Boom-town rebirth – Shermantown, Nevada

Boom-town rebirth – Shermantown, Nevada – Focus: Partners for the Land

Fred P. Frampton

Picture this. An early western town with saloons, hotels, restaurants, banks, billiard halls, stores, an ice-cream parlor, lodges for Oddfellows and Masons, a school, lumbermill, breweries, two rival newspapers, and a Chinese community on the outskirts of town. Got the picture? Now add in four silver mills.

That’s the description of Shermantown, site of one of the richest deposits of silver ore in North America. One of many silver boom towns in Nevada, Shermantown sprang up in 1868 and was abandoned only three years later.

In one of the shortest-lived but most intensive mining booms in U.S. history, nearly half the population of Nevada lived within a five-mile radius of what is now part of the Humboldt National Forest.

To ensure that this segment of history was not lost, excavation and documentation through archival studies were needed. Good press coverage sparked public interest. Students, private citizens, Forest Service employees, and the anthropology department of the Reno branch of the University of Nevada joined in.

Plans are to develop the ruins into an interpretive area for the public, with signs, brochures, sightseeing roads, and trails for mountain bikes.

COPYRIGHT 1990 American Forests

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group