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Ophir Canyon

Nye County

AKA:  Twin River;  Toiyabe City; Ophir

Silver ore was first discovered here in 1863. The discoveries were made by a recluse named Bourland who kept the discoveries to himself. His discovery was soon leaked. In 1864, the Twin River Mining Co. was formed. John Murphy was one of the early prospectors. The Murphy Mill, which was completed in late 1866, was named after him. See the page for Ophir- Murphy Mill. A road was soon constructed, connecting Ophir to the Big Smoky Valley. Several bridges had to be constructed at creek crossings. By 1867, the population was approximately 400 residents. Businesses at Ophir included stores, saloons and a school. Freight was hauled in from Austin several times a week. The road into Ophir became a serious chore based on the steep, windy grade. I can attest to this! Starting in 1868, the ups and downs of Ophir began. Almost everybody had left Ophir. Although the Murphy Mine produced good ore, the costs of removing the ore ate up the profits. By late 1868, they had declared bankruptcy. 1869 and 1870 saw new exploration. However, labor disputes hurt the effort. White miners were angry at the cheap Chinese laborers that were being utilized. In 1872, a new ore body was discovered in the Murphy Mine and production was maintained beyond 1890. A few attempts at revival have occurred as late 1951-1952. However, nothing major occurred here after 1925. The first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Nye County was Richard Ryan in 1867. Ryan owned a miner's store. He was not a professional law enforcement officer. As a good citizen, he took the oath of office on the morning of his death. He was attempting to help settle a dispute over stolen mules. He was shot and killed in the gun battle that ensued. RIP Constable Richard Ryan.

The cemetery sits on a hillside at the mouth of the canyon, a few miles below the actual townsite. 

Post Office:  July 1862 to June 1871.

Fraternal Societies:  Odd Fellows.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: I've been to Ophir many times. The last trip was in July 2017. This trip is always rough. I highly suggest four-wheel drive. Quads are even better. We tried going up to the townsite in early February of 2015. There is a tight curve that is pretty rough. Add in February snow. Then throw in the four-wheel drive going out. Getting my truck backed out of there was a serious chore. Definitely one of the worst back country situations that I have been in. We never got to Ophir that trip. I’ve been there many other times though and I love it.

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