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Potts Ranch

Nye County

AKA: Potts

The area was established as a cattle ranching community in the 1870's by William Potts. The mountains around Potts were home to many large mining operations and camps. The Potts family continued to run cattle in the area until the family finally sold in 1944. The ranch sits in the Monitor Valley. For those of you unfamiliar with cattle ranching in the Monitor Valley, it is famous in more recent times for the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1990's and forward. The Hage family runs cattle just south of Potts. They battled the Forest Service and fought them in federal court for years. This was a state's rights battle and is well known in ranching communities throughout the west.

In 2020, I was deer hunting with my friend Tom. We got out and looked around for a while. Tom is a really smart guy who likes to ponder things. While looking around, we discussed what it would have been like to live at a place like Potts, pre- 20th century. Places like Tonopah and Las Vegas hadn't yet been established. What would it have required to re-supply on simple items like flour or sugar. Bread would not have been purchased in loaf form every couple days. It would have been baked fresh. Running out of an item like flour would not have been an option. A trip to the store would have required travel to Belmont 41 miles to the south, Austin 68 miles to the northwest, or Eureka 65 miles to the northeast. That's a lengthy drive to a grocery store, even by today's standards. Back then, it would have required hitching a horse team to a buckboard, loading all required travel supplies/ horse feed, and traveling by non-maintained dirt road. Winter snow and roads washed out by storms or spring runoff would be factors. It would likely require staying overnight somewhere in the middle at least once on the way there and the way back. It may also require getting a room for the night in town as well. My friends are blue collar, outdoor types who know how to hunt, fish, camp in wall tents with wood stoves, etc. Sometimes guys like us may think that we're more rugged than most. When I ponder the type of person who settled the west and lived at places like Potts, it quickly puts it into perspective. Maybe we're not as rugged as we think we are. These were rugged people, 365 days a year. We're rugged people a few times a year for a few days at a time. We then return to hot showers and 200 channel television. I don't know why I decided that the Potts page was the right place for this rant. With the conversation that me and Tom had while there, it just seemed appropriate.

Post Office: August 12, 1898 to October 31, 1941.

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: I've been to Potts many times. The photographs are from 2018. My last trip was in the Fall of 2020. The main road through the Monitor Valley is a good, dirt road. However, weather is definitely a seasonal factor. This area gets a lot of snow and plenty of spring runoff. The Monitor Valley, especially where Potts is located, is a long way from any populated place. For example, see the distances described above. There is a sign once you turn north towards Belmont that states that there are no more services for well over 100 miles. Travel prepared. There are also some stone relics on the other side of the foothill, about 1/4 mile east of the ranch.

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