NoeHill Travels in the American West: Nevada

Nevada Historical Landmarks in Esmeralda County

Nevada Historical Marker 20
Highway 95
Established 1865

Nevada Historic Marker 20: Columbus
23 February 2007
(Click Photo to Zoom)


The remnants of Columbus are located on the edge of 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 stop 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 reached its most prosperous year about 1875, when the population was reported to have reached 1000. In 1875, 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 activity had practically ceased. All mining and milling operations stopped entirely, shortly after that time.

We were unable to locate either the town of Columbus or its Nevada Historical Marker. The photograph was taken from Highway 95 at the northeastern extremity of the salt marsh looking west toward the Sierra Nevada range in California.
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