Tonopah was settled when Jim Butler discovered a rich vein of silver ore in 1900. Within a year, the rush was on with such fervor that it pulled Nevada out of a twenty-year depression. The boom lasted off and on until about 1915, when the mines began to play out, but Tonopah has endured over the years as the seat of Nye County.
The town is nestled between Mt. Brougher and Mt. Oddie. Atop Mt. Oddie stands a relic from the mining bonanza—the headframe of the Mizpah Mine, one of the most productive in the area. The town itself is laid out in a rather haphazard fashion, generally following the topography of the land, with one small grid stretching toward the southwest. Its early isolation favored the use of local materials for buildings; Tonopah had abundant supplies of granite, found in many surviving buildings. Tonopah's economic slumber since the 1910s has protected many early structures. Contrasting sharply with them, mobile homes and trailers also occupy town lots today.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.