|Eastern Mojave Vegetation||Hawthorne, Mineral County, Nevada.|
In 1860 gold was discovered in Aurora, 30 miles southwest of present day Hawthorne, about one year before the Territory of Nevada was established. In 1861, Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain, came to the flourishing town of Aurora to work as a miner and later to describe his experiences in his book, Roughing It.
On April 12, 1881, the Carson and Colorado Railroad auctioned lots to establish a terminus for the gold mines at Aurora and Bodie. The town was named Hawthorne in honor Judge W.A. Hawthorne a pioneer of Nevada and Esmeralda County.
As Aurora declined, and Hawthorne grew, the county seat of Esmeralda County was moved to Hawthorne and a court house built. In 1900 the Southern Pacific Railroad, purchased the Carson and Colorado, realigning the road bed for a more direct route from Thorne toward the rich mines at Tonopah and Goldfield, bypassing Hawthorne.
The economic slump in Hawthorne resulted in the county seat being moved to Goldfield in southern Esmeralda County. During 1905-1907, mining booms at Lucky Boy, Rawhide, and Dutch Creek brought prosperity back to Hawthorne and a demand for the return of the county seat. Senator Fred Balzar, a native of Hawthorne, proposed dividing Esmeralda, creating Mineral County in 1911 from the western half of Esmeralda: Balzar later became governor of Nevada.
Mineral County is appropriately named as gold, silver, copper, mercury, iron, borax, limestone, gypsum, and uranium have been discovered in the county over the years.
The population of Hawthorne increased to 680 soon after the federal government established the Naval Ammunition Depot on 400 sq. miles surrounding Hawthorne, circa 1927-1929. Hawthorne grew at an astounding rate as the N.A.D. expanded to meet demands of World War II. Civilians, military personnel, and townspeople mushroomed the population to 14,000 by 1944. The federal government built the community of Babbitt, to accommodate the civilian civil service workers, and two-story barracks buildings to house 2,000 sailors. Both areas have been demolished or relocated.
The past is reflected in the museum. Most of our special collections are donations from present or former residents of our towns of Hawthorne, Luning, and Mina.
(Anonymous, N.D. Mineral County, Nevada. Mineral County Museum. http://web0.greatbasin.net/~mcmuseum/)
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Date and time this article was prepared:8:31:57 PM, 5/31/2023.