Ghost Town Explorer
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AURORA NEVADA
Originally Aurora California

Unoccupied Ghost Town
Mineral County
Circa 1860 to 1916

Aurora Nevada is a ghost town located 13 miles east of its more famous successor Bodie California. Slowly being reclaimed by the beautiful terrain that it once stood upon, now almost nothing remains. The lack of available wood and the towns thirst for growth may be the main factor in its disappearance after it was abandoned in the early 1900ís.

Its beginning started on August 25th 1860 when prospectors E.R. Hicks, J.M. Corey and James Braley who had failed to make a name for themselves at Monoville - Mono Diggings, found an ore body 30 miles due east while out prospecting. News first spread back to prospectors at the diggings in Monoville which eventually caused the demise of that town. By 1861 an official town was being laid out by Joshua Clayton. Whole buildings were being hauled out of Monoville to the newly forming town of Aurora. When word had finally reached Virginia City and California mining towns to the West, an eastern rush ensued. Lack of wood materials in the area created a need for bricks which business men and speculators gladly arranged. Organized transportation from Virginia City, Carson City and Benton followed. Monoville, now almost deserted, became a stage and re-supply for all traffic entering Aurora from the south. That year over 600 residents called Aurora home and hundreds of mining claims had been staked all over the surrounding hills. Mining Companies were being formed and mills erected.

On March 2nd 1861 the Nevada Territory was formed by congress and there was great confusion whether Aurora was in Nevada or California as originally thought. Until Washington sent out land surveyors in 1863, residents of Aurora were walking from one side of town to the other to vote for two different County and State officials during elections. It was September 23, 1863 that the results of the official land survey was made public and Aurora was found to be in the territory of Nevada. There are many stories to be said about Aurora and the famous names that came through her. Eventually the strikes at Bodie would lead most residents out of Aurora, but not before she produced over $30 million in ore from her mines, and grew a population of over 10 thousand soles. Later attempts at revitalizing Aurora had all but failed, including an attempt that would create a new settlement to the east named "Mangum". Soon after the nation had gone to war and the makeshift town of Mangum was deserted as well as the buildings that had been reoccupied in Aurora. Most wood constructed buildings that still remained were hauled off to other towns or stripped for firewood. Bricks were removed from exterior walls and hauled off for reuse. Aurora slowly slipped in to darkness.

According to published time-lines, Auroraís population suffered greatly in 1865. Only two mills were still in operation. In 1866 much of the town was leveled in a Great fire That burned most of the business district. A second fire followed in 1873, and by 1880 the population had dropped down to less than 500 persons. According to town records there were over 100 abandoned buildings remaining in the town in the early 1940ís. In 1948 the Cain family, now residing in Bodie and Bridgeport California, vowed to tear down the remaining buildings for safety reasons, salvaging only the useable bricks. By 1953 the town had vanished, appearing much as it does today.

Many authors indicate in their writings that Aurora was nothing like her California neighbor to the West. That Aurora was a quiet family style town. However, the facts indicate differently. There were 2 deaths by violence in 1863. Only three years after the town was founded. A violent group of outlaws led by John Dailey were quiet active in the town and area at the time. They killed a stage coach operator; Billy Johnson on the West Walker river after he refused to answer questions about the death of a fellow gang member. In a separate incident, four other murder suspects were hung by a town vigilante committee despite warnings from Governor Nye.

There are not a lot of remains of the town today. The sage brush has claimed most of the crumbled foundations. To find evidence of the towns former self one has to walk the site and scrub through the brush but the visit is certainly worth the trip. The cemetery site on the northern hill is very much in tact for its age and deserves a visit.

 

Ghost Town Explorer
Aurora Main Street circa 1920's
Contributed by Doc Watson in memory of Wally Davis.

Ghost Town Explorer
Judge Murphy House Aurora Nevada circa 1920's
Contributed by Doc Watson in memory of Wally Davis

Ghost Town Explorer

High Desert Drifter
Aurora Town Site facing West several years after being abandoned.

Ghost Town Explorer
Aurora Town Site facing East several years after being abandoned. closest wood building once housed the stamp machine pictured below.

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Current Aurora Town Site facing East.

Ghost Town Explorer
Current Aurora Town Site facing West from center of town.

Ghost Town Explorer
The town site is now littered with fallen buildings.

Ghost Town Explorer
Remaining stamp machine, mill building has since collapsed.

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Mine remains near town site.

Ghost Town Explorer
Aurora's well preserved cemetery.

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Mine Entrance loosing to the earths pressures.

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This wall may be all thats left of the towns bank building.

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Once a small business off of towns prominant business district.

Ghost Town Explorer
Crumbling walls of the popular Wingate Hall.


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