Gold Creek

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Elko County

AKA: Island Mountain; Penrod; Goldfield; Wyoming District

Initial discoveries were made in the Island Mountain area in 1869. The Wyoming Mining District was organized. The town of Bruno City located a few miles from here was the hub of activity at that time. Penrod, Russell and Newton made new placer discoveries in the area in 1873. The Island Mountain Mining District was formed in late 1873. The original camp formed here was named after Penrod. Emanuel Penrod had previously been a key figure in ore discoveries on the Comstock in 1859. In the early days at Penrod, the camp held a large Chinese population. The camp contained a hotel, a Chinese store and a Blacksmith shop. By 1875, the camp had a population of approximately 100 residents. During this period of time, a Chinatown had formed above Penrod at Coleman Canyon. Population had dropped down to 70 residents by 1880. the remaining placer miners were mainly Chinese. Although the 1880's remained a slow period for the district, equipment was actually brought in, and a post office operated from 1884 to 1887. Historians appear to differ about the period between 1890 and 1895. One historian stated that the district was abandoned in 1890, until a major mining boom occurred in 1895. Another historian speaks about activity that took place here during those years. It appears that they both agree that activity surged in 1895. A new town was platted east of the original site. The new town eventually contained many saloons, the three-story Gold Creek Hotel, a stage line to Elko, lodging houses, stores, the Gold Creek Lumber Company, a meat market and a publication called the "Gold Creek News". Professionals, to include doctors, assayers and engineers also opened for business in the district. By 1897, the population was estimated to be 500 residents. As with many other Nevada mining camps and towns, diminishing ore veins caused the district to fade quickly by the late 1890's. By the turn of the century, Gold Creek was in major decline. Many businesses were moved to other places. After 1900, only minor mining activity has taken place here. There were only a few dozen people left here by 1910. Not much remains at Gold Creek today. There is an old wooden sign stating that this was the site of Gold Creek. Next to this sign are an E Clampus Vitus historical marker and an old section of sidewalk from the original town. There is supposed to be a cemetery near here with one gravestone left. The gravestone is for a miner named Shelley Dunlap who was killed here on May 21, 1897. His death occurred when a rope broke on a bucket of tools that was being lowered. The bucket struck him in the head and killed him instantly. There are supposed to be other burials here from the 1870's.

Post Office: May 5, 1884 to February 28, 1887 (at Island Mountain); February 24, 1897 to February 15, 1929 (at Gold Creek).

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: I've been through here since, but the photographs are from 2016. This area is a long way from any convenience. The dirt road has been pretty good every time I've been through here. With that said, this is a very cold and snowy area. Be careful of winter conditions, as well as spring runoff or storms. This area is very scenic and beautiful. As with most of Elko County, the area around here still remains a major cattle ranching area.