Markers Found Along US 6

20 Columbus

on U.S. Highway 95, nine miles north of Coaldale, Nevada

The remnants of Columbus are located on the edge of the Columbus salt marsh, five miles to the southwest.

The town was initially settled in 1865, when a quartz mill was erected at the site. This was a favorable location for a mill, because it was the only spot for several miles around where water was in sufficient quantity for operation.

The full importance of Columbus was not recognized until 1871, when William Troop discovered borax in the locality. Shortly thereafter, four borax companies were actively engaged in working the deposits on the marsh.

Columbus probably enjoyed its most prosperous time in about 1875, when the population was reported to have reached 1,000. That year, the town had many kinds of business establishments, including a post office and a newspaper, The Borax Miner.

In 1881, about 100 people were left after the borax operations had practically ceased. All mining and milling stopped entirely shortly after that time.

15 Tonopah

on U.S. Highway 95 in Tonopah, Nevada

Jim Butler, District Attorney of Nye County, is credited with the turn-of-century discovery, which ended a twenty-year slump in Nevada’s economy. American Indians originally used the name Tonopah for a small spring in the nearby San Antonio Mountains, long before Butler camped in this area in May 1900. Tonopah became the richest silver producer in the nation and replaced Belmont as the Nye County county seat in 1905. The mines spawned a railroad, several huge mills, and a bustling population of approximately 10,000.

The mines faltered in the 1920s, but Tonopah achieved long-lasting fame because of the prominent financial and political leaders it produced. Many camps and communities followed in the wake of Tonopah’s boom, most of which have become ghost towns.