Take it easy

38° 35.84'N, 116° 52.63'W   USGS Belmont West Quad

VISITED October 15, 2005. Our Dinner: Ribeyes at Cold Springs telegraph station!
DIRECTIONS East from Fallon on US-50 for 122.2 miles; then turn south on SR-376 for 63.1 mi; then turn East onto SR-377 for 15.5 miles; turn North onto SR-82 for 8.3 mi. From Fallon: 209 miles

Belmont is as close at they could come to "beaumont" which is French for "beautiful mountain." An unknown native American found some silver here and by the fall of 1865 a prospector had filed a claim, and that was all she wrote. By 1867, there were close to 2,000 people living here. Farmers also came, eager to supply hungry miners, and many ranches were established in the Monitor Valley, which is rife with springs. The Nevada Division of State Parks says:

Merchants who came to Belmont had their stock shipped from San Francisco and Sacramento to Austin, the nearest town, 90 hard miles away.   Prices for goods were not high considering the remoteness and the freight rates of the time.   Fast freight from Austin was 4 1/2 cents per pound and slow freight was 3 cents per pound.   Lumber sold for $140.00 per 1,000 board feet.    Hay was $75.00 a ton, while eggs sold for $1.25 per dozen and tea was $1.50 per pound.

Applying the old inflation calculator, fast freight was $0.57 a pound; lumber $1764.45 per 1,000 board feet; hay was $945.24 per ton; and eggs were $15.75 a dozen, just to give you some perspective.

Ione lost the county seat to Belmont in that same year, much to their consternation, and to rub it in, Belmontians built a fine new two-story courthouse, with bricks made on site, which was finally completed in 1876 at a cost of $22,000 dollars (a mere $369,827.00 2005 dollars) Naturally, the town was fizzling out by then. The county seat was moved to Tonopah in 1905, and the Post Office skeedaddled in 1911. Even though a new mill was built in 1914, luring a post office back for a seven year stay, Belmont slipped into obscurity, after a twenty year run with over $15 million dollars worth of ore produced.

POST OFFICE April 1867 - May 1911, September 1915 - August 1922
NEWSPAPER Silver Bend Reporter, Mountain Champion, Belmont Courier

[clang] Bring out your dead!
CUSTOMER: Here's one -- nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing -- here's your nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here -- he says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
MORTICIAN: He isn't.
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that -- it's against regulations.

            -Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975)

Not unlike the recalcitrant dead man in the movie, Belmont isn't quite dead yet. In 1974 Nye County gave the courthouse to the State- who as you know has plenty of cash for these kinds of things- to maintain and turn into a State Park. There are a handful of people living in Belmont year 'round, and more who stay over the summer to enjoy the 7400' altitude. The town is a mixture of crumbling old buildings, restored structures, and new houses with the latest in solar and wind technologies. The B&B is in the former offices of the Combination Silver Mining Company; the building was also used as a stage stop in the 1880's.

The nice thing about Belmont is that you can get there easily without scraping the barnacles off the bottom of your car- it's paved much of the way, and the short hop from Manhattan to Belmont is smooth, graded dirt road that is used frequently. Or, as frequently as you would expect a road to be used way out here.

While most if not all of the historical buildings are on private property, you can carefully nose around and see quite a bit. A new church was donated and built to replace the old one that was moved to Manhattan in the early 1900's. This is one "ghost town" where you can bring the kids, stay overnight at the Belmont Inn, and and then drive back home the next day. You'll want to, because it's in the middle of nowhere. On second thought, I suppose Belmontians might dispute that description. Anyway, the big historical attraction here is, of course, the courthouse; however, you can only look at the outside and viewings are limited. Call the Fallon Regional H.Q. of the Division of State Parks at (775) 867-3001 for more information.

Be sure to visit the cemetery- it's in one of the most picturesque settings in Nevada. In fact, the entire town is one of the most picturesque settings in Nevada. There is also what appears to be an Indian cemetery north of town, but it's run down and neglected.

Photographs | Return to Previous Document | HOME