MCGILL

NAME: McGill
COUNTY: White Pine
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 1
CLIMATE: Mild spring and summer,cold,cold in winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Late spring through early fall

COMMENTS: Semi-ghost
REMAINS: Many original buildings

Update:Population is approx 1000, the Kinnear Mansion is occupied and restoration is almost complete, every home on the Charmed Circle is occupied. The Clubhouse, which some how every ghost town site fails to mention, is occupied and being restored, see www.mcgillclubhouse.com.  I live in McGill, see it every day.

Kristin

In 1910 the town was far removed in character and a far cry from the boisterous, rip-roaring, gun-toting camp of Goldfield. McGill was a company town of the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company located on U.S. Highway 93 north of Ely. It was young and progressive, with one dusty main business street with raised wooden sidewalks. The town was sectioned off. The elite lived in what was referred to as the “Charmed Circle.” This was the only section with houses with bathrooms. Other sections were the Upper Town, Middle town, Greek Town, Austrian Town, and Jap Town. Single people lived in tarpaper cabins in Lower Town. The general manager of the company lived in a two-story home in Charmed Circle that became one of the most attractive homes in Nevada. Tall black wrought-iron gates mark the entranceway leading up broad steps to a porch supported by red brick pillars. The home even provided rooms for servants. But now the house stands silent, neglected, unoccupied, and represents fond memories of the elegant life in the “Charmed Circle” of a western mining camp.

McGill was another town that grew from a ranching community and from that became the smelting center for White Pine County. The ranch was first established in 1872 and soon had extensive grain fields. Neil McGill and his partner, William Lyons, purchased the ranch in 1886 and soon the ranch was one of the most prosperous in the county. A post office opened in 1891. Five years later, William McGill formed a partnership with Jewett Adams, a former Nevada governor. The partnership created one of the largest sheep and cattle empires in Nevada. The Adams-McGill Corporation continued for many years, but tragedy struck on June 18, 1920 when Adams died in San Francisco. McGill continued to run the corporation until his death in April 1923. The empire deteriorated rapidly without McGill’s guidance, and in 1930 the corporation was liquidated. While the McGill-Adams partnership was important to the town’s development, the real force was the McGill smelter. Built in 1908, the $10 million smelter was a joint venture of Cumberland and Ely and the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company. By 1909, McGill employed 2,200 men. The Steptoe Valley smelting and Mining Company, operator of the smelter, built large and modern facilities for its employees and to serve as the official company headquarters. The company also opened several businesses, and McGill became a company town. McGill’s population peaked at around 3,000 during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The population declined after the Depression, and by the time the smelter closed in the late 1970s only about 1,000 residents were left. Today, the plant has been dismantled. The tall smokestack was taken down in 1993. The town now retains about 250 residents. Interesting buildings exist and a visit is well worth the time.

Melvin

The Nevada Northern Railroad was the reason for Melvin. John Melvin operated a small ranch at Monte Vista Hot Springs in early 1907. The railroad created a siding for delivery of supplies to the mining camp at Ruby Hill. The siding was alongside Melvin’s ranch. There was never a town since Melvin didn’t expand beyond the small ranch stage. Today, Melvin is one of many active ranches in Steptoe Valley.

Menken

Menken, or Sunnyside, was one of many small satellite camps that sprang up during the Hamilton boom. It was January 1869 when the Mazippa Mine was discovered and a rush developed, bringing 300 people to the area. A third of them stayed and a townsite was laid out in early February. In August the mine was producing ore valued a $1,000 per ton. By fall, the strike had played out and the camp was abandoned by the first snow. Only mine dumps mark the site.

 

 

Mineral City

A small rush developed in 1867 to the area that was to become Mineral City. Silver-bearing ore had been discovered and by 1870 more than 250 people were living in the district. By the end of 1870, Mineral City had become the milling center for most of the surrounding districts. Mineral City reached its peak in 1872-73 with close to 600 residents. The town’s businesses included six saloons, four boardinghouses, and several mercantile stores. Toward the end of 1973, sagging ore prices brought Mineral City’s rapid growth to a grinding halt. The population dropped to 200 and by 1880 all the mines were idle. Because the nearby mines at Kimberly and Ruth have been active through the years, a number of people have continued to live in Mineral City. Wood and rock buildings including the school remain.

Submitted by: Henry Chenoweth


McGill Clubhouse 1915
Courtesy Kristin K

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