Nevada has many places that tell the tale of its history of mining, but as visitors soon discover, some of them have almost disappeared from trace, difficult to find except for a wagon track or rusting piece of mining equipment. One such location is the ghost town of Gold Hill. Tourists rarely visit this out of the way place, but what remains tells an amazing tale of a mine, its mill and a busy community.
It comes as a shock to many visitors that though Gold Hill is historically classified as a ghost town, it never was a town or village or any form of real settlement. In fact, it was a mining facility that processed gold ore, starting in the 1920's. As gold values decreased into World War II, production decreased dramatically, dropping its value up to 1942 to below one million US dollars. All that remains of the facility is the ruins of the mill and a mine hoist. Despite this, locals in the area are happy to offer curious visitors free tours.
The favorite tale about the Hill concerned an Allison Orrum, a Scottish born young teenage immigrant to the new found lands of the United States. According to legend and history, Allison married a Stephen Hunter in a Mormon Church in Nauvoo, Illinois, but as Allison would discover that marriage in the Mormon faith at the time allowed for polygamy or bigamy as it was called then. Unable to accept the presence of another woman sharing her husband and his bed, she quickly divorced him and went in search of better prospects. She then married an Alexander Cowan, and spent her time living in Salt Lake City until their Mormon leaders sent settlers to colonize an area that surrounded Genoa, Nevada. Yet another husband was dumped. However, she followed a group to Gold Hill and quickly remarried, taking the hand of Sandy Bowers.
Allison and her husband became very wealthy. They built a mansion in the mining facility and even furnished it luxurious things from Europe. However, Sandy preferred the company of his drinking buddies in the local saloons. Then one fateful day in 1868, he died (age 35). As her fortunes took a nose dive, she was forced to sell everything, dying a lonely and destitute woman in 1903. Today all that remains of her world is now a county park, where her house still stands, as do her gardens. Her grave and that of an adopted child still sit silently on the hill behind the house.
Today one of the most popular spots is the park. Most do not venture beyond that, and the majority of visitors are locals. However, the house is open daily to one and all. The preserved remains of a once wealthy home are all that is left of Allison, the community, the saloons and all that made the mining facility what it once was.