Goldfield: The Last Gold Rush on the Western Frontier

Overview

“The discovery of Goldfield, Nevada, in 1902, along with the earlier discovery of Tonopah in 1900, marked the revival of mining in Nevada. Mining production, which had escalated after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, dropped to almost nothing with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s. Without continued mining production, the state entered what proved to be a twenty-year depression period that ultimately led some observers to suggest that Nevada be deprived of its statehood. Nevada was saved from further abuse by the new discoveries ...

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Overview

“The discovery of Goldfield, Nevada, in 1902, along with the earlier discovery of Tonopah in 1900, marked the revival of mining in Nevada. Mining production, which had escalated after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, dropped to almost nothing with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s. Without continued mining production, the state entered what proved to be a twenty-year depression period that ultimately led some observers to suggest that Nevada be deprived of its statehood. Nevada was saved from further abuse by the new discoveries in the southern part of the state.

The Tonopah boom was moderate, as was the early development at Goldfield. Then in the winter of 1904 a rich gold strike at Goldfield set off a boom reminiscent of the earlier days of the Comstock rush. Within a short time Goldfield was the largest city in Nevada. The boom, however, did not last and Goldfield, confronted with a major labor dispute, was headed for oblivion.

It is the basic story of discovery, boom, and bust that Professor Zanjani recounts. Hers, however, is not the ordinary history of a boom mining camp. It is a social documentary of Goldfield as it moved from discovery, through its boom period and into decline. Based on a massive research effort, Goldfield is more than just a recitation of facts. Zanjani gives the reader a detailed look into the lives of the people of Goldfield as they worked, played, ate, slept, and died during the various phases of the camp’s history. I know of no other mining boom camp that has been covered in this fashion. It is a unique story, well-told by a literary craftsman. It is, in the opinion of this writer, a classic of its kind.”

—Russell R. Elliott, in Prefatory Note to Goldfield

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Those familiar only with Nevada's 19th-century mining past and the Comstock Lode will find much of interest in Zanjani's latest book. This entertaining history of Goldfield, the last gold rush town, builds on the author's earlier work in Nevada mining, labor, and political history and updates Russell Elliott's Nevada's Twentieth-Century Mining Boom (1966). Zanjani opens with personal stories of discovery, beginning with a gold find by a Shoshone Indian that helped end 20 years of depression in the state. Her greatest contribution, however, lies in providing a real sense of life and death in a gold rush town that flashed and faded early in this century.--Nicholas C. Burckel, Washington Univ. Libs., St. Louis
Booknews
The story of the last great goldrush on the Western mining frontier--in Goldfield, Nevada, peaking about 1906. Beautifully told, with great attention to the lives of ordinary people. Includes historical photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804009614
  • Publisher: Nevada Publications
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 1,454,866
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Prefatory Note
Pt. 1 The Development of the Mines
I Tom Fisherman's Gold: The Discovery, 1901-1902 3
II Al Myers' Gold: The Early Years, 1903-1905 14
III Vincent St. John's Gold: The Boom Year, 1906 33
IV George Wingfield's Gold: The Decline, 1907-1910 56
Pt. 2 Life in the Last Boomtown
V This Godforsaken Spot: The Setting and the City 73
VI Strange Mingling: The Population 94
VII From the Pretty Little Cottage to Boot Hill: Love and Death 109
VIII In Search of Pleasurable Excitements: Entertainment 131
IX Scalping Boards and Legal Lollipop: Business and the Professions 158
X Getting Ours: Highgrading and Other Crimes 183
XI Hang Me If You Will: Homicide 195
XII The Power to Rule or Ruin: Politics 214
The End of the Last Gold Rush 232
Notes 251
Bibliography 269
Index 277
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