Contact

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Elko County

AKA: East Contact; Contact City; Salmon City; Salmon River; Kit Carson; Porter; Portis; Alabama.

While original discoveries were made here as early as 1870, there was no original boom or rush to the area. More interest came with new discoveries in 1872. Several mining districts opened in the area. Those are associated with some of the names listed in the AKA section above. While Conact had not yet been established as a town, a hotel did open here in 1874. This served as a stopping point on the Toana and Idaho freight line. In 1876, an employee with the Southern Pacific Railroad made claims in the area and hired many Chinese workers to work the area on commission. With the area being known as a large copper producer, copper was being shipped all the way to Swansea Wales until 1880. Contact would continue on as a small camp throughout the late 19th century. In 1897, a smelter was built here but failed to work from the start. Contact would have its most lucrative period after the turn of the 20th century. In 1905, the camp was moved to a lower and more hospitable area near the Salmon River. Businesses were established, to include saloons, store and hotel. The population went from 85 residents in 1900 to 300 residents in 1908. By 1909, the three separate townsites of Contact, Contact City and East Contact had all been established. A newspaper called the "Miner" came into print in 1913. By 1915, the area also had a barber shop and the 35 room Contact Hotel. Contact was a large copper producer throughout the World War I era. The 1920's saw Contact really surge. A two-story office building was built using local granite. A three-story, 50-room hotel called the "Fairview" also opened. Contact became a stop on the Oregon Shortline Railroad between Twin Falls, Idaho and Wells, Nevada in 1925-1926. This allowed ore to be shipped to Salt Lake City for processing. Contact begin to experience ups and downs in the 1930's. In 1935, several businesses still remained and an Episcopal Church was built in 1936. A fire in 1942 destroyed a number of homes, businesses and the church. A World War II demand for copper in 1943 gave Contact a little bit of life back. Another fire hurt Contact in 1951, burning down the last hotel in town. The 1950's saw the last activity that would take place at Contact.

The following is a quote from the Nevada Historical Marker at Contact: "During its 1930 zenith, Contact boasted two hotels, a jail, a school, saloons and a post office. Enterprising businessmen brought electrical power and a water system to the town, anticipating a boost from the OSL (Author Note* Oregon Short Line Railroad). However, a depressed copper marker canceled Contact's dreams of permanence."

Post Office: February 6, 1897 to August 31, 1962.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: July 2016. Contact sits not too far from Highway 93. The road into Contact is good. The prominent building seen in the photos below is the old Commercial Club.