SOUTH OF DEVILS GATE

Silver City, Nevada, was established in 1850 and had an exciting first few years. In the Paiute War of May 1860, the townspeople constructed a wooden cannon for protection, while one of the first stamp mills in Nevada was built later that year. No, before you ask, I have no clue how a wooden cannon is constructed but I suspect that, for the good of not only the Paiute but the folks operating it, it was never used.

By 1861, it had a population of around 1200, with accompanying saloons, hotels and boarding houses, as well as stabling for those travelling between the Comstock Lode mines of Virginia City and processing mills. Devils Gate, however, was a frequent haunt of highwaymen. Devils Gate, to the north of Silver City, was a toll road (now the US-342) which shortened the journey to Gold Hill and Virginia City and cut out the winding Occidental Grade of what is now US-341. Unfortunately, the 342 was closed for roadwork while I was there, meaning I had to take the long twisty route to Gold Hill. Twice, actually, because I got lost. It’s not the sort of road you really want to do twice if you don’t have to…

Silver City managed to thrive until the completion of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in 1869 after which the population quickly moved away. Now about 100 or so people live there, most of whom probably knew I was there. It is a little bit The Hills Have Eyes. Apparently, the cemetery is worth a visit, but it appeared to be on the other side of the road closure.

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