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Land Swindle

Subdeacon Joe

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This image of Rawhide, Nevada, takes us back to our childhood days, where we imagined ghost towns just like this while flipping through history books and magazines from the 1950s to the 1980s. Though the picture lacks a date, it likely reflects a charming snapshot from the late 1950s to the 1960s.

The tale of Rawhide, Nevada, sets it apart from most other ghost towns in the state. In the typical narrative, a rush of people comes to town following the discovery of valuable ore, and some are fortunate enough to strike it rich. However, Rawhide's story unfolds quite differently. 

Founded in 1906 by a group of prospectors who stumbled upon gold and silver in the region, Rawhide experienced an initial boom as the eager prospectors swiftly sold their claims, attracting a population of 7,000 within a year.

Unlike other towns with abundant ore, Rawhide's hills contained only small amounts of high-grade ore. Despite this, the town became a target for deceitful characters, such as the notorious swindler, George Graham Rice. Having already duped people in Goldfield by selling stocks of non-existent mining companies, Rice took advantage of the situation, hyping Rawhide as the next mining utopia, claiming it held "gold with a little rock in it."

Employing the same deceptive tactics he used before, Rice established fraudulent mining companies, enticing people to invest in them. Once the investments poured in, he vanished, leaving behind cheated and disillusioned investors.

Although a few mines briefly operated in Rawhide, their production fell far short of the extravagant riches that had been promised. Nature itself dealt a severe blow to the town's already diminishing hopes. A disastrous fire in 1908 and a devastating flood the following year wreaked havoc on most of the town. By 1910, only 500 residents remained, and by the 1960s, Rawhide was entirely deserted as the last remaining holdouts bid farewell to the abandoned town.

In contrast to the typical Nevada ghost town narrative, Rawhide's story serves as a cautionary tale of how dreams of prosperity can be manipulated and shattered, leaving behind a desolate and forgotten place, lost to time.

However, today nothing remains of the remnants of the ghost town town. Removed for open pit mining. 

Above content was sourced from the Nevada Mining Association.

Image courtesy of UNLV Libraries Single Item Accession Photograph Collection, approximately 1900-1999. PH-00171. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada."



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