Monday, September 12, 2011

Elusive Ghost Towns: Mammoth and Silver City

Old mining building in Mammoth, Utah

Utah has its share of ghost towns, so visiting some of them seemed like a good summertime activity, and also an opportunity to take some interesting photographs.  However, finding ghost towns is a bit like finding ghosts themselves.  Unlike movie or tv versions of ghost towns, many local ones contain live residents (and I believe in respecting their privacy and property), or, instead of deserted main streets full of cool old buildings, there is often very little left at all. 

Mining companies in both Mammoth and Silver City have opened operations, and we found the parts of these towns where the interesting old buildings reside are blocked off by gates and large "No Trespassing" and "Danger" signs.  I was therefore limited in what I could see and experience in these two places, but here is a photographic taste of what IS available.

Abandoned house in Mammoth

Old building in Mammoth, Utah

Mammoth is not far from Eureka, Utah (about 3 miles south).  Part of the Tintic Mining District, Mammoth grew in the 1870s during a gold and silver mining boom.  Today, it is definitely a quiet place.  We drove a looping road and had distant views of the mining area, and were also able to see some old buildings. There are no services here.  

Climb the "Stairs to Nowhere" in Mammoth

These stairs and some foundations are all that is left of whatever building once stood here.  We also saw wooden stadium bleachers from an old baseball field.  We left Mammoth with a few photos, and headed for Silver City, where we hoped to have better luck.

Flowers in Mammoth

Silver City - Tailings Pile

We found even less in Silver City.  There were tailings piles everywhere, and some were fenced off.  It looks like some entity has tried to close off many areas out of safety concerns.  We did see some people camping and there were ATV trails around, but as you follow the road toward the old mining area, you will encounter a sign that the Dragon Mine is in operation.  This area is gated off and is posted "No Trespassing."  I did not go beyond that point.

Big hole outside Silver City

Person by the big hole, for scale.

It was fun to stop for a few minutes and look at the evidence of old mining ventures, like this large hole in the ground.  However, there isn't much else to do in this area.  I was grateful we had other things planned on this day trip!


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