills.


No direct reference to railroads impacting Phonolite, but railroads were crucial in mining towns for transportation of ore and supplies.

Post Office

The post office in Bruner, Nevada was open from 1910 to 1920, and below are the postmasters that we are aware of. 

  1. Henry W Bruner October 17, 1910 
  2. Henry W Bruner December 18, 1915 
  3. Henry W Bruner December 28, 1915 
  • Phonolite: Jan 26, 1907 – Jul 23, 1909.
  • Duluth: Apr 27, 1907 – Dec 14, 1907.
  • Bruner: Oct 17, 1910- Jan 31, 1912 and Dec 29, 1915 – Jun 15, 1920.

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices.


The Duluth Tribune was the known newspaper in the area.

Learn more about Nevada Newspapers

The Population of Bruner Nevada

At its peak, Phonolite (Bruner) had about 30 residents, while Penelas had around 50 workers.




From Tingley: This district is located in the northern end of the Paradise Range, a short distance south of Burnt Cabin Summit. The district includes the mining camps of Bruner, Phonolite, and Duluth.

Another reference states gold-silver district at N end of Paradise Range, 45 mi SW of Austin.

And another reference In the northwestern corner of the county, in T. 14 N., R. 37 E., about 14 miles northwest of Ione. In low hills at elevation about 6,500, where Ione Valley breaks over into the lower Lodi Valley.

GPS Coordinates

39° 05′ N, 117° 48′  W

Click here to view our recommended mobile apps for the outdoor explorer and what to take on your next road trip.

Speaking of mobile apps, two of my favorite mobile apps for exploring the southwest are two different mapping apps one that builds your schedule and the other helps me look to see if my rural destination is taking me to private or public lands. Highly recommend both!

  1. Roadtrippers Plus is $29.99 per year paid version that allows you to build longer itineraries, share your plans with friends, and use the app without ads. Click here to save $5 on your subscription to Roadtrippers.
  2. onX – click here to learn more about onX GPS Map App for Backcountry, Offroad, and Hunting.

Photos and Videos

None at this time.

Phonolite now is a collection of sparse ruins, including remnants of the Penelas Mine and mill site, the Paymaster Mine, and scattered debris from the town. The area, rich in Nevada’s desert beauty, offers a glimpse into the once-thriving mining community.

References Used

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

Bruner Nevada