On September 29, 2017, the Nevada Paranormal Task Force will be heading up Highway 95 to a place that in 1907 was Nevada’s largest city, Goldfield, Nevada, where they will be locking down for a 3-day investigation. NPTF will be investigating the Hoist Tavern, Nixon Building, Santa Fe Saloon, Goldfield High School, Courthouse, and the Ish House. Here are some great pictures I found on the web.
Esmeralda Courthouse / Nixon Building
Goldfield Hotel / The Ish House
Goldfield High School
Santa Fe Saloon / The Hoist Tavern
In December, 1902, gold was discovered in the hills south of Tonopah, Nevada, by two prospectors named Harry Stimler and Billy March. Soon tents sprang up and the little mining area was called “Grandpa,” later named Goldfield. By 1903, there were 36 residents, and by 1904, the town supported three saloons, a grocery store, and two feedlots, along with its area mining operations.
In the spring of that same year, Wyatt and Virgil Earp… yep the Earp brothers showed up to Goldfield after their famous gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Wyatt was already in Goldfield working as a pit boss in Tex Rickard’s gambling casino (known for its long bar that took 80 bartenders to run), and Virgil, who arrived in the spring of 1904, and was soon after hired as a deputy sheriff, even though his arm was atrophied from the bullet he had taken in Tombstone in 1881. In October Virgil Earp contracted pneumonia, and died. Virgil’s remains were taken to Portland, Oregon, where he lies at the Riverview Cemetery. Wyatt left Nevada shortly after Virgil’s death, and headed for the Whipple Mountains on the California side of the Colorado River. He died on January 13, 1929, at the age of 80.
Wyatt / Virgil
Wanted Poster / Doc, Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan
On July 8, 1905, Goldfield suffered its first major fire when a stove exploded in the Bon Ton Millinery shop, which burned up some of the buildings. There wasn’t enough water to put out the flames, so they used beer as an extinguisher. Finally, the wind shifted direction and Goldfield was saved, but not before two blocks of businesses and homes had burned to the ground.
In 1905 the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroads arrived. It was also the year that the Santa Fe Saloon was built, one of Goldfield’s oldest continuously-operating businesses, complete with its false front, western wood sidewalks and rough floor planking. The original Brunswick Bar dominates the Santa Fe’s back wall, and I’m sure this will be the favorite watering hole during our lockdown.
In 1906, the town reached its peak with a population of over 30,000, when as much as $10,000 a day in ore was being taken from the mines. Goldfield was called the “Queen of the Mining Camps” for its luxury and availability of saloons and other forms of entertainment, including its many sporting houses. In addition to its numerous saloons, the town boasted three newspapers, five banks and a mining stock exchange.
On Labor Day 1906, Goldfield was chosen as the site of the Gans – Nelson Lightweight Championship of the World. Tex Rickard’s Northern Saloon staged the prize fight, building an 8,000 seat arena, but more than twice that many people turned out to watch the fight. The fans got their money’s worth as the bout went 42 rounds, a record that still stands in the Guinness Book of World Records. The winner, Joe Gans, walked away with a $30,000 purse. Tex Rickard went on to become a major boxing promoter and ultimately gained fame as the man who built the original Madison Square Garden in New York City.
From 1903 to 1910, Goldfield was the largest city in Nevada, and in 1907, the county seat was moved to Goldfield from Hawthorne, and the new courthouse was built — a two story fortress type building that still stands today. The large castle-like structure was opened in May, 1908, and it even had a jail in the rear of the building.
In 1908, the Goldfield Hotel, designed by Architect George E. Holesworth, and owned by George Wingfield, was built over a mine shaft that had gone dry. The four story building of stone and brick contained 154 rooms with every modern convenience including telephones, electric lights, and steam heat. The lobby was decked out in mahogany, and the furniture was covered in black leather. The ceilings were dressed in Gold-leaf designs from which crystal chandeliers hung that were sure to bedazzle the guests. Chefs from Europe filled the kitchens, and the hotel even had one of the first Otis elevators west of the Mississippi River. The Goldfield Hotel was considered to be the most luxurious hotel between Chicago and San Francisco, as it appealed to society’s rich and famous, making owner George Wingfield an even wealthier man.
On September 13, 1913, Goldfield suffered heavy rains in the hills to the west causing a rolling wall of water to sweep across the city, destroying hundreds of buildings, causing bags and safes full of gold to be washed away. The area west of the city continues to be a treasure hunter’s paradise today.
On July 6, 1923, a moonshine still exploded across the street from the Goldfield Hotel and a fire blazed for 13 hours before it was brought under control. The fire destroyed many of the town’s businesses including 27 blocks of homes and buildings along the way. In 1947 the Tonopah & Goldfield railroads discontinued operations. Goldfield never recovered.
Today, Goldfield has less than 500 residents but the courthouse has been in continuous use since the building opened in 1908. Inside one of the courtrooms you will find original Tiffany lamps. Behind the courthouse, the original jail also continues to stand, containing three levels of metal cells; two levels of which still house inmates in 18 cells. We will be investigating the courthouse as part of our LOCKDOWN at Goldfield next month.
The Santa Fe Saloon built in 1905 continues to operate at the entrance to the mining fields. Across the highway from the Goldfield Hotel is the Mozart Saloon, which continues to serve breakfast, lunch and drinks next to its antique bar. Across from the County Courthouse is Goldfield’s old High School.
Across the street in another direction is the former Tex Rickard home, a quaint Victorian home that was built in 1905 and continues to stand at the corner of Crook and Franklin Streets. The centerpiece of the town, the Goldfield Hotel, now stands dark and empty, and is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United States. We will also be investigating this house as part of our LOCKDOWN next month.
Speaking of Haunted Buildings
Apparently the Goldfield Hotel is one of the most haunted hotels in the WORLD. Its been seen on shows such as the Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. There is supposedly a ghost of a woman named Elizabeth who haunts room 109. People say Elizabeth loves when you bring her flowers. But is there a more sinister aspect to this hotel? According to Michelle “Mikka” H., “the basement is where hell is located. Something sinister and wrong, just plain wrong is in there. It lives and breaths in the walls.” She also says that she has a photo of a young girl by room 109 holding back her hair with one arm over her shoulder in mid step wearing a sun dress…like she’s twirling or dancing. She says she has another photo from the basement where something is walking upside down, grinning, and looking at the camera. Other people have said that late at night workers at the hotel have reported hearing the tortured cries of a small baby, and that on the third floor there is an entity named ‘The Stabber’ that lunges at people with a spectral knife in hand. There are also two ‘suicide ghosts’ — one of a woman who hanged herself on the third floor, and the other is of a man who threw himself off the hotel’s roof.
The Goldfield High School is apparently haunted as well. According to Joyce Jeanette Hogarth Gaddy, while standing outside of the high school, she swears she could hear kids laughing & running up & down the stairs. She also says theres no grocery stores ~ no gas stations ~ just a few people & alot of ghosts! According to the Goldfield Historical Society there are rumors of ghosts residing within the walls of the Goldfield High School that are centered around the spirit of a young girl. Can’t wait to see what pops out at us from within this old building!
According to What-When-How the Esmeralda County Courthouse is pretty creepy too. “The second floor is rumored to be haunted by a phantom trial with voices heard from time to time. Shadows walk the hardwood floors, and there is even a tale of a ghostly hangman’s noose seen on one of the chambers. The ghostly chair is perhaps the most interesting of all the supernatural events linked to the courthouse. When the staff come in each morning, they find it has moved. Once they even locked it in the vault on the first floor. The door was closed and locked but the next morning the chair was back by its desk—somehow it had moved through the steel door of the fireproof vault.”
Peaches Veach says that in the old Nixon Building she heard a woman sobbing on the third floor, and that she got really dizzy and seemed to fall asleep for no reason. Her friend said that something had been trying to get in her head, as well. Another person online indicated that the Nixon Building is extremely haunted, and is also featured on Ghost Adventures. The old Santa Fe Saloon and Goldfield Hotel were also featured on Ghost Adventures, and where some of us will be on LOCKDOWN at. Sorry guys, this is not the Clown Motel, and no… ole Tom Bodett will not be leaving the light on for us!!!
So there it is folks! Just a bit of history before our Goldfield, Nevada, LOCKDOWN which is just 4-weeks away. Hoping to catch a lot of evidence for everybody to see, so stayed tuned… and may the Nevada Paranormal Task Force be with you.
Here is a link to find out more about the history of Goldfield
Goldfield Historical Society