Alpha

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Eureka County

Alpha served as an early and important stop on the Eureka and Palisade Railroad. By 1874, Alpha began serving as a main stop. By early 1875, Alpha was a booming freight and supply camp. A town formed that included saloons, stores, railroad supply shops and a hotel big enough to serve 75 guests. W.L. Pritchard founded a stage and freighting line at Alpha. Pritchard was a partner in the Eureka & Palisade Railroad. The intention was to stop the line at Alpha. Since Pritchard was a major player in the freighting business, he was able to reroute traffic from the Central Pacific line near modern day I-80, down to Alpha, via the Eureka & Palisade line. From there, he controlled the supply route down to Hamilton and the White Pine District. His stage line also took travelers south to Eureka. This soon became one of the busier freighting and passenger routes in the area. By the Fall of 1875, all hopes that Alpha would become a thriving and permanent camp had died. The Eureka & Palisade Railroad finished the rail line into Eureka against the wishes of Pritchard. A new boom was also taking place at Mineral Hill. Most of the businesses either moved to Palisade, or into Mineral. The camp of Mineral acted as a supply camp for Mineral Hill and the Mineral Hill mines. Mineral and Mineral Hill were located to the north of Alpha. The post office didn't actually open until after the main hub of activity at Alpha had already ceased. By 1800, the population had fallen to only 25 residents. The post office closed in 1886.

Post Office: March 20, 1877 to February 6, 1886; August 28, 1919 to November 15, 1924. It has been stated that this second opening was affiliated with the Alpha Ranch, rather than the actual town of Alpha, which had been abandoned years prior.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: It sits off the side of Highway 279. I've passed this spot going to and from work probably a couple hundred times. I am unsure of the year that I actually took the photo. Nothing is left to see of Alpha from the road. I attempted to drive back into the area to look for any remnants in the sagebrush, but I ran into a gate post for a private ranch. Not knowing the boundaries between public and private land, I didn't chance getting out and looking around. If there is anything still left of Alpha, other than a lot of cows, it can't be much.

Sources: Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (By: Stanley W. Paher); Romancing Nevada's Past- Ghost Towns and Historic Sites of Eureka, Lander and White Pine Counties (By: Shawn Hall); Nevada Post Offices- An Illustrated History (By: James Gamett and Stanley W. Paher); Nevada Place Names- A Geographical Dictionary (By: Helen S. Carlson).