Does the ghost of Phillips still haunt this site?
Ghost Town (Unoccupied)
Circa 1860 to 1950's
Gold was originally
discovered here in the summer of 1860 by prospectors From Monoville who were out
exploring a gulch high above Bridgeport. They patented their find "The
Masonic Mining District". At the time of their find, Aurora and Bodie
were the popular towns attracting all the attention. In 1900 a 16 year old boy
from Bodie discovered gold in the middle of Masonic Gulch, followed in 1902 by
three prospectors who founded the Pittsburg - Liberty Mine after they located a
rich quartz ledge south of the very same gulch. Shortly after prospectors began
to arrive and fill the gulch with make shift shacks and hovels. Three separate
settlements soon developed along the gulch. As the settlements became popular
and buildings were erected, the township took on three names, one for each
section of town. (Upper, Lower and Middle Town). During its peak between 1906
and 1911, the small Masonic Mining District boasted more than 40 claims. In
1904 construction began on new roads linking Masonic with Bodie and Bridgeport.
Lumber from Mono Mills was transported in to town by large horse teams. In
1906 a stage line began operation between Masonic and Wellington, Nevada. In
1907 an additional stage line was added between Masonic and Conway Ranch near
Mono Lake. At the time Conway Ranch served as the access point of all travel
in to the area from the south as Monoville did years earlier. Masonic became
home to about 1000 residents and businesses that included Saloons, Hotels,
Boarding houses, mine offices, stables, butcher shop, stores and even its own
school house and post office. One business that Masonic did without was a
brothel. Masonic became a town of strong work ethic and family unity, unlike
its Southern counter part of Bodie, Masonic had no record of any murders,
shootings or violence. The town started to suffer decline around 1912 as gold
prices were in decline and the ore being extracted was lacking. By 1929 only a
hand full of prospectors and their families remained. Lower Town became
completely abandoned as the last 12 residents reoccupied the more favorable
Middle and Upper Town. The last Resident was "Heinie"
Heiniemyer who worked the Chemung tunnel in to the 1950's.
Other well known ghost town
explorers claim this site has paranormal activity after dark.Although I never had any
reason to believe the place was haunted or unusual during my overnight
excursions here, it should be known that one of the original prospectors here
was found at the bottom of a mine shaft in the towns later years. To this day
no one knows if it was an accident or if foul play was at hand.
Hey Frank, you forgot your toilet paper!