The History of Oasis Valley
Before the explosion of the last great gold strike that created the Bullfrog Mining District. Before the legendary 49’er expedition across Death Valley searching for the elusive treasures of Gold and Borax. During the time that Southern Nevada was still Arizona Territory, this area was worked by the Mexican miners. Originally looking for Silver, they happened upon several veins of Gold. Using an aristae and manmade irrigation devises, they mined in areas thought of as uninhabitable. Evidence can still be found as you are biking or hiking the outback of Beatty, Nevada of their presence.
Along with hints and treasures of the Mexican miners, you can find interesting clues of the Paiutes and Shoshones who populated the Great Basin for thousands of years. From Petroglyphs to arrowhead shavings in areas where springs were abundant. Basically hunter gatherers, the Native Americans traveled between Death Valley, Beatty and the upper elevation of Goldfield and Tonopah.
In August of 1904 Shorty Harris and Ed Cross happened across some free gold in what is now part of Death Valley, Ca. While in Goldfield making their claim, Shorty decided to get himself some “Ole Be Joyful” to celebrate. And of course he let the secret slip about finding a rich source of gold. With miners out of work, looking for the next big strike, it didn’t take long for word to get around.
By September mining was in full swing , dirt roads were filled with men, wagons, burros and even a few automobiles headed to the newest Gold Boom in Nevada. They brought their wives, children, brothers, sisters and parents. The door was open to enterprising individuals, and soon there were boarding houses, restaurants, mercantile’s, saloons, and of course red light districts.
Beatty was the center of all this industrious commotion. With three railroads coming into town it became the supply center for the Bullfrog Mining District. Rhyolite, Springdale, Crystal Springs, Bonanza, Bullfrog, Gold Center, Carrara, Pioneer, Mickeljohn, Tellerude, and many more smaller camps depended on the supplies coming into Beatty.
Many of the mines were low grade ore or could no longer find a good vein of gold. By 1910 mines were closing, towns were abandoned and things looked rather bleak. By the time that World War II came along there was little mining going on, but even they were shut down as being non essential to the war effort. But in the little town of Beatty, life continued on. You see, Beatty had the one thing that all the other communities did not. They had an abundant amount of water. So over 100 years later, Beatty is still the only town left of the last non commercial mining boom in the Southwestern United States.
From mining to agriculture, agriculture to bootlegging, bootlegging to mining. Beatty has come full circle. On the outskirts of the town, on the mountainsides, in the flat desert, down the river bed you will see remnants of every cycle of men in this area. Native Americans left hints of their lives in the petroglyphs that speckle this area. You can stand and study them for hours, take pictures and try to imagine life back then in the desert heat. An aristae still stands from the early mining of the Mexican miners behind Beatty along a canyon. What an adventure to find it and be amazed at their craftsmanship and ingenuity. Evidence can be found in the foundations and tent sites that still survive of the towns and mining encampments of the early miners of the 1900’s. Pottery shards, fine china, empty cans of oysters. The evidence is everywhere for those with an adventurous soul and desire to bike the area.
For those that would like a little slower pace, grab your binoculars and be amazed at the wildlife that lives in the desert. Wetlands have been set aside for the migration of hundreds of species of birds. Listen to the Amargosa Toad as he sings for you. When the desert is in bloom the colors are bountiful. From blossoming cactus, Indian Paintbrush to wildflowers, the site can be outstanding. Big Horn Sheep come down to the springs for a drink along with an elk now and again. Beatty offers a central location for the most wonderful adventure the desert can offer.
So you see, we are more than rattlesnakes, lizards and flies! OH MY!