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Lander County

Although modern reports have stated that Clinton and Geneva were located very close to each other on Birch Creek, in-depth research of the newspapers of the era show this to be incorrect. It appears that Clinton was located several miles to the south of Geneva. The entire write-up below regarding Clinton and Geneva will be redone soon. Clinton will be given its own section.

Clinton: Rich silver ore was discovered at Clinton in 1863. By early 1864, it was believed that Clinton would become one of the more prominent towns in the area. A post office and several businesses were established. Mines were located all the way up Birch Creek Canyon and Clinton acted as a supply hub for those mines. The mines included the Antiquarian, Chieftain, Comstock, Ellery, Clinton, Golden Eagle, Great Central and Masonic. Ore from the Antiquarian was said to have assayed as high as $1,000 per ton. By the end of 1864, the town was already in decline. The post office closed in December. In 1865, a four-stamp mill was built. The mill was said to have been a total failure and was closed by 1866. The town of Clinton completely died that same year.

Post Office: April 23, 1864 to December 23, 1864.

Geneva: The site of Geneva has links to the legend of the "Lost Breyfogle" gold. Rich silver discoveries were made at his location in March of 1863 by Charles Breyfogle and others. Later that year, the town of Geneva was laid out at the mouth of Birch Creek Canyon. Population estimates were said to have reached 300 to 500 residents by 1864. The town included a hotel owned by Breyfogle, blacksmith, saloon, store, stage office and a meat market. Breyfogle soon gave up the hotel and headed south in search of new discoveries. It was during this excursion that the legend came about. As the legend goes, after he discovered a rich ledge of gold, he filled his boots with nuggets. He was eventually captured and held hostage by local indians. These indians eventually traded him back to whites in the area for food and supplies. Breyfogle was never able to remember exactly where he discovered the rich ledge... Although rich discoveries continued to be made near Geneva through 1865, there was no processing mill in the immediate area. A twenty-stamp mill was built in 1866 by the Big Smoky Mining Company. At the time of construction, ore from the Big Smoky mine was assaying as high as $300 per ton. By the time the mill was completed, ore was only assaying at $10 to $12 a ton. The silver in the ore was not even worth the expense of milling it. This mill only operated for a few days before shutting down. A post office actually opened at Geneva in mid 1867. As the story goes for so many Nevada mining camps, almost as quickly as the boom hits, it dies. By late 1868, Geneva was empty. A small revival began in 1916. It was dead by 1921 and Geneva has been totally abandoned ever since.

Post Office: June 20, 1867 to September 28, 1868.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: June 2022. The road up to the mouth of the canyon is a good, dirt road. The road stays good as you go up the canyon. When I say good, I mean that it is a typical Nevada, forested canyon road. Thin and dirt, but pretty smooth. I also mean that if you're in a truck, you won't need four-wheel drive unless conditions change. The term "good" doesn't mean that you should take your Camry or Prius. As you hit the top of the canyon, things change. We went all the way over the Toiyabes to Austin. This stretch is totally different. You will want four-wheel drive at a minimum for this. Quads or UTV's would be even better.

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