4WD or high clearance desired

38.909167, -117.898611

VISITED 12 July 2003
Our Dinner: Middlegate Cafe - steak sandwiches
DIRECTIONS Highway 50E from Fallon 47 miles to Middlegate and the junction of Highway 361; Turn S on SR361 for 29.9 miles; left on SR844; 0.5 miles E to local road, turn left; N on local dirt road 1 mile; E on local dirt road 0.5 miles

Named after J. Downey, the first postmaster and discoverer silver-lead ore in the region. The town was also commonly spelled with an "ie" instead of a "y." As miners were enticed from nearby Ellsworth to populate the town to almost 200, so Tonapah's discoveries in 1901 enticed folks away. A lead smelter was built here after they got tired of hauling ore in wagons to the Carson and Colorado railroad. (Paher) There were small revivals in the 20's and 30's as metal values rose and fell, but eventually the camp died out.

Downeyville, at the time the most western town in Nye County, began in 1877 with the construction of four log cabins of the crudest design. By May of 188 there were about eight or ten cabins, and the town began to grow more rapidly. A correspondent of the Grantsvill Sun described the new town in detail remarking especialy on the number of new houses:
"... At the presnt here there are between sixty and seventy of all desriptions, including three good stores, filled with a large stock of goods, six saloons, all in good buildings, and dealing out 'sustenance' after the most approved fashion. We also have three boarding houses, Wells Fargo and Co.'s express office, three blacksmith shops, one stable, several hay corrals, etc."
-Grantsville Sun, October 19, 1878
-History of Gabbs Valley, Ruth Danner

A little bit of an Indian scare.

Fears that They Will Attack Downievilie In Nye County.
The Grantsville (Nye county) Sun says: "There is no denying the fact that the Piutes about Mammoth and Grantsville are very angry about the shooting of the squaw by the man Hubbard. The bucks are leaving here for Mammoth every day and very few Indians can be found in this vicinity. The squaws have also disappeared. We are informed that from 250 to 300 bucks are about Ellsworth, and that they are to have a great fandango or dance in a few days. We endeavored to learn yesterday from several bucks whom we met why they were going to Ellsworth. They merely answered, 'Piutes go by Mammoth!' At present there are not over thirty live men in Downeyville, and if the Indians should attack the place in large numbers they might overcome the citizens before help could reach them from other camps."
-Silver State, March 24, 1879

As usual, everyone had high hopes.

Downeyville seems to be on a fair way to become one of the most flourishing camps in Nevada. The Grantsville Bonanza says the mines are opening up richer and the ore bodies larger than the wildest dreams of the owners anticipated, and it is only a matter of time till Downeyville ranks with the best as a shipper of bullion.
-Silver State, September 5, 1882

Well, that didn't happen.

A resident of Downeyville. Nye county, writes the Belmont Courier as follows: For more than a year we have not made or earned a dollar mining, and have to try something else for a living for the present.
-Eureka Sentinel, June 7, 1890

It's no wonder Downeyville lost its post office.

Bulletin Issued by Census Director W. R. Merriam
The Census Department has jus ssued the bulletin for Nevada, showing the population of the State by counties, towns, and precints.
-Eureka Sentinel, January 26, 1901

A short attempt in the early 1920's was made to reopen the mine, but all they discovered is that previous work had gotten all there was to get.


POST OFFICE March 31 1879 - October 15, 1901

Half a mile west of Downeyville, in the desert overlooking the Gabbs Valley, is the grave or memorial of Korean War Private Teddie Mack Edwards, born in 1929, and died in 1995, at the age of 65. Why he is buried at the junction of two dirt roads out here in the middle of the desert is anyone's guess, but there he is, alone, with a small plastic Gatorade jar filled with desiccated flowers as decoration for his headstone. It's a lonely spot in a lonely valley.

Downeyville lies on a slightly sloping rocky fan. There are several old foundations left, all constructed of rock. Debris, mostly cans and some broken glass, litters a large area. The site is quite spread out. There is some evidence, such as the chassis of an ancient mobile home trailer, indicating a presence relatively recently.



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