Mill City

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Pershing County

AKA: Centralia; Millville

Before going into the history, there wasn't much milling that ever took place in Mill City. Dave Basso used almost the very same opening line in "Ghosts of the Humboldt Region- A Glimpse into Pershing County's Past". Depending on the historian that you are reading, Mill City sprang up in 1862 or 1863. Many new silver discoveries were being located in the surrounding mountains. The town soon included stores, saloons, a telegraph office, a post office and a mill. The new settlement was to act as the milling hub for the area. If you go to the Humboldt City page on this website, you will see a small passage that discusses the plan for the Humboldt Canal. Water was to be diverted from the Humboldt River for use as a source of power in the ore processing mills. The route would run from a point near Golconda to Mill City. A plan for as many as 60 mills with 500 stamps were planned along this route. Paher stated that the plan contained as many as 900 stamps. Another plan for the canal included shipping and freighting via boat. If ore could be reduced closer to the sources of that ore, it would also drastically reduce the cost of shipping. The canal was also to assist in area agricultural operations. There were huge plans not only for this canal, but for the town Mill City. Many miles of the canal were dug at a cost of about $100,00, but it was never finished. There were several factors that led to the death of the canal. The winter of 1864-1865 froze the ground so bad, that it was undiggable. They never did resume digging after this point. Talk of the railroad also caused concern for the future use of the canal as a shipping method. Ore also began to play out in towns like Humboldt City. When the railroad finally did arrive in the area, it was built right past Mill City. This was a big break for the town. Mill City simply switched courses. For many years, it acted a railroad shipping hub for the area. In later years, the town of Chafey sprang up at the site of old Dun Glen. Mill City again acted as shipping hub for the new boom. A stage line also ran between the two towns. After Chafey folded, Mill City caught another break. Tungsten was located in the surrounding hills. This lasted until the late 1950's. After that point, Mill City finally began to fade away. This is almost a story of a town too tough to die.

Post Office: June 23, 1864 to July 24, 1865; June 3, 1868 to February 7, 1870; March 1, 1870 to March 18, 1919 (at this time, the post office switched from operating in Humboldt County and began operating out of Pershing County.) March 18, 1919 to December 31, 1948.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: I've driven past here dozens of times, but never stopped. My thinking being, that it was close to the road and would always be there. I always had some place else to be. In May of 2022, while en route to the Comstock, we finally stopped. I've read that the remaining relic is from the old jail. That would make sense with the heavy bars in the window. It's not too far from the pavement. But you will have to take a jaunt of about a 1/4 mile down a dirt road that doesn't look to get much maintenance. It's not a four-wheel drive road or anything. Just assess and drive accordingly if you are taking the family sedan with thin street tires.