May 23, 2012

Little Church, Big City

OK, so technically, it is a little church in a little town with a big city name. Up a big hill.

Manhattan, Nevada was originally founded in 1867 as part of the silver mining boom and then, in 1905, as part of the gold boom when 4,000 people poured into the region to try to strike it rich.

“Another boom in 1909 resulted in mining continuing into the late 1940s. Major mining operations opened and operated through the 1970s to the 1990s but production has relatively recently scaled back significantly.” –Wikipedia

Today Manhattan has about 100 residents, making it a bustling city deserving its moniker, compared to neighbor Belmont (by 20 miles or so).

I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of Manhattan’s residents. The first was a gentleman in a pickup truck who I stopped to ask directions to Belmont. Very precise directions (it is so easy to get lost on the winding dirt roads that seem to go nowhere).

On the way back from Belmont, I stopped at the Miner’s Saloon for something to drink and chatted with the proprietor and her friend — Two older (than me) women who filled me in on the area’s history (the saloon was built in the 1920’s, BTW). I was surprised to hear that they were as much in awe of Belmont (where there are very few people still living) as I was.  “They have no electricity and no phone service,” I was told, “They use generators and cell phones.”

After telling them what I was doing in the area, one of them said, “Yes. We saw you taking pictures earlier today.”

I complimented them on the charm of their town. They mentioned the church. This church.

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