welcome to manhattan sign

Located in the abundantly scenic Big Smoky Valley, many prospectors were drawn to Manhattan in the mid 1860s to partake in a silver mining boom, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that the real population boom occurred. Originally referred to as Manhattan Gulch in the 1860s, by 1905, a prospector by the name of John Humphrey uncovered gold, prompting several hundred people to follow suit. 

Within one short year, Manhattan’s population soared to 4,000 and a business district popped up in downtown Manhattan. Several businesses comprised of typical establishments of this era opened up shop, and soon thereafter even a telephone service and electric lights were installed in this formerly vacant gulch. Interestingly enough, The Nye and Ormsby County Bank was intended to be the only stone structure erected in Manhattan, and as a result, is one of the only standing remnants from this time. Originally built in 1906, the San Francisco Earthquake brought on an unforeseen depression in the following years, ultimately forcing the bank to close. When visiting this fascinating living ghost town today, the bank’s ruins remain a must-see, including the original safe in the rear of the building. Although it’s undeniably dangerous to go inside these ruins, the safe can been seen from the street, and “The Nye & Ormsby County Bank, Manhattan, Nevada” is still distinguishable.

Manhattan Ghost Town building
Manhattan Ghost Town

A secondary mining boom took place in 1909, totaling a whopping $10 million in production before it ceased in 1947. Gold is still very prevalent in this region, too, with mining operations re-opened and continued in the 1970s and 1990s.

Today, around 125 people reside in Manhattan, enabling the esteemed pleasure of referring to themselves a living ghost town. Large-scale mining is currently in full swing in Round Mountain, a small town about 14 miles away where most residents undoubtedly go for amenities. Although there aren’t many businesses still in operation, Manhattan has a leg up on nearby Belmont: it’s on the grid and tapped into electricity. When exploring this fascinating region dotted with many mining and ghost towns, plan to stay at Manhattan’s only remaining establishment: The Manhattan Bar & Motel. Also, be sure to stop by the Manhattan church, prominently positioned on the hillside overlooking the former business district. Originally erected in Belmont during its former glory days, the church was ‘stolen in the night’ once prospecting had shifted to Manhattan! 

This Location:

Central, Nevada