Latitude / Longitude:
41°13′41″N 115°3′22″W / 41.22806°N 115.05611°W / 41.22806
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Metropolis, Nevada is a ghost town in Elko County, Nevada, 12 mi (19 km) northwest of Wells. During the early twentieth century, many homesteaders attempted to farm in the Great Basin, especially in western Utah but also in northeastern Nevada. Creating the town of Metropolis was the project of an eastern businessman, Harry L. Pierce of Leominster, Massachusetts, and investors from both Massachusetts and Salt Lake City. During the second decade of the twentieth century, Pierce’s Pacific Reclamation Company intended to make the optimistically named Metropolis the center of a huge farming district.
The Company purchased 40,000 acres (16,000 ha) of desert land in 1910 and hired a respected Salt Lake City contractor, P. J. “Pat” Moran, to build a dam on Bishop Creek, 15 mi (24 km) east of the planned city, hoping to use the reservoir for irrigation. Once the dam was complete, the Company stepped up its promotional campaign, and the LDS Church encouraged members to move there. The town became predominately Mormon, and no church was ever built in Metropolis because the Mormons used the town amusement hall as a meetinghouse.
Dry-farming had been possible for a few years only because of unusually high precipitation. Lower rainfall and Mormon crickets ended the experiment. Pacific Reclamation declared bankruptcy in 1920. In 1922 the railroad discontinued service. By 1924, only 200 people remained. The amusement hall and hotel burned, and the last store closed in 1925, the post office in 1942. The few remaining residents turned to ranching. By 1950 Metropolis was a ghost town. Today ranches surround the town site. The ruins of the hotel and school and a cemetery are all that remain.
After settlers killed marauding coyotes, the jackrabbit population rose dramatically. Rabbits systematically ate the wheat, and farmers retaliated with guns, poison, and organized drives. They killed thousands of jackrabbits and sold them in San Francisco.