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The remaining buildings of this town, named after the old Manhattan Mines southwest of Belmont, stand in a narrow gulch in the Toquima Mountains not far from Belmont. Though mining began in the area in the nineteenth century, only after major discoveries spurred by the mining booms in Tonopah and Goldfield did Manhattan become a boom town in 1905. Its prosperity was short-lived, as many obstacles slowed development, but Manhattan experienced a forty-year period of production, much longer than that of many mining towns and camps in this part of the state. Like Tonopah and Goldfield, Manhattan fell on hard times in 1907. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 forced investors living there to shift their money to rebuilding the city, thereby draining money from towns in Nevada and starting a bust exacerbated by the Panic of 1907. However, Manhattan persevered as the result of new discoveries. At its peak, the town had nearly 1,000 inhabitants.

Today about sixty year-round residents live in Manhattan, mostly in trailers and old houses, interspersed with abandoned dwellings, commercial buildings, and a few new structures. Some old cabins display a form of exterior sheathing popular in the region—tin cans flattened and nailed onto the building's frame. Headframes atop the hills are a potent reminder of Manhattan's past.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta

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