Goldfield sits along U.S. 95 in Esmeralda County. According to the 2020 census, it is home to 225 people. Knowing that, it might be hard to believe that it was once home to one of the biggest sporting events of its day.
Commissioned in 1869, the tunnel wasn’t finished until 1878 – missing a large portion of the Comstock lode’s prime years. But even though the mining declined over the years, the tunnel remained in use until World War II.
Jack Johnson had recently become the first black heavyweight champion. He was fighting Jim Jeffries, who had retired undefeated and was coming out of retirement to fight Johnson, and was referred to by many as “the great white hope.”
The town is best known for its railroad depot which is now headquarters for the city of Caliente. Once known for being the halfway point on trips from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, the depot is now coming up on its 100th year.
The town was founded in 1864 when Mexican prospectors working the area found silver on nearby mountains. In 1873, the town’s the Northern Belle mine went into production, and produced an estimated 7 million dollars in silver.
A drive down State Route 160, the main road in the town of Pahrump, reveals it to be a bit of an extension of Las Vegas. There is the desert landscape, casinos, even signs for Vegas based lawyers. Some locals though, see it as 180 degrees different compared to Nevada’s largest city.