Nevadaville was founded just three weeks after John Gregory made his initial
gold discovery in the summer of 1859. The town site was formed by A.
D. Gambell and Sam Link. The Burrows Lode put Nevadaville on the map,
and this became the site of the largest concentration of mining activity in
Joseph Stadley, named the town. It was also known as Nevada or Nevada City. When Colorado territory was created in 1861, the post office elected to use the name Nevada. However, the name created confusion with mail going to Nevada, CA. In 1869, the post office changed the name to Bald Mountain, but residents resisted and continued calling their home Nevadaville. Postal officials would not yield, and neither would its residents. The post office continued as Bald Mountain until its closure in 1921. This created an unusual situation where the name of the town was different than the name of its post office.
Nevadaville was a very large Colorado town by 1860 standards with a population of 2,705, making it slightly larger than Denver. In 1864, the town opened a school with an initial enrollment of one hundred students.
Nevadaville wanted no part of the wild night life common to other mining towns, and in a meeting held in 1860, resolved that, “…there be no Bawdy Houses, Grog shops or Gambling Saloons within the Limits of this District.” The fine was $50 in a time when wages ranged from $1.50 to $2 for a day’s work. If the violations continued, banishment from the district was the next step. The district also appointed its own sheriff to enforce the law, and as an added incentive, the sheriff got to keep half of the fines.
Nevadaville had a substantial business district including a number of saloons, two barber shops, a shoe store, and a grocery store. A dry goods store opened as the Colorado Trading and Investment Company. The largest structure in town was the Red Men’s Building, which housed the town butcher shop. Nevadaville did not have a bank, and merchants accepted currency as well as gold dust for payment.
A much needed medical practice was opened up by Dr. Bourke in 1890. He also operated a drug store, which was a common sideline for physicians. Nevadaville had its own baseball team, and the Cornish introduced the game of cricket. A club was formed, called the Mountain Daisy Cricket Club.
Nevadaville’s biggest problem was a good water supply, and this was what ultimately limited the town’s success. Despite improvements in the water supply, it was still inadequate and could not prevent the town from burning to the ground no less than five times during its history. The last fire was in 1914, and the town was never fully rebuilt.
Below are historic pictures culled from various sources of the railroads, mines and mills around Russell Gulch.
Click on an image for a larger
Panoramic view of Nevadaville, 2004
This page was last updated 12/03/08
Copyright 2008 by Mark Baldwin