With more than 90 years of history in the mining industry, Newmont is one of the world’s largest gold producers. And I was lucky enough to be given a brief tour of their Carlin, Nevada mine and learned a bit about Newmont Corps. Rich legacy that’s linked to many key industrial milestones of the 1900’s.
Colonel William Boyce Thompson founded the Newmont Company in 1916. He named the company “Newmont” because, “he grew up in Montana and made his money in New York.” Today Newmont owns or controls approximately 2.8 million acres in Nevada. Our Nevada operations account for approximately one-third of Newmont’s worldwide gold production. Their 11 Nevada surface mines, eight underground mines and 13 processing facilities operate as an integrated unit and, together, they boast the widest variety of processing methods of any gold mining complex in the world. It’s a very impressive operation. In addition to gold, their operations also produce silver and copper as by-products.
Fifty years ago on May 4, 1965, Newmont poured the first gold bar (75lbs each) from the Carlin Mine marking the beginning one of the largest and most productive gold mining districts in the world. Newmont Carlin Mine has since generated millions of ounces of gold, created thousands of local jobs and helped the communities of northern Nevada grow and thrive over the last five decades. For more information: http://www.newmont.com/operations-and-projects/north-america/nevada-us/operation-facts/default.aspx
Before Newmont started operations in the area, there was gold found in the distant Jarbridge mountains. One of Nevada’s more unique mining camps holds a past as colorful as the scenery that surrounds it. You have to want to go there. Getting there requires 50 miles on seriously dusty, washboard roads one car wide with hairpin turns through the mountains. Maybe this is why the Shoshone didn’t populate the area, or it could be Tsawhawbitts.
According to Shoshone legend, a giant cannibal named Tsawhawbitts roamed nearby City of Rocks and Jarbridge canyon looking for unsuspecting souls to devour. Shoshones have avoided that region for fear of the evil giant who could capture and devour them.
Prospector’s efforts in this forsaken remote area seemed futile until 1909 and a rush for the riches led to the Jarbridge Mining Co. in 1911. At that time the town exploded to 1,500 people and boasted a schoolhouse, community jail (which still stands) and a variety of businesses. The mine was, at one time, the largest producing gold Mine in Nevada.
Jarbridge even had its share of problems with the law and has the distinction of being the location of the last stage robbery in America. In 1916 the stage drive was killed, and the culprit fled with the mail and $3,000. He was captured and tried by the bloodied palm print he left on a discarded envelope. This Jarbridge incident was “the first time a palm or fingerprint had ever been admitted as evidence in a court trial in the world.”
Then came the fire of 1919. A barrel of whiskey blew up in the bars basement. In all, 20 businesses and log cabins burned to the ground, including the telephone office, movie house and dance hall. Residents fought to get powerlines after that claiming powerlines wouldn’t have fueled the fire like their gas lamps – and they won.
Today Jarbridge has every right claiming to the title of most isolated town in the lower 48 states. I can attest to that! After a long and bumpy drive over Bear Creek Pass, I found Jarbridge tucked amongst a gurgling stream, and tall peaks, surrounded by miles of some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen. The areas pristine (because nobody can get to them) rivers and streams are abundant with whitefish and trout. The town is also popular with wilderness hunters seeking elk, mule deer and other wildlife.
So if you find yourself with a yearning to explore one of our most isolated treasures, the town of Jarbridge, Nevada awaits. Just drive a 4-wheel drive pick-up, have food and plenty of water with you and keep an eye out for Tsawhawbitts. You’ll be glad you went. And you’ll have quite a story to tell.
To learn about the 2000 Jarbridge Shovel Brigade: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2001/01/shovel-rebellion