|American Flat (American City, Comstock)|
39.27025° N, 119.66267° W USGS Virginia City NV Quad
|VISITED||Can't remember exactly- 2009 sometime|
|DIRECTIONS||Take US 50 west from Fallon for 44.2 miles; continue north on Six Mile Canyon Rd. for 8 miles; turn left and head south 2.5 miles; head generally SW on Sky Lane and local roads for about 1.2 miles. From Fallon: 56.1 miles|
Activity on American Flat was happening before the Civil War ended. Growth was such that it thought it could become the capital of Nevada-- if the right people were gifted some cash, that is..
American City. This embryo city lies to the south of Gold Hill, about a mile and a half, and contains, perhaps, a thousand acres
of land, in a slightly undulating plateau, with high hills surrounding it, and is well calculated by its natural advantages for the
largest city in Storey county, which we honestly believe will be its destiny within the next five years. We will enumerate a few
of what will be the advantages of the new town : First, nature has supplied a number of large springs which bubble from the sides
of the mountain on the west, which will afford pure and wholesome water in abundance, conducted in pipes to the top of the
highest five story building which may be built in the place, either for culinary or sanitary purposes, or to protect the place from
injury bv fire-- besides which the supply will be amply sufficient to afford irrigation for gardens, and fruit and ornamental trees
about family residences. Second, there is no locality that could possibly be more healthy. Third, it is situated near mines that are be
coming developed, which are likely to prove as rich as any that have been discovered at Virginia or Gold Hill -- for it is pretty generally conceded, by practical miners, who are supposed to know what they say, that what is known in Virginia as the Comstock ledge, extends along the north and west side of American City. As an evidence of what is going on in the neighborhood, we believe we are within the bounds of truth when we
It is almost surprising to the the improvements that are being made between Gold Hill and American Flat, and also on the Flat. Around the Uncle Sam works there is a little town of itself, having the necessary appendages to make it so, viz: groceries and groggeries. Arund the mouths of the Mary Ann and Overman Companie's tunnels is another group of dwellings which is almost deserving of the name of town, and on beyond furhter, on American Flat, is situated American City. These places have all grown since last summer, and they predict the future of at least a respectable-sized city.
-Gold Hill Daily News, Marc 12, 1864
But if you're going to pay a guy, make it gold or silver coin, all right?
When a man employs another in this section of Uncle Sam's country, the usage of the neighborhood is, that he is expected to pay for honest labor in the currency which is in circulation. To pay in a depreciated currency is good evidence of a mans dishonesty. I hhave recently been in the employ or HORACE G. WHITE, of American Flat, and fulfilled by portion of the contract which I made with him; but when I wanted my wages he refused to pay me, like other empoyers do, and has managed to liquidate an honest debt by paying it in GREENABCKS. As he has served me in this manner, I hereby warn the public, lest he serve others in the same wa. P.J. Flanedy. [Greenbacks were emergency paper currency issued by the United States during the American Civil War that were printed in green on the back. They were in two forms: Demand Notes, issued in 1861–1862, and United States Notes, issued in 1862–1865. A form of fiat money, the notes were legal tender for most purposes and carried varying promises of eventual payment in coin, but were not backed by existing gold or silver reserves. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenback_(1860s_money)]
_Gold Hill Daily News, June 9, 1864
American City never got to be the capital of Nevada, and didn't last long enough to even have a post office for more than a few years. By 1867 it had been abandoned. It wasn't until 1920 that the United Comstock Mining Company constructed a concrete cyannide mill and the small town of Comstock formed below the mill, including a post office,store, houses, and other buildings. Becuase of the low price of silver, operations terminated in 1926 and all the equipment was sold.
The transformation taking place in Gold Hill through the operations of the United Comatock Mines Company prepatory to the big milling project is along permanenet and substantial lines, and it is daily becoming more impressivly apparent that the company is laying foundations for an enterprise of immense proportions. All structural work is being installed for long and ardouse service and al equipent and facilities are the last word in mining efficiency and milling practice.
BIG PLANT WILL CLOSE
"The United Comstock Merger Mill site is located on public lands at American Flat, Storey County, Nevada. The mill was built in 1922 to process local gold and silver ore utilizing cyanide vat leaching in what was then described as the largest concrete mill in the United States, which makes it historically significant. Since abandonment in 1924, this seven acre mill site has traditionally been used by high school students and other locals as a meeting place to hold parties, post graffiti, conduct paintball wars, etc., despite physical safety hazards from falling concrete, underground mill sumps filled with water, and holes in the concrete flooring.
The BLM issued a Federal Register Notice and closed the historic mill buildings to public entry in 1997 in response to a fatality at the site. Regardless of the closure and repeated efforts by the BLM to fence, gate and post the site with warning signs, the property still receives visitors in trespass. According to the Storey County Sheriff’s Department, emergency vehicles respond to at least six serious injuries on the property every year, mostly from visitors climbing on and falling from the mill buildings which are as much as eighty feet in height."
-USBLMA flow chart of the milling process can be found here, courtesy of the BLM.
|POST OFFICE||March 6, 1866 - February 3, 1868
January 9, 1923 - February 15, 1927 (As Comstock)
American Flat is an impressive historical site, both in size and in the amount of graffiti. There are ample and spectacular ways to kill yourself here, and many have tried. According to the Nevada Appeal, someone was even killed trying to ride his ATV on the stairs. Any normal person would realize the age and condition of the place and take necessary precautions, but because of a few nutcases- and the fact that the location has been used for alcohol-fueled get-togethers for many years, accidents are bound to happen if you do something stupid.