Not far from Hillsboro lies the town of Lake Valley which was founded in 1878. Situated in an area of intermittent spring fed lakes, one was named Silver Lake, not for the silver subsequently found in the area but for the sparkle and clarity of the water.
The original townsite was moved after the creek overflowed and moved again when the Bridal Chamber Mine was discovered. The mine contained a blanket of silver ore reputed to be 10 to 20 feet thick. At its peak the town had a population of 1,000 people but as with so many silver mining towns when silver was devalued in the 1890’s the town died and most people moved away.
I think this is an old Plymouth?
The mine entrance and the remains of the old railroad station.
In 1895 a fire in the saloon building owned by William Cotton rampaged through the town, as most of the buildings were built of decade old tinder dry milled lumber, nearly all the town especially the commercial district was soon reduced to ashes. It was thought to be arson and a man named Abernathy was jailed.
An old photograph of the town.
This was once the busy commercial district.
Foundations, bits of glass and tins are all that line the road, with the exception of a huge safe that was blown up into the air and remains where it landed.
The town is now owned by the BLM, although the mines and some of the houses are still privately owned, in fact one of the house was lived in until the owner died in the 1980’s. A museum in the old school house which also doubled as a community hall is interesting and a walking tour guides you around the site. We spent some time chatting with the knowledgeable caretakers who told us things not to miss.
Inside the school house.
Despite the day being hot and sunny a gusty wind whistled around the buildings, lifting corners on the corrugated iron roofs, sending dust devils swirling through the town, the old Conoco sign swinging creakily back and forth really perfecting the ghost town atmosphere.
It’s a really interesting place to visit, there is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.
Have fun, we are!