Belmont – Manhattan, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

Belmont

Manhattan, Nevada

The second seat of Nye County, still mostly a ghost town, has become a magnet for those looking to live "away from it all." 

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Silver was discovered in this area in late 1865, and Belmont was established soon thereafter. It became the county seat of Nye County in 1867, replacing Ione, and reached a peak population of maybe a few thousand by 1870. The camp had faded by the 1880s, with only 36 voters recorded in 1903. The county seat was moved to Tonopah in 1905, where it remains today.

There were some intermittent revivals thereafter, during World War I in particular, but the post office closed for the second time in 1922.

The town was never completely abandoned, though. In fact, since the late 20th century there has been a mini-boom in new residents for those who really want to get away from it all. This is shown by incongruous new construction scattered among the ruins.

Many ruins remain, however. Coming into town from the south, visitors may notice a lone brick chimney off to the west; this is all that remains of the Monitor-Belmont Mill, built in 1867 and revived briefly during the World War I boom. On the north side of town, an even taller brick smokestack is the surviving remnant of the Combination Mill, built in 1868. The damage to the top of the chimney is said to have come from Air Force pilots using it as a target while training.

The most interesting structure is undoubtedly the Belmont Courthouse, easily the most imposing building left in Belmont. It is prominent a couple of blocks west of the downtown. The courthouse is currently a historic site and there are plans to refurbish it, but at present (2023) it is closed.

Know Before You Go

Belmont is accessible on a paved road. Some 5.5 miles east of Tonopah on US-6 turn north onto Nevada State Route 376 and follow it 13 miles to a right turn onto old Nevada 82, the Belmont Road. It is now 26.5 miles to Belmont. The pavement ends at the north end of town.


There are currently (2022) no services in Belmont except a bar. The nearest full services on a paved road are in Tonopah, some 45 miles away (retrace the directions above).


There are also full services in Big Smoky Valley, the next large valley to the west, off Nevada SR-376. They are a bit closer but require traversing a stretch on graded road. Go back south on NV-82 8.2 miles to a signed turn for Manhattan. Turn right here, onto US Forest Service Road 014. It is graded, turning into paved Nevada SR-377 at the city limit of Manhattan. The graded stretch should be passable to ordinary passenger cars in dry weather but is likely to be completely impassible in winter. It is about 7.2 miles from Manhattan to the junction with SR-376; it is 15.5 miles overall from the intersection with Nevada-82.


Now proceed 8.1 miles north on SR-376 to a left turn onto Pablo Canyon Road, proceed 1 mile, then take a shallow right onto Electrum Road. There is an obviously small commercial district about 0.6 miles ahead in the village of Hadley.


Alternatively, instead of turning into Hadley, you can continue another 16 miles on SR-376 to Carvers, where there are service stations right on the main highway.


Belmont and the mills therein should not be confused with the Belmont Mill, which is a different site near Hamilton, Nevada some 85 miles to the northeast.

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January 18, 2023

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