American Flats – Silver City, Nevada - Atlas Obscura
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Silver City, Nevada

American Flats

An abandoned cyanide mill is now a haunting magnet for graffiti and illegal parties. 

Sorry, American Flats is permanently closed.

Unfortunately in the fall of 2014 the site was closed and subsequently demolished by the BLM.

The United Comstock Merger Mill today are the concrete ruins of a sprawling mill that was once used to process gold and silver mined on the Comstock. 

During the gold and silver boom in the region in the late 1800’s, the town of American City was established. The city was prosperous enough that it campaigned for the relocation of the Nevada state capital, though this was ultimately unsuccessful. In 1922, a mill was constructed by the United Comstock Mining Co., which would change ownership before ultimately closing in 1926. Since that time, much of the metal of the empty structure was removed for use in the World War II war effort, leaving mostly just the skeletal concrete remains of numerous buildings and cyanide vats.

Despite such a short time of active use, the abandoned mill at American Flat (commonly called American Flats) has been a desert epicenter for graffiti and parties. Located on BLM land, the structure today is mostly concrete and rebar and though the general lack of moisture has kept it fairly well preserved, time has caused large section of walls and roofs to collapse entirely. 

Rumors constantly swirl about attempts by the BLM to raze the structure, citing a death of someone whose ATV overturned while riding it up the staircase of one of the structures, but luckily, funding issues have made demolition impossible. Currently the mill ruins are on BLM land, access on the dirt tracks between the structures is legal during daylight hours. Entering the structures is illegal, and the property is patrolled by Storey County Sheriffs.

Prior to its demolition the BLM created a 137-node VR tour of the site which allows entry to each of its eight structures.

Know Before You Go

At the end of a somewhat fluid network of dirt roads. finding your way there is half the fun. new signs lead the way to the parking area, some walking required from there.