Ghost Town Empire Nevada: A Journey Through Time and Revival
The Ghost Town Empire Nevada, a once-thriving gypsum mining town, has experienced its fair share of ups and downs. From its heyday in the 20th century to its abandonment and eventual revival, the story of this small desert community offers a fascinating glimpse into the resilience and determination of its residents.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of Empire Nevada, the circumstances that led to its decline, and the recent efforts to bring this ghost town back to life.
A Brief History of Empire Nevada
Empire Nevada was founded in 1923 when Pacific Portland Cement Company miners set up a tent city for mining operations in the area. The town didn’t grow until 1948 when the U.S. Gypsum Corporation purchased the land, mining claims, and associated rights.
At its peak in the early 1960s, the company town had a population of more than 750 residents.
The town was home to a church, a public pool, a nine-hole golf course, an airport, a post office, and several bars. It also had a daycare facility, a convenience store, and a gas station, the only store for more than 50 miles. The residents of Empire Nevada enjoyed a tight-knit community where children could roam free, and families could gather for recreational activities.
The Impact of the Great Recession
The Great Recession of the late 2000s proved to be too much for U.S. Gypsum, and in 2011, the company closed the mine and the town. The closure eliminated 95 jobs and forced the remaining residents to pack up and leave. With a dwindling population, Empire lost its zip code, becoming a ghost town.
Empire Nevada stood abandoned for five years, with weeds growing rampant and two llamas brought in by U.S. Gypsum to keep the grass trimmed. The once-bustling community became a haunting reminder of the economic downturn’s devastating impact on small towns across America.
The Revival of Ghost Town Empire Nevada
In 2016, mining executive David Hornsby purchased the town and mine for nearly $11.4 million from U.S. Gypsum. He renamed Empire Mining Company and brought the town back to life.
Since the purchase, the town and mine have been partially reopened, with a population of about 65.
Restoration Efforts and New Beginnings
Since 2016, the Empire Mining Company has been working hard to renovate and restore the town. About 30 buildings, including homes, a general store, a gas station, a community center, and offices, have been renovated under the new ownership.
The town’s economy now focuses primarily on gypsum mining and serving tourists heading to the nearby Black Rock Desert. The area also hosts the famous Burning Man festival, attracting thousands of visitors each year and significantly boosting the local economy.
Life in the Revived Empire Nevada
Life in the revived Empire Nevada is a unique experience, offering residents a strong sense of community and a connection to the town’s history. The remote location presents its challenges, but it also offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.
The town’s residents are proud of their home and work together to build a sustainable future for Empire Nevada. In many ways, the story of this ghost town’s revival is a testament to the strength and resilience of its people.
Exploring Ghost Town Empire Nevada
If you’re interested in exploring the Ghost Town Empire Nevada, there are several fascinating sites to visit. Some highlights include:
The Empire Mine
The Empire Mine is crucial to the town’s history and economy. As one of the longest continually operating mines in the U.S., it offers a unique glimpse into the mining industry and the town’s past.
The Abandoned Buildings
While many buildings have been restored, some remain as eerie reminders of the town’s ghost town days. These abandoned structures offer a haunting yet fascinating look into the town’s history and the impact of the Great Recession.
The Dark Skies of Empire Nevada
For stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts, the dark skies of Empire Nevada are a true treasure. The town’s remote location and lack of light pollution make it an ideal spot for observing the night sky in all its beauty.
With its proximity to the Black Rock Desert, Empire Nevada offers many outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, camping, off-roading, and exploring the unique desert landscape.
The Future of Ghost Town Empire Nevada
The revival of Ghost Town Empire Nevada is an ongoing process, with residents and the Empire Mining Company working together to build a sustainable future for the town. As more people move to the area and the town continues to grow, there’s hope that Empire Nevada will become a thriving community again.
The story of Empire Nevada is a testament to the resilience and determination of its residents, who have overcome adversity and worked together to bring their town back to life. The Ghost Town Empire Nevada may have faced its challenges, but its future looks brighter.