Tuscarora was founded in 1867 after brothers John and Steven Beard discovered gold a few miles up the valley from the town’s present site. Near their claim, they established a mostly luckless mining community they named Tuscarora in honor of a U.S. gunboat—which in turn was named for an indigenous people from what is now North Carolina. The town is located partway up the slope of Mt. Blitzen because that’s where a massive silver strike was made in 1871, after which Tuscarora was moved to where it is today.
Visitors who make the drive during warm months can expect picturesque ruins overgrown with greenery and countless artifacts to inspect. Stop in town to take a walk along its decaying street grid and then wander down to the cemetery. Or hike up the hill to the big chimney to enjoy the breathtaking view. While you’re at it, mail a letter. The only business in town is a still-functioning post office—staffed daily—that services the ranches spread out across the valley.
And, of course, stop by the Tuscarora Pottery School, which offers a variety of ceramics workshops every summer. Depending on when you visit this sparsely populated town, someone might be available to show off the historic boarding house or the studio. There’s also a gallery and gift shop that offers a beautiful pottery collection created by instructors and friends of the school.