4WD or high clearance desired

38.028214° -117.884835°

VISITED January 20, 2022
DIRECTIONS From Mina, head south on US 95 for 29.7 miles.

In brief:

COALDALE (gasoline) is at the western junction with US 6, which is united with US 95 between this point and a junction near Tonopah. Highly colored mountains turn fiery at the end of day. The station was so named because of deposits of low grade coal in this area, discovered by William Groezinger, who mined 150 tons which he sold to the Columbia Borax works in 1894. The coal was mined again in 1911-12. Some turquoise were discovered in the district in 1909, and agate and chalcedony in 1910. ABout 1938 many placer claims were located, the land in the vicinity was taken up, and high hopes were held of extracting gold and quicksilver from the mud flats. For a time after mining experts had visited the discoveries it was believed there would be another boom, but little activity followed.
-NEVADA - A Guide To The Silver State
-Compiled by workers of the Writer's Program of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Nevada 1940, 1957

Because of the discovery of coal nearby, it was determined that this would be an excellent place to have a train station. Dr. Frances E. Williams attempted to gain control of the coal and a few other things, and even went so far as to submit a plat of nicely laid out streets for Coaldale. The Tonopah Bonanza was having none of it, referring to her plans in her prospectus as "frenzied finance" and commenting;

This lying document goes on to say that, "the affiliated corporations have acquired large tracts of land adjacent to the coal fields. The land is fertile, and will produce any vegetable or fruit that grows. Pure water is present in abundance. To every investor we will present, free, a quarter acre of the land, upon which he can grow all sorts of vegetables and fruit needed for home consumption. He can live in a tent until his cabin is erected, and we will help him build a permanent home." This land is desert; it may be fertile with irrigation. If there is water there this woman has no right or title to it and can no get it. Any fool can take up land there without taking stock in this flim flam company."
-Tonopa Bonanza, August 27, 1904

Needless to say, no streets were laid out, no parks built, and whatever coal that was there was no present in enough quantities to warrant serious effort, although it was mined and shipped for a while. Dr. Williams threatened to sue the paper, and the paper said, "Bring it!"

Dr. Frances E. Williams has left for Coaldale taking with her a whim [a windlass for raising ore or water from a mine] and all necessary supplies to begin operations on the coal properties owned by the Affiliated Corporations at that place. The whim was formerly used on the Red Rock and was this week purchased by Dr. Williams from John McKane. The Doctor also took out a large number of posts to be used for staking the Coaldale townsite.
-Reno Evening Gazette, September 7, 1904

And then:

Dr. Frances E. Williams, the woman promoter, who made such a failure of the Coaldale proposition, and who was arrested at Goldfield last week for threats against life and assault with a deadly weapon upon Attorney H.B. Lind, has been bound over to a grand jury.
Tonopah Bonanza, January 7, 1905

Still, the railroad came.

By tonight the track will be within two and half miles of Coal Wells and sixteen and a half miles out from Rhodes. The new station at the well will be established on the 15th and from that date passengers and freight will be transferred there from stage to train and vice versa. The name of Coaldale has been given to the station.
Tonopah Bonanza, April 9, 1904

Road Opened for Freight and Passengers to Coaldale Yesterday
Beginning with Monday, APril 17, 1904, and until further notice, the Tonopah Railroad company will have their line open for both freight and passenger business between Sodaville, Nevada, and Coaldale, Nevada, a distance of twenty-five miles.
-The Daily Appeal, April 19. 1904

Despite the excitement over coal being found here in the very early 1900's, not much ever came of the discovery. They thought they had oil in the Fish Lake valley, too.

Anthracite Mine at Coaldale Has 42 Inches of Excellent Coal at depth of 208 Feet.
H.C. Petty, a pioneer mining man in this district, was in town yesterday from his property, and states that he will begin shipping his product here immediately. Mr. Petty located this coal mine some seven years ago.
-Tonopah Daily Bonanza, February 9, 1909

It was a good place to hide stuff, until....

Vast Fortune in Mohawk Ore In Rotting Sacks Is Brought to Light of Day-- Precious Stuff Is Found In Cellar of Shack at Coaldale-- Brought to Millers Under Heavily Armed Guard-- Officers Are Hot on Trail of Suspects and Arrests May Be Made At Any Moment
The ore was stolen from the Mohawk mine and is estimated to be worth between fifty and sixty thousand dollars [$1,408,300 and $1,690,000 in 2020 dollars]. There were in all 187 rotted sacks, estimated to have been there over a year. The find was made by a detective named Slyde, in the employ of the Goldfield Consolidated. He heard that the stuff was cached in some little town on the railway, and not very far from Tonopah. Coaldale is a little place about thirty-five miles west of here, on the line of the Tonopah and Goldfield railroad, and does not boast of more than one or two houses, and tracking the ore was not difficult. The ore had been carried there from time to time by two or more Italians, and the high graders kept piling up the precious stuff until the laid away in the cellar a handsome fortune.
-Tonopah Daily Bonanza, September 27, 1907

Carl Reik was a prominent person in the early days of Coaldale. As near as I can tell, he ran a station which included a hotel of sorts north of the junction, which at some point was either abandoned, moved, or burned. A Hugh Shamberger map frmo 1976 shows "Original Coaldale Inn - ruins 1902." Reik died in 1952. At some point later, the truck stop / restaurant was built nearer the junction and operated by Elton Parsons. The Parsons may have also operated at the location of the original station for a while.

Two months ago a man from the east appeared at Coaldale and took a room at the road house. He spent his days in the hills and did not say anything to others about his business until he grew tired of what seemed a fruitless search and then he told Carl Reik [misspelled Reick in newspaper accounts] , who runs the road house, that he was looking for a vast deposit of silica.
-Tonopah Daily Bonanza, July 17, 1913

Carl Reik, station agent at Coaldale, says the company preparing to operate on a large scale is the Du Pont Powder Company, but he cannot say what mineral they have found in the marsh to enlist their attention.
-Reno Evening Gazette, October 16, 1917

Carl Reik, hotel man of Coaldale, is placing orders here for supplies to meet the rapidly growing trade into Fish Lake Valley.
Reno Evening Gazette, March 5, 1921

Mr. and Mrs. Molini were driving into Coaldale from their Fish Lake Valley ranch when their car became stuck in the snow drifts. They walked six miles thought drifts six to ten feet high and were near exhaustion when they reached Carl Reik's place in Coaldale.
-Nevada State Journal, February 12, 1933

Scams. We'll always have them I suppose.

A San Francisco lawyer, J. Nelson Watt by name, has been busily engaged during the last few months in sending people to Coaldale under the impression that good farming land could be secured here for nothing. He would charge $50 [$1460.00 in 2020 dollars] and send the land seekers to the supposed fertile section in huge bunches. As everyone in this section knows, the land in the vicinity of Coaldale, which is about 30 miles from here on the Tonopah and Goldfield road, is suitable only for the cultivation of sagebrush, and very little that. It is true that there is a well at the old stage station, but the water from this would not irrigate a section large enough to provide a hummingbird with one day's rations. It is understood that steps are being taken to prosecute him.
Tonopah Daily Bonanza, May 15, 1910

Mr. Parsons got himself into a little bit of a jam.

Sheriff's Deputy Is Ordered Held in Youth Slaying
A deputy sheriff who earlier this week shot and killed a 15-year old boy during an altercation near Coaldale was held in jail today while authorities investigated the possibility that manslaughter chargers may be filed against him. Peter Breen, Esmeralda county district attorney, said he had ordered Deputy Sheriff Eldon [actually "Elton"] Parsons of Silver Peak held for investigation of manslaughter. Parsons shot James Dennis, 15, in the chest Monday night near Coaldale during a fight which arose after the officer went to investigate a series of disturbances in which they boy, two companions, and a Coaldale couple had been involved.
-Nevada State Journal, December 15, 1955

District Judge William D. Hatton today sentenced Elton Parsons to a one to five year term in the state prison on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Nevada State Journal, January 4, 1957

By this time he had become a county commissioner so I guess all was forgiven at that point.

Residents of the junction town of Coaldale in western Nevada watched helplessly as a raging fire destroyed the thriving truck stop and restaurant that were the base of the community's livelihood. Truck stop owner Elton Parsons and others worked frantically with construction equipment Saturday evening trying to pull his daughter's burning trailer away from his two businesses. The trailer just pulled apart and the flames spread quickly. The truck stop employed many of Coaldale's 40 residents who live in a row of trailers nearby. Parsons, who is Esmeralda County commissioner, worked with firemen, from Hawthorne and an air force radar station here, as they fought to save a motel that was the town's only other business. The motel was saved but Parsons' businesses and his two trailers were gutted. Mina Fire Chief Arthur Noble said the lack of a water system prevented firemen from fighting the blaze.
-San Bernardino County Sun, May 4, 1970

Leaking fuel tanks forced closure of the gas station around 1993, and with no other reason to stop, the place folded. Sometime in the mid 2000's the restaurant mysteriously caught fire.

Over the years, a number of people were involved in what would be known in later years as Coaldale. Of these folks none were more successful than a lady named Jewel. From the 1940's, the team of Eldon and Jewel Parsons operated a gas station and store alongside the old railroad grade. They later moved the business to the highway junctions a mile or so south. In the coming years, the new development continued to grow in typical Nevada style, which produced a rugged and unpolished image, Under the direction of Parsons, the little complex proved to have the longest life span of any business endeavor in the area. FOr truckers, it had two diesel pumps, tire repair, a garage, and some motel rooms. There was a restaurant and a bar with a few one-armed bandits to relive truckers of their dimes earned from their ten cents a mile wage. The food was OK and on weekend the place could become rather lively. Today, the Parsons, as well as their truck stop, are now just memories. In the early 1990's the complex was closed and abandoned to the elements.
-Nevada's Teamsters, Truckers, and Truck Stops - A Chronicle by Jerry Aaron

POST OFFICE October 6, 1904 - July 28, 1908



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