Lewis

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Lander County

AKA: Lower Town, Middle Town, Upper Town (Dean)

Although discoveries were made in the area as early as 1867, no real activity took place here until 1874. By that time, several mines were producing. Other producing mines continued to be discovered into 1875. The ten-stamp Eagle Mill was soon built at the mouth of the canyon. There were three separate portions of Lewis located in the canyon called Lower Town, Middle Town and Upper Town. These three sections of town eventually included stores, a hotel, boarding houses, meat market, lumberyard, saloons, dance hall, drugstore and a miner's union hall. Apparently, Lewis had an opium problem as well. By 1878, the population of the entire stretch of Lewis was approximately 200 residents. By 1880, the Nevada Central Railroad was completed. Plans were soon made to create a spur line into Lewis Canyon. The was completed by 1881 and was named the Battle Mountain and Lewis Railway. The population grew to approximately 700 residents. Two more mills were built in the area. These were the Highland Chief (40 stamps) and the Star Grove (15 stamps). The Eagle Mill also expanded to 15 stamps as well. By 1881, a jail, school and brewery also came to Lewis. A newspaper called the Lewis Weekly Herald began publishing. Unfortunately for Lewis, a major labor dispute broke out at the Star Grove Mine. Wages were cut and miners refused to work. This caused the closing of the mine. When it was later re-opened, a violent conflict broke out. Three men were shot, one of which died from his wounds. This caused a major uproar. Hundreds of miners from Austin supposedly headed towards Lewis to aid their fellow miners. Wages were restored and the dispute was resolved before any further violence occurred. Although the mining dispute was resolved, Lewis was in serious trouble. In 1881, a boiler explosion caused serious damage to the Betty O'Neal Mine located not too far from Lewis Canyon. In late 1881, a fire destroyed much of the town. By early 1882, the Battle Mountain and Lewis Railway was suffering major financial difficulties and closed the line. During that same period of time, the Star Grove Mining Company and the Eagle Mill both went bankrupt. By 1883, the newspaper stopped publishing, the Star Grove Mill was torn down and the Highland Chief Mill closed. A small revival in 1885 saw a little bit of activity, to include use of the railway again. This was short lived. A miners strike put a stop to any new production. The railway was torn up in 1890. By 1894, there were only a couple dozen residents left in Lewis Canyon and the post office moved to Dean. Not much has occurred in the canyon since. Although the Betty O'Neal Mine did operate and produce well into the early half of the 20th century.

Post Office: Gamett and Paher's post office book states that the post office didn't leave Lewis until 1901. But in Paher's Nevada ghost towns book, he said that the post office moved to Dean in 1894. Shawn Hall backed that date up, saying it moved in 1894 as well. The dates listed in the Gamett/ Paher post office book are as follows:
Lewis: April 5, 1878 to August 31, 1901, with a note that says 'Mail to Dean'.
Dean: October 18, 1894 to November 30, 1905.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: September 2016. We made this our base camp while hunting antelope. We camped up the canyon in the cottonwoods next to the creek. This is a really cool spot. If I remember right, the dirt road was good up to the point where we camped. Unfortunately, the guy that I was with isn't much of a ghost towner. He'd get irritated when I wanted to stop and take pictures of historical stuff. So I don't have many photographs to add to the page.