Column: Brunswick Canyon in its heyday

This week we are, once again, in Brunswick Canyon among the mills east of Empire City.

In the 1890s photo (Photo credit: Nevada Historical Society) taken near the Merrimac Mill there is a mixed V&T train heading west toward the Brunswick Mill, seen in the upper part of the picture.

Most likely it was bringing ore to the mills from the Comstock and would return with supplies, machinery and cord wood for the mines.

The Brunswick Mill was the largest mill on the river. It was equipped with 56 stamps and had the ability to produce over 150 tons of ore each day. It operated until it was shut down in 1904.

The predominant feature of the early photo is the diversion dam at the Merrimac Mill.

As the Carson River water flowed downstream, it was diverted for use at each of the mills along the river. After the water was used for processing ore from the Comstock, it was returned to the river so the next mill down the river could reuse it.

Generally, this diversion procedure was performed at each of the nine ore processing mills which operated along the Carson River. With processing residue being deposited in the water at each location, the water was not in pristine condition as it progressed downstream.

In the current day photo (Photo credit: Kel Aiken, Rephotographic Study of the V&T Railroad) we see nothing of the history of the river, only what remains of the V&T right of way in the foreground of the picture and the river as it flows past the once-active mill site.


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