Modern Day Land Rush Coming Up in Goldfield

A land rush is nothing new to Goldfield.

The first land rush began almost two years after J. Butler, Tom Kendall, Harry Stimler and William Marsh located three gold claims in the Grandpa Mining District in what is now the Goldfield area on Dec. 4, 1902.

They named their claims the May Queen, the Land Storm, and the Kruger and recorded these claims on March 20, 1903. They continued to locate mining claims after the Goldfield Mining District was established.

After the Goldfield townsite was surveyed by Elmer Chute in September of 1903, the company auctioned off the town lots in what was the first land rush in Goldfield.

The population estimates for Goldfield ranged from 15,000 to 30,000 during the 1904 to 1910 years. The Esmeralda County seat moved from Hawthorne to Goldfield on May 1, 1907. The population rapidly declined after the mines played out.

The second land rush in Goldfield might well have occurred when Esmeralda County Treasurer A.C. Roach executed tax deeds to seven pieces of property in Goldfield in August 1905. The treasurer sold all seven pieces of property to Mrs. J.W. Fapp for back taxes and costs.

One of the lots sold for $ 9.50. (County treasurers may sell real property when a landowner fails to pay property taxes for a three-year period.)

Originally, Goldfield was located on federal land. The federal government surveyed the Goldfield Townsite in 1909. District Court Judge Theron Stevens executed more than 1,250 deeds in 1910 to the buyers of the town lots. Until these deeds were executed, the residents were mere squatters on the land.

Among the 1,250 deeds executed was the deed to the famous Goldfield Hotel. The hotel was built in 1908 and Stevens conveyed the hotel to the owners, the Bonanza Hotel Company. George Wingfield was one of the principals in the company.

Many years passed since those first tax sales in 1905. In 2000, Esmeralda County held a huge land sale with more than 100 pieces of property sold for back taxes, raising more than $212,000.

More than 1,000 people attended last year's sale. This year's land rush will be held on the weekend of Aug. 25-26. County Treasurer De Ann Siri will auction off more 50 pieces of land and five mining claims in Cuprite (south of Goldfield) and one mining claim located elsewhere in the county. Some of the Goldfield town lots are located on U.S. 95, and there are whole city blocks for sale.

Esmeralda County is one of the few counties in Nevada that does not have any zoning laws beyond the state law.

There is a minimum bid on all lots to cover back taxes, interest, costs, and 25 percent of the market value of the property. The bids range from $300 to $30,495 with most minimum bids in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. The Coaldale Junction truck stop is for sale, but has some EPA cleanup requirements, if purchased.

The land rush celebration weekend includes tours of the famous Goldfield Hotel, a dinner at the hotel with the same menu as served when the hotel opened in June 1908, a parade, street dance, arts and crafts, food, auction of surplus county property, and other entertainment. Walking tour maps are available for visitors.

Goldfield is located on U.S. 95 approximately 170 miles north of Las Vegas and 260 miles south of Reno. For information, call (775) 486-6352.

Patty Cafferata is a native Nevadan and Esmeralda County district attorney.

What: Land auction

Where: Goldfield

When: Aug. 24-25

For information, call (775) 486-6352.


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