First off, let's clear things up: There are no White Pines in White Pine County! The term, "White Pine" was put to use when the "heavy growth of trees thought to be white pine" were actually limber pine found nestled high in the area's mountains. And it's with mountains we begin. Understanding White Pine is understanding off-beat terrain. Highs and lows and "valleys to mountains" have had more of a deciding factor for human growth here than anywhere else in Nevada. The Snake Range and Wheeler Peak are just a few visual tellers of the geologic history of the Great Basin. The Snakes are thought be to isolated blocks of the Rocky Mountains that house hundreds of Colorado plant species that end their retreat westward here among the range's forested slopes. In ranges like the Snakes or the Schell Creeks, geology has mixed together a giant soup bowl of some pretty sweet and foretelling topography!
It's called terrain. Terrain is why Ely (the population center of the region) is located in the shadow of three mountain ranges. Terrain is why copper, not gold or silver, has carried the county's economy for close to a century. Simultaneously there was plenty to persuade the arrival of tough men, cattle men, railroad men, and sportsmen - all who've had a tremendous impact on the terrain. Symbiosis. White Pine's deep defiles hid perennial streams in a land of little rain. These same watercourses allowed the establishment of small camps. The Egans, for example, form a solid barrier where elk, mule deer and mountain lion could find safe haven from the desert floors to the west. Terrain makes prime hunting ground as they did for ancient peoples thousands of years ago. Likewise, terrain equated a formula for the highs-and-lows of White Pine. "Low ground equals safe ground." The formula "safe ground" also meant a safe zone from the extremities of the high country. Instead of butt-kicking canyons and steep mountain passes flat terrain meant avenues for transportation and ideal opportunities for ranching, and ultimately, hanging up the hat. And well, White Pine County is a pretty place in its terrain.
Every map will reveal the spider-web cartography of White Pine with Ely at its nucleus. Three main highways - US 6, US 50 and US 93 - all converge then traverse away in different directions from this centerfold. By heading southward from US 50 you can enjoy a lovely itinerary on the road to Hamilton into the Egan Range where you'll find Treasure City - the highest mining camp ever established in Nevada and the spooky ruins and cemetery at Hamilton. White Pine County specializes in hospitality and embraces whatever adventures you may have in mind. Whether you rest like a king at the Ramada or enjoy a poor man's camp under the stars, this place rarely disappoints. Choose a camp that's days away. Goshute Canyon, Great Basin, Berry Creek, or any side canyon in the Upper Snakes, anyone? Or, choose a close-to-home flavor: Cave Lake, Ward Mountain or the Ward Charcoal Ovens? Answer the call!
Admit it. Everybody who has steps foot into White Pine finds a great place to call home! Historically in many instances this utopia was found to be either true or elusive. Most of White Pine's markers elaborate on the very this romantic finding and bust of utopia. Adventures away from the highway will prove that fortunes were made far from home. You've stumbled upon one of the scenic wonderlands of America. We guarantee you'll find that wonder for yourself.
"Through the first half of the 20th century, this area produced nearly a billion dollars in copper, gold and silver."
"Schellbourne, in the foothills of the Schell Creek Range was a Shoshone village site long before it began its regent historic career in 1859."
"Here, at one time, was the largest town in White Pine County. Part of the Cherry Creek Mining District, Cherry Creek's years of largest gold and silver production were between 1872 and 1883."
"The mines of the White Pine District were first discovered in 1865 and supported many thriving towns during the period 1868-1875."
"Booming from 1876 until 1882, with a peak population of 1,500, Ward was somewhat of a lawless mining camp."
"In May-June, 1827, Jedediah Smith attempted to find a route from California's central valley to the Great Salt Lake Valley in Utah, and he became the first European to completely cross what is now Nevada."
"Osceola, most famous of the White Pine County gold producers, was probably the longest-lived placer camp in Nevada."
"Silver and gold were discovered in 1873 in what was to become Taylor, a typical mining community supported chiefly by the Argus and Monitor Mines."
"Mark Requa's Nevada Consolidated Copper Company built a 150-mile line from Cobre on the Southern Pacific to Ely in 1905-06 to haul ore from Copper Flat mines west of Ely."
"Each filling of one of these ovens required the total tree crop from five or six acres of land."
"James H. Simpson put the future site of Ely on the map during his 1859 exploration through the Great Basin."