Rhodes Marsh

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Mineral County

AKA: Rhodes Salt Marsh; Virginia Salt Marsh

Salt was discovered here in 1862. It was originally known as the Virginia Salt Marsh. Camels were imported to the area to haul salt to the Virginia City mills. The discovery of salt at this location allowed the mills on the Comstock to stop importing expensive salt from San Francisco. At one point, so many freighting camels were entering Virginia City, that the town put an ordinance on the hours that they were allowed to enter the city. Unfortunately for Rhodes, this only lasted until 1863. New salt discoveries were made at Sand Springs in Churchill County and the Comstock mills began purchasing their salt from this new source. This didn't spell the end for Rhodes though. They continued to supply mining towns such as Candelaria, Belleville, Belmont and Aurora. Borax was another commodity mined at Rhodes. The borax was shipped to California for processing. The borax discovered here was interesting in comparison to other borax discoveries. It was discovered in the mud a few inches below the surface. The loosely packed crystals resembled cotton balls. They were extracted by hand by Chinese and Native American laborers. By 1882, borax had become a substantial commodity at Rhodes. Based on the increase in mining, a Carson & Colorado Railroad station was built at Rhodes. The area stayed active at least through 1911. In 1928, a man named P.S. Williams convinced a group of San Francisco investors that the marsh would be a good source of Sodium Sulphate. The Rhodes Alkali & Chemical Corporation was formed. A processing plant was erected in 1930. The first attempts at processing were unsuccessful. From 1932 to 1933, a plant operated that was capable of producing 150 tons of sodium sulphate per day. A total of 20,000 tons of Sodium Sulphate were produced here during this period.

Post Office: Oct. 2, 1893 to Oct.19, 1907; May 4, 1908 to Feb. 10, 1911 (Esmeralda County); Feb. 10, 1911 to Oct. 14, 1911 (Mineral County).

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: April 2013. We made it in my wife's two-wheel drive sedan.

Sources: Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (By: Stanley W. Paher); Mines of Churchill and Mineral Counties (By: William O. Vanderburg); Nevada Post Offices- An Illustrated History (By: James Gamett & Stanley W. Paher); Nevada Place Names- A Geographical Dictionary (By: Helen S. Carlson); USGS MRDS Reports- 10103596 Rhodes Marsh; 10149543 Rhodes Marsh; E Clampus Vitus- Walker Lake Posse #6000 & Julia C. Bulette Chapter #1864- Historical Plaque from 1998 titled 'Rhodes Marsh'.