Take it easy
  Spanish Belt (Nye Co.)

38°39'52.84"N 116°55'27.83"W Jefferson, NV Quad

VISITED 6/9/2018
Our breakfast: Eggs at Jerry's in Fallon
Our dinner: Pizza at Hometown Pizza in Tonopah
Our motel: NOT Tonopah Station- They rented out the rooms we reserved! Grrrrr!
DIRECTIONS [To San Pedro] From Tonopah: Take US 6 east 5.4 miles to SR 376; Head north on SR 376 for 13.3 miles; Turn right onto SR 82 and travel 28.6 miles north to Belmont; continue on SR 82 for 5.1 miles; turn left on National Forest Rd. 010 for 5.9 miles; head SW on National Forest Rd. 440 for 1.9 miles.

We are including a few different locations here, the "town" of San Pedro, and the mining camps of Flowers Camp, and the Barcelona and Van Ness mine camps. First, an overview.

The Spanish Belt district derives its name from a Castilian grandee named Emanuel San Pedro. He organized and equipped a party of Mexicans in California in 1870 for an expedition into Nevada. After a sojourn on the Comstock Lode, he pushed southeast for 200 miles and established a rendezvous at Spanish Springs, north of Tonopah on the Belmont Road. From this base he divided his company and sent them into the ranges to prospect. The discovery of the Barcelona, South Barcelona, and the Liguria mines in the summer of 1871 was the outcome of his operations, and the beginning of mining at the Spanish Belt. In the mean time other discoveries followed, and by 1873 a town sprung up just west of San Pedro's castle. Daily stages plied between the camp and Austin. At about this time, a coterie of mining men bought San Pedro's mines. Leasers continued to mine, and by 1890 over a half million dollars of ore had been mined, mainly from the Barcelona mine. In 1916, the Consolidated Spanish Belt Silver Mining Company was formed. Much repair had to be done to the buildings, roads, equipment, and mines themselves.
-Mining Geology Outlined, 1936


Silver discoveries were made here in the late 1860's but it wasn't until 1874 that Señor San Pedro and his men got things going here. A number of buildings were erected and the population got up to about 150 before the ore ran out and so did the miners. Activity waxed and waned throughout the years; during and right after WW I , and even some activity in the 1980's.

From the silver Bend Reporter of November 9th we extract a description of the Spanish Belt mines, near Belmont:
The name of Spanish Belt is applied to a slate formation along the eastern slope of the range of mountains which separate Ralston Valley from Smoky Valley. It varies in width from 500 to 900 feet, and is 4 to 6 miles in length, and so far as conclusions drawn from surface indications and limited development are valuable, it contains some of the most reliable mines in Philadelphia Mining District. The ore obtained from the surface and at no considerable depth below, quite equals in point of richness that found similarly located in the Belmont and Combination Company's mines. An abundance of wood is found in close proximity to the mines, and numerous springs afford sufficient quantities of water for milling purposes flow from the mountain side at points above and below where the ledges are situated, from one of which there is a stream not less than fifteen inches of water running at the driest season of the year.
-Sacramento Daily Union, November 18, 1867

Let's get official.

The following company filed their articles of incorporation in the County Clerk's office yesterday:
THE MARIPOSA MINING COMPANY; object, to mine in the Spanish Belt Mining District, Nye county, Nevada. DIrectors-- M. San Pedro, George F. Maynard, S. L. Kimball, Peter Van Pelt, and Murray Davis. Capital stock, $6,000,000
-Daily Alta Californian, December 10, 1875

Everybody's a comedian.

The parents of the first child born at Barcelona City, Spanish Belt district are named Roach, and the Belmont Courier suggests the name of Barcelona Roach for the infant. A much more convenient name to inflict upon it, though not quite to pretty, would be Cock Roach. - R. R. Reveille
-Reno Evening Gazette, June 21, 1876

Meanwhile, they're busy digging.

The first shipment of bullion from Spanish Belt was made a few days ago. It amounted to something over $4,000 (approximately $93.500 in 2017 dollars).
-Reno Evening Gazette, July 12, 1876

Belmont was already a going concern at that time, so ore was shipped there sometimes.

The Monitor-Belmont mill at Belmont, Nye county, is crushing ore from the Barcelona Mine.
-Reno Evening Gazette, November 3, 1887

The Barcelona Mine, Nye county, is showing up much ore and is keeping the Monitor-Belmont mill running to its full capacity.
-Reno Evening Gazette, January 19, 1888

The mine went idle for a while.

The Belmont Courier says: The Barcelona Mine at Spanish Belt, which is one of the best paying properties in this State, is still idle. This is mainly due to the war waged against silver by the Wall Stree Shylocks and their despicable henchmen.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 21, 1891

Water was a problem in re-opening the mine..

The Barcelona property lay idle until 1892, when two Belmont parties obtained a lease and tried with a small capital to unwater the winze and extract ore from the bottom. They installed a small pumping plant which proved unable to handle the water. A little ore was extracted, when the suicide of on of the parties stopped operations. He was the County treasurer, and had used county funds to finance the work.
-Preliminary Notes On The Spanish Belt Mine, E. L. Fletcher, September 22, 1907

The Spanish Belt Mining company, of Ogden, has been incorporated to operate in Spanish Belt Mining district, fifty miles north of Tonopah. The property of the company is equipped with a milling plant, and the mine is in shape to begin ore extraction.
-Salt Lake Mining Review, February 15, 1908

Things are looking up after the Great War.

Robert M. Hampton who has had long experience with mines in Nye county, has been appointed superintendent of the Spanish Belt Mine at Barcelona, to succeed D.H. Walker, who died of influenza on January 11. A fifty-ton mill has been ordered and is on its way to be installed as soon as the winter wanes and it is possible to build a wagon road to the mine so as to facilitate delivery of the machinery. After this road is finished the company will send out several carloads of ore.
-Reno Evening Gazette, February 4, 1919

Now they're feeling all full of energy and enthusiasm...

The new mill of the Spanish Belt company is one of the best constructed mills in Nevada. It is entirely a gravity mill and is built on the steep slope of the mountain. The equipment consists of a 10x14 Blake rock crusher, 10 1050-pound stamps, four johnson vanners and a flotation unit. A post office will soon be established at Spanish Belt and considerable development work is planned for the coming months in this vicinity.
-Tonopah Daily Bonanza, November 15, 1921

Still, dangerous work, that mining.....

Death of Edward Schlapp - Spanish Belt Mine
Edward schlapp, a native of Germany, 49 years of age, single, was killed on the 22d day of May, 1921, in the Spanish Belt mine, situated at Spanish Belt, Nye County, Nevada, by falling down the San Pedro shaft.
I made an investigation of this accident and found that the deceased and his partner, Gus Sanborn, were working as single jackers in a crosscut at the 140 foot level of the Spanish Belt mine, or what is known as the San Pedro shaft. This shaft is inclined about 45 degrees down to the 140 foot level, from there on down to the 340 foot level it is inclined to about 65 or 70 degrees. The men working in this section of the mine cllimb up and down the shaft as the go to and from work. After eating lunch, Edward Schlapp, the deceased, started down the shaft just a few moments before his partner, Gun Sanborn, and Sanborn informed me that he did not see the deceased or a light when he started down the shaft. Sanborn stated that in his opinion the deceased must have fainted, or was overcome by heart failure, just after leaving the collar of the shaft. After examining the shaft, it seems probably that he must have fainted, as the shaft is inclined 45 degrees, and thre was every way for him to catch himself-- skids, ladder-ways, center-pieces, and several offsets down to the first level.
-Biennial Report of the State Inspector of Mines,1921

The mines were first included in the Philadelphia (Belmont) district, but in 1875 the separate Spanish Belt district was formed. The town of Barcelona was started in 1876 but the mines ceased work and the town was deserted by 1877. Some work again started in 1876 on the Barcelona and adjacent mines and continued until at least 1889. The district is now commonly referred to as Barcelona rather than Spanish Belt, and, again, sometimes included in the Belmont district. Mercury was reported to be present in mines at Spanish Belt in 1876 but no production is reported from this early discovery. The Flower mercury mine in Antone Canyon was discovered in 1908 and the Van Ness mercury mine, west of the Barcelona Mine was discovered in 1928. Mercury was produced at the Van Ness Mine through 1943.
-Barcelona district, 1980's

Van Ness Mine

The Van Ness mercury mine lies at an elevation of 8,600 feet, and 6 miles NW of the town of Belmont. Since its discovery by Jack Humphrey in 1928 it has produced 728 flasks of mercury. Most of the production was made by Raymond Van Ness in a 30 ton Cottrell furnace in 1930-31. Since 1931, during the period of high mercury prices, lessees produced 25 flasks annually from retorts. The rotary furnace is believed to be on the property.
-Mineral Resources of Nye County, Kral, 1951

Tonopah, Nev. Apr 17 (Special) -- Peter Buol was in town today with a shipment of ten flasks of quicksilver from the Raymond Van Ness mine at Spanish Belt where the production will be stabilized at sixty flasks a month increasing through the summer after new electric equipment is installed. This will consist of a seventy-five horsepower semi-Diesel engine with forty KVA generator and electric pump, a General Electric hoist and a two stage three drill compressor. Twelve men are employed.
-Reno Evening Gazette, April 17, 1930

Raymond Van Ness Shipped 17 Flasks of "Quick"
Tonopah Sept 1. The Raymond Van Ness company, operating a quicksilver property in the old Spanish Belt district shipped 17 flasks of mercury Thursday to the H W Gould company of San Francisco.. This makes the fifth shipment to go out since operations started. A hundred and sixteen flasks have been shipped to date. On account of the irregularity of the ore values production ranges from two to six flasks a day.
-Nevada State Journal, September 1, 1930

Mercury minerals were discovered here and located by Mr. J. Humphrey in 1928. The claims were sold to Mr. Raymond Van Ness in that year. A 30 foot by 30 inch Cottrell Furnace was installed and about 38,000 pounds of Mercury metal produced in 1930 and 31. Mr. Homer Williams and John Connolly of Tonopah acquired the property under judgment late in 1931. The price of mercury had fallen from $100.00 per flask in 1927 to about $50.00 per flask in 1932. Complete production records were not kept by the owners. One government publication, "Quicksilver Deposits in Nevada," credits this property with a production history of 728 76-lb flasks to the end of 1943. Water suitable for domestic use is available on the property, and three existing cabins, in need of some repair, will accommodate a crew of eight or ten men. This property is poorly situated with respect to supplies and equipment. Furnacing facilities on the property include the original rotary furnace, gun type feeder and eleven condensing tubes. All of this equipment is in poor condition.
-Preliminary Valuation of the Van Ness Mercury Property, Keith N. Meador, November 1956

Some exploration and poking around was done circa 1957 but nothing much came of it.

Flower's Camp

There's also Flower's Camp in the area. Flower was well know in these parts and had developed several properties. William Arthur Flower was born 17 JUL 1876 in Montana, USA and died 17 JUL 1952 in Tonopah. From what I can gather, he was active in this area in the late 1900's to the early 1950's.

William "Doc" Flower was in Tonopah from Meadow canyon, where he is developing a gold property. Alongside the gold vein is a belt of shale which carriers carnotite in the shale cleavages, he told the times. Some time ago Doc left a shovel in the shaft sump and when he went to retrieve it, was surprised to find that the blade of the shovel had turned a deep yellow. He wiped off the water but the yellow coating was not affected. Flower's uranium is a carnotite, which is usually either yellow or green. Papers blown into the shaft during the winter and which soaked in the water for some time, also turned yellow, Flower stated. [carnotite is a lemon-yellow radioactive mineral consisting of hydrated vanadate of uranium and potassium, often found near petrified trees.]
-Reno Evening Gazette, June 10, 1949

Obviously, a great vacation spot as well...

Mr. and Mrs. William Farris are vacationing in Meadow Creek canyon, near the old town of Belmont They are occupying one of the cabins at the "Doc" Flowers quicksilver property.
-Nevada State Journal September 11, 1944

San Pedros

Not much information on San Pedros other than assuming it was somehow related to Mr Emmanual San Pedro and that, at one time, he had some sort of dwelling or building here.

Meadow Canyon Guard Station

If you care to look, there is a historical Forest Service Guard Station up Meadow Canyon.

This administrative site, located on the southeast side of the Toquima Range, was used before its official withdrawal in 1932. A pasture fence was built in 1921 and Ranger Phil Kennedy constructed a corral in 1928. Three years later, a cabin from the Barley Creek Ranger Station (located about 15 miles east on the Monitor Range) was moved to the site with the intention of reconstructing it. Unfortunately, it was damaged in the process, so the building material was salvaged and used to build the latrine. Ranger Anderson C. Walker built the existing one-room cabin in the fall of 1931. Walker may have been
assisted by J. T. Hightower of Goldfield who wrote, “I will be ready to start for Meadow Canyon on or before the 5th of Sept. . . . would like complete instructions as to how you want the house built.” The site has enjoyed continual use, not only by the Forest Service, but also by the Youth Conservation Corps in the 1970s and the Nevada Division of Wildlife in the 1980s. This expanded use led to the construction of another latrine and a tack shed, and the placement of two crew trailers on site. These were removed sometime after 1985 and only the cabin and a latrine remain.

Stone House Ranch

May have been a stop on the Ellsworth Ophir Barley Creek Freight Route. ROad going through it listed as "Belmont Stage Route."



Man, there is a ton of stuff to see here. Not much at San Pedro; the cabin at Flower's Camp is, we assume, the original. Rock ruins up and down the canyon at various intervals. The road to Barcelona and the Van Ness Mine is a rocky, washed out bastard. Wouldn't reccomment coming up here in a stock pickup, like one guy was trying to do. Lots of rock ruins at Barcelona which we didn't get photos of, and the road to the Barcelona Mine was blocked by a tree, which we didn't feel like dealing with that late in the afternoon. Stone House Ranch was a treat- an old stage stop on the Belmont stage route.

Photographs | Return to Previous Document | HOME