4WD or high clearance desired
  Simon (Mineral Co.)

N38.56605 W117.86922   USGS Simon, NV Quad

VISITED We Visited: January 10, 2015
Our Breakfast: Eggs at Maggies Once More in Hawthorne
Our Lunch: Hamburgers at the El Capitan
DIRECTIONS From Fallon, head south on US95 for 105 miles to Mina; head east on Simon Lead Rd. for 12.5 miles; head north on graded road for 6.3 miles; turn right on dirt road for 3.3 miles; head east on dirt road for 0.8 miles.
From Fallon:
127.9 miles

This site was a silver/lead mine and at one time had a 250 ton mill operating. The mill operated from 1921 to 1927 (a 120 ~ 150 ton mill preceded the 250 by a few years) although mining took place up until the '30's. Named after the founder of the mine, Peter Abdener (sp?) "Pop" Simon. Mr. Simon was born in or around 1882 and came to the US from the Syrian Arab Republic. According to the 1920 United States Federal Census, he lived on Eleventh Street in Mina with his wife Maud [Matthews]- who he married in Prescott, Arizona in June of 1906-, his sons Ralph and Albert, and his daughters Joy, Jane, and Joy. Yes, it looks like he had two daughters named Joy. Who knows why that is.

Little known fact. Peter Simon started the airport that later become Nellis Air Force Base. Ha! You won't find that out on someone else's ghost town web site, I bet. Seems it went this way....

Nevada's first airline was actually based in Los Angeles, and was the brainchild of a mining entrepreneur and racing pilot. Named for the state, the short-lived effort connected Reno and Las Vegas over 400 miles of desolate desert and bad roads for a short time, but showed promise for the future. The president and founder of Nevada Airlines was mining entrepreneur G. Ray Boggs, with partner Ben
Hunter, a Lockheed Aircraft official. After success with gold mining at Carrara, near Beatty in Nye County, Boggs became interested in a new airline's possibilities. He enlisted the help of Roscoe Turner, a
flamboyant racing pilot who had flown Boggs over potential mining claims. With Turner as chief pilot and manager, they bought a fleet of Lockheed Vegas, known for both their speed and cost of operation. In 1929, the new airline was ready for business.

Turner wanted to capitalize on Nevada's divorce and marriage laws as an advertising lure. In an article for the Pratt and Whitney Beehive magazine, he noted that some couples were so anxious to get married or divorced, they wanted to fly to get an earlier start on the three-month residency requirement. But his idea for nicknaming the airline "the Alimony Special" never took off. Based in Los Angeles, with scheduled service to Reno, Nevada Airlines debuted on May 15, 1929. Turner christened the venture the "Fastest Airline in the United States," based on his attempt to beat the crosscountry
flight time record. Though he did not beat the existing record, his was the first flight by a commercial aircraft, and he proudly announced that Nevada Airlines would soon offer coast-to-coast

By July 12, the airline started the first regular service between Reno and Las Vegas. It flew into a new Las Vegas airport built by Peter A. "Pop" Simon, later known for creating Pop's Oasis," a casino in Jean. The new airport later became Nellis Air Force Base. Unfortunately, the beginning of Las Vegas-to-Reno service was also the beginning of the end of the new airline. A stock market crash, downturns in mining, and the costs associated with a new airline doomed the effort. Boggs closed his Carrara operations, and Nevada Airlines ceased operation in 1929, after only a few months
-Mark Hall-Patton - Online Nevada Encylopedia - http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/nevada-airlines 2012

Seventy-eight years ago, in 1920, pilot Randall Henderson landed his plane on a makeshift dirt runway marking Las Vegas' first flight. I am sure that Mr. Henderson had no idea that some 78 years later the McCarran International Airport would be one of the fastest growing airports in the country. That runway was later used by such famous people as Amelia Earhart, Clarence Prest, and Emery Rogers and came to be named Rockwell Field. Rockwell Field was sold in 1929. Fortunately, P.A. `Pop' Simon bought the land northeast of Las Vegas, the site of today's Nellis Air Force Base, and built the Las Vegas Airport. It was later named Western Air Express Field. In 1948, Clark County purchased an existing airfield on Las Vegas Boulevard South and established the Clark County Public Airport.
-Senator Richard Bryan, THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MCCARRAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (Senate - June 10, 1998)


He worked for the Techatticup Mine in Southern Nevada

After it closed, his [new] wife Peggy and he purchased the little town of Jean, NV located 22 miles south of Las Vegas. Pop's Oasis became a regular stop for travelers on the highway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In the early 1950's Peggy and Pop constructed one of the landmarks of old downtown Las Vegas, the Simon Building. Located on the corner of Third and Fremont it included the Melody Lane Restaurant, the Photo Mart, and on the second floor offices, the IRS. In the early 1970's it became the Red Garter-Gambling Hall and Saloon and is now part of the Fremont Hotel and Casino.
-Peggy Simon obit

Pop died in Southern Nevada in 1963.

Anyway, back to Simon the mining camp.....

The Simon Mining District, formerly known as the Bell Mining District, centers around the Simon Silver Lead Mine situated 23 miles northeast of Mina, Mineral County, Nevada. The camp is located in the higher parts of the Cedar Range of mountains, at an altitude of 6,500 to 7,000 feet.
- A.H. Elftman, Consulting Geologist & Mining Engineer, Tonopah, NV June 19, 1919

The Simon Mine was discovered in 1879, at which time small quantities of lead ore mined from the gossan were shipped. Its importance was not discovered, however, until 1919, when silver-bearing lead-zinc ores were discovered in the sulphide zone below the gossan [intensely oxidized, weathered or decomposed rock, usually the upper and exposed part of an ore deposit or mineral vein - Ed.] that had been prospected in 1879. In 1921 the Simon Silver-Lead Mines Co. erected a 100 ton flotation mill at the mine. In 1923 this company was reorganized under its present name and the mill enlarged to handle 250 dons per day. Up to 1927 the mill, operating at four different periods, had treated 93,000 tons of ore and produced 6,258 tons of lead and 5,311 tons of zinc concentrates have a gross smelter value of $741,378. the mill closed in 1927. Mining equipment includes a 150 horsepower hoist, a compressor, a drill sharpener, pumps, lighting plant, and camp buildings. Mill equipment includes a No.5 Allis Chambers gyratory crusher, a No. 3 Kennedy gyratory crusher, an Allis Chambers tube mill, a Marcy ball mill, 2 5x6' Oliver filters, and 4 Door thickeners.
-W.O. Vanderberg, U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular - 1937

The camp is well located on the Marine #1 claim, and consists of two tents, and a boarding house large enough for 20 men. There is also the usual prospecting equipment, blacksmith shop, windlass, tools, etc.
-James O. Greenan, Mining Engineer, Mina, Nevada October 21, 1919

There were several articles in the papers talking about how quickly the mines became popular.

C C Boak, Vice President of the Simon Silver Lead Mines Company of Mina, Nev. is in receipt of telegraphic advices from the management at Mina to the effect that great excitement prevails in the community over the developments in the mine as work progresses in the crosscut on the foot level. Mining men returning from the new district reported feverish excitement developing into a full fledged boom the little town of Mina is filled to overflowing a contract has just been let for the erection of a fine commodious hotel and an application for a charter for the mineral county bank to be under the management of the Wingfield Simon interests has been filed.
-Salt Lake Mining Review May 30, 1919

MINA SEETHING WITH BUSINESS - Special To The Gazette - Mina, June 4-- The rush to the Simon lead district has brought scores of transient travelers to this camp with the result that all places are overcrowded and persons taking an interest in the newly developed section are traveling as far south as Tonopah to secure accommodations. The automobile is annihilating distance and visitors appear nothing loathe about taking care of a day's business. To check this growing tendency it is suggested and the suggestion is meeting with favor that steps be taken to reopen the former hotel and cottages at Sodaville which were built to accommodate hundreds who remained there overnight during the babyhood of Tonopah. The buildings are in good shape and it is reported that an effort will be made to secure a lease of the available quarters with the idea of establishing a jitney line between this place and the mineral springs with a fifteen minute service. The jitneys would be operated by the business men of Mina who are alive to the importance of doing something to keep patronage of the new Mineral County camp at home. A close tab on the arrivals elicits the information that between thirty and forty machines arrive every day with a majority of the travelers continuing on to Tonopah or Hawthorne for accommodations in the evening. As an example of the business lost to Mina by the shortage of accommodations it is mentioned that during the tie-up due to washouts last week over fifty passengers bought tickets back to Reno because they could not find rooms or places to eat.
-Reno Evening Gazette, June 4, 1919


By 1920 plans were in the works to build the 150 ton mill.

BUYS MACHINERY FOR NEW MILL - Special to the Gazette - Tonopah, Nov. 10-- P.A. Simon of the Simon Lead mine is spending a few days in Tonopah for the purpose of securing machinery for his new mill on which construction has begun. The mill will have the capacity of 150 tons daily and will be in operation by the first of March. Ball mills and tubes will be used to reduce the ore to the required consistency and the company will generate its own power through the medium of a 200 horse-power semi-Diesel engine for which the order has been placed. The company carries thirty men on the payroll and the number will be increased as soon as delivery of building material enables the company to rush the work.
-Reno Evening Gazette, Wednesday, November 10, 1920

Apparently that wasn't enough, however. I wonder if the planned 150 ton mill was ever actually built. It appears to me they went right for the 250.

MINA-- Construction work [at the new mill of the Simon Silver-Lead Mines Co. mill] is 60 percent completed and 90 percent of all machinery and materials is on the ground.
-Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 111, January 1 to June 30, 1921

By the end of 1921 the mill was getting run through its paces....

SIMON SILVER-LEAD MILL STARTED- Plant Being Tried Out at Part Capcity and on Low-Grade Ore
Electric power was turned on at the Simon Silver-Lead Mines Co.'s mill, at Mina, Nev, on Nov. 15. The mill will operate for the present at part capacity and on low-grade material, to give the entire plant a thorough try-out and eliminate possible mechanical troubles. The mill is designed to have 250 tons' daily capacity, and uses a selective flotation process, making two concentrates, silver-lead and silver-zinc.
-Engineering and Mining Journal, Volume 112, July 1 to December 31, 1921

They also got some of that fancy electricity....

Late in the year [1921] a power line built by Mineral County from Hawthorne to the Simon District was completed.
-Ore Deposits of Cedar Mountain, Nev. 1921

By 1922, the 250 ton mill was fully operational

MINA-- Two kinds of concetrates are being shipped from the new 250-ton flotation mill of the Simon Silver-Lead Mines Co. The mill is working three shifts, and both in the point of recovery and separation of the metals the selective-flotationn process iin use is said to be a success. Lead-silver concentrate, containing nearly all the silver from the ore, is shipped to the Midvale smelter in Utah. Zinc concetrate goes to the Simon smelter at Harbor City, California, where it is used in making zinc oxide. This plant is not ready for continuous operation.
-Mining and Scientific Press, January 21, 1922

MINA - The Simon Silver-Lead Mines Co. is producing about 180 tons daily. This tonnage is said to approximate hoisting capacity at present. The company is planning to sink a new three compatrment shaft to a depth of 600 feet. This will permit an increase in tonnage to at least 500 daily.
-Engineering and Mining Journal-Press, May 13, 1922

Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose....

MINA, April 28 -- (Special) Sheriff Fred Balzar passed through here on his way to the county seat, having in charge Fred Sorry, a native of Finland, who has ben employed at the Simon Silver mine for the past seven months. The man has been considered "queer" but up to last week was not looked upon as dangerous. On arrival in Hawthorne, he was pronounced insane and was sent to Reno in care of an attendant from the state insane asylum.
-Reno Evening Gazette, April 28, 1923

Things slowed down in the 1930's

The force of miners working at the Simon mine, twenty miles east of Mina, has been reduced from eighteen men to four by George Whitney, the superintendent, it is reported. The reduction was made on account of the low prices prevailing for silver and lead.
-Reno Evening Gazette, February 10, 1931

Then they slowed way down....

With no prospects for advance in the price of silver, lead, and zinc for some time to come, the directors of the Simon Silver-Lead Mines company at Simon, 23 miles east of Mina, have voted to discontinue working at the mine.
When the price of metals broke three years ago the company shut the mill down, but continued development work. Winzes were sunk, drifts and crosscuts run and large deposits of ore of commercial grade were developed to a depth of 1000 feet. Jasper T. Robertson, 700 Spring Arcade Building, Los Angeles, is president and manager.
"Pulling the pumps has started and the shutdown is expected to take effect about December 1. Operations will not be resumed until such time as the metal markets and business conditions justify.
"The closing of the Simon mine means a heavy loss of revenue to the Mineral county power system."
-Nevada State Journal Monday, November 28, 1932

At a meeting of the board of Directors of the Sime Silver-Lead Mines, Inc., held November 21, it was decided to suspend all mining and pumping operations in the company's mine at Simon, east of Mina, the Hawthorne News reports. John Simpson, present superintendent, will remain at the mine as a caretaker to look after the property.
Puling the pumps has started and the shut-down is expected to take effect about December 1. operations will not be resumed until such time as the metal markets and business conditions justify.
Jasper T. Robinson of Los Angeles is the president and manager.
-Reno Evening Gazette, November 20, 1932

Several other exploration sites mention a power outage which resulted in the flooding of the lower levels some time around 1931, but I don't know the source of this information. I would imagine the power delivery from Mineral Count Power and Light to be spotty at best in those days anyway. If it in fact occurred, it probably would not have been so catastrophic that they wouldn't have just pumped the mine out again. I could find no evidence of this outage, so if someone has some official mention of it I would like to look at it. The mine was intentionally allowed to fill up with water in 1932 when the pumps were turned off and removed.

In 1937 the Bryan Mining Company pumped out the mine, but allowed it to fill back up again when funding was not secured.

The writer obtained a good idea of the mine when he was president of a company, The Bryan Mining Company, which in 1937, unwatered the mine. However, he had to allow it to fill up again because of lack of funds. The water is still in the mine as no operation has unwatered it since 1937, hence, the ore indicated on the accompanying assay is still available.
S. Power Warren, Consulting Engineer, July 1, 1957

Mr. Vanderberg also points out that the mine and mill at Omco several miles away are served with power by a branch transmission line from Simon. In 1936 a 2 inch diameter pipe 4 miles long was laid to carry water from the collar of the Simon shaft to Omco by gravity. The pipe was collected as scrap during WWII.

The Simon Lead mine was worked extensively during 1946 by the B. B. S. Mining Corp. and Wilson & Simpson; zinc-lead ore was shipped to a concentrator-smelter for treatment, and a smaller tonnage of
lead ore was shipped for direct smelting.
- Pehrson, E. W. / Minerals yearbook 1946 Year 1946 (1948) Ransome, Alfred L. Nevada, pp. 1473-1494

The B. B. S. Mining Corp. and the Swanson Milling Co. operated the Simon Lead mine in 1947. Zinc-lead ore was shipped to a smelter.
- Pehrson, E. W. / Minerals yearbook 1947 Year 1947 (1949) Ransome, Alfred L. Nevada, pp. 1473-1494

Nearby, about 1.5 miles to the west, is the Harvey-Taylor mine.

The Harvey-Taylor group of five patented claims owned by J.A. Ashby of Hawthorne, NV is 20 miles by road northeaast of Mina and 1 1/2 miles west of Simon. A small amount of shipping ore has been produced in the past by lessees. In 1936 the property was idle. Development work consists of two tunnels, 100 and 165 feet in length, driven on the vein, and two winzes, one 100 feet and the other 1550 feet deep. There is no equipment on the property. Water for milling is available from Storey Springs in the vicinity. The estimated flow from these springs is 12 gallons per minute.

The Interesting Case of Mr. Riley Woten

In researching Simon we came across the Interesting Case of Riley "Roy" Woten. Son of farmer John and Emily Woten, he was born in Madison, Scioto County, Ohio in 1869.

Mr. Woten was making a living as a miner living in Congress, Yavapai County in Arizona Territory in 1900. By 1910 he was living in a boarding house in National, Nevada (Humboldt county), his occupation listed as "Engineer." There, he was accused of murdering a deputy sheriff in National, Nevada on August 27, 1910.

"Deputy Sheriff John Holmes was the only law enforcement in the camp. On the night of August 27, 1910, Holmes was making his rounds through the business section of town when he spotted Riley Wooten [sic] in front of the National Hotel with a rifle in his hands. While attempting to disarm Wooten, the rifle discharged, the bullet striking Holmes in the left side and penetrating his stomach. After falling he fired at Wooten but both shots went wild.

"Early the following morning Sheriff Lamb was called in Winnemucca. He left immediately for National in Smith’s automobile, accompanied by District Attorney Ducker. Upon his arrival in National he arrested Wooten, who had not yet been arrested. Sheriff Lamb immediately left for Winnemucca with his prisoner as there was talk in National of lynching the accused for what appears to be a senseless and cold-blooded murder.

"More evidence was gathered at the scene of the crime by District Attorney Ducker. The rifle used in the murder of Deputy Holmes belonged to Guy Bishop who was with Wooten when he shot the Deputy. Bishop’s story differed from the other witnesses. He said that Holmes had fired at Wooten twice before Wooten shot him…"

- J.P. Marden, James D. Hoff Peace Officer Memorial

On December 23, Woten was found guilty and given a life sentence. From there, he was sent to the Nevada State Prison.

Road construction must not have appealed to his engineering sensibilities, and he walked away from a road gang in January of 1912, making his way back to Arizona. Woten must have had some contacts or business in Arizona from when he lived there previously, because the Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner advertised on November 27, 1901 that the Post Office was holding some general delivery letters addressed to him, as did the Tombstone Epitaph years later on December 29, 1907.

There, he was caught and extradited in January of 1913, and returned to Nevada, in time for the Warden to report to the Legislature that they got him.

At any rate, Woten must have been a model prisoner after that, because, after several attempts, in November of 1917 he was finally paroled. He then ended up in Simon where his fate caught up with him.

Mr. Woten was killed in an industrial accident at Simon, Nevada on March 4, 1919, as is gruesomely detailed in the Reno Gazette on March 10, 1919, and here:

As it turns out, we are not the first to be interested in Mr. Woten. An inquiry to the fabulous Humboldt Museum resulted in a response from the lovely and talented Dana Toth, who provided us with this reprint of an article by the almost equally lovely and talented Phillip Earl, past curator of history at the Nevada Historical Society! As it turns out, Mr. Earl was just as interested in the life and times of Mr. Woten as we were. It's a fascinating article, and we are forever indebted to Ms. Toth for sending it to us!

Last but not least, many many thanks to the dazzling Elizabeth Moore and the delightful staff at the Nevada State Library and Archives, for taking time to provide Forgotten Nevada with various documents pertaining to Mr. Woten's attempts to get parole.

A special album containing these documents and various newspaper clippings, etc, arranged generally by date, is available for viewing here.

POST OFFICE 11 November 1919 to 29 June 1938

The road to Simon is flat and graded about three fourths of the way, and the rest of the way is decent dirt road punctuated with washouts. You will be glad you had some extra clearance tackling some of the washouts.

The site itself has many scattered ruins and buildings in various states of discay. Disappointingly, not much is left of the mill or original headframe. possibly due to a fire, juding from the amount of charcoal in the area. There is a distinct lack of heavy equipment such as compressors and such, probably due to the decent road. Nevertheless, lots of dangerous, deep holes, and plenty of debris. Good vistas of the site from various easy-to-get-to points. Down the road at the Harvey Taylor Mine there are more ruins and some equipment from the 1970's, including a huge jaw crusher. Take a look around the area, on the road east of the site there are more ruins and signs of civilization like large can dumps.


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