The first ore shipped out of Cortez to Austin in 1862. The original work was conducted by a group of Mexican miners. By 1864, a mining partnership formed that included the legendary George Hearst of Virginia City and Deadwood fame. The Cortez area experienced a series of ups and downs over the years. Modern day mining still occurs in the Cortez area. The prominent mines of the past include the St. Louis, Aurora, Arctic, Benjamin Harrison and Garrison mines. Cortez straddles the Lander/ Eureka County line. Most of the remains of the old Cortez town site are in Lander County. The cemetery sits in Eureka County. The Cortez Mill sits partially in both counties.
There is a very large, active, mining operation known as Cortez right near the ghost town. When going to the ghost town, the mining operation has signs along the dirt road that point you towards the ghost town.
Post Office: Jan 1868 to Oct 1869, June 1892 to June 1915 & Jan 1923 to Feb 1943
Last Trip/ Road Conditions: Sept. 2016. It was bumpy, but I don’t believe that I needed four-wheel drive. We got back out there in August of 2022 antelope hunting. A couple of the buildings are now collapsing. I did some side-by-sides in the photos section, so that you can see the difference with these buildings between 2016 and 2022.