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The Arden Plaster Mines operated from 1907-30 in the southwest Las Vegas valley, in the Desert Hills region. Significant gypsum deposits were mined, and the ore hauled over a 5-mile-long 3-foot narrow gauge railroad operated by the mining company. In 1919 the operation was purchased by the US Gypsum Company, and in 1930 the ore bodies were deemed to be exhausted, and the entire operation was abandoned.

The mines themselves consisted of a series of adits and inclined shafts along a nearly 2-mile stretch, with 2 isolated mining complexes: one located over 1-1/2 miles to the northwest of the primary mines, and another (the "Sunday Mine") located on a lonely hilltop to the east-northeast of the primary mines. Each of these isolated mining complexes was served by narrow-gauge railroad spurs. The long stretch of primary mines was served by its own 3-foot narrow-gauge railroad line, and transferred ore to the APRR via several inclines & aerial tramways, the scars of which are still visible. Some of the grades to the mine spurs are fairly steep, but the small railroad got by with various saddle-tank locomotives (starting with some 0-6-0 saddle tank locomotives from the former Quartette Mining Company in Searchlight, NV, and then upgrading to larger Porter Saddle Tank locomotives under US Gypsum ownership). Based on my research and the remnants I've found, the APRR mainline used 45-pound rail, whereas the railroad line serving the mines directly up above the APRR used 25-pound rail.

Once ore was loaded from the mines into the APRR ore cars, it was then hauled 5 miles southeast to the Arden Plaster Mill at Arden, a station on the Union Pacific Railroad in the southern Las Vegas Valley. Nothing remains at Arden, as the old mill site has been built over by industry. At one time the entire APRR grade could be followed from Arden all the way to the mines, but in recent years the majority of this grade has been built over by custom homes & housing developments. Some of the 1999-era photographs below document what used to be, but is no more...however, once at the mines, extant railroad grades and spurs are remaining to be explored. I've found pieces of rails, rail joiners, shoulder bolts & square nuts, many many ties with spikes still embedded in them, and various other remnants of the APRR over the years. The grades along the mines are loaded with detritus & remains of the former mining railroad, and in a few spots you can still see the piles of grease that dripped off the locomotives while they idled (it appears to be pavement, but it is grease with dirt & dust embedded in it).

What remains are extant former railroad grades, concrete foundations & footings, and extant mine adits. Most adits have been blasted closed by the BLM, since housing developments are being built all the way up to the foot of the mountains that the mines are located in! There is quite a bit to explore, and this remains one of my favorite haunts, as there is always something new to discover every time I visit.

DO NOT ENTER old mines, especially without having the proper equipment. NEVER enter by yourself! We use headlamps for light, with several back up flash lights. We carry a multi-gas sensing meter that measures the oxygen level, as well as methane gas level; however, we do NOT carry rescue breathing equipment. Bad air is a reality for many old mines - carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases collect in lower levels of many mines, as well as in many isolated pockets of the twists & turns of many mines (and you will NOT be able to smell the bad gas before it overwhelms you). We carry extra batteries, rescue ropes, first aid kits, and plenty of water. We also carry a Spot GPS Meter that sends an email w/GPS coordinates via satellite to love-ones before we enter stating our location and that we are OK. We do it again upon leaving the mine to let them know we’re out and safe; this meter also has the capability of sending a help signal and/or alerting 911 via satellite providing GPS coordinates – of course it doesn’t work within the mine itself. The BLM strongly advises to not enter these old mines, so if you choose to do so, it is solely at your own risk. Some mines, have steep & deep drop-offs, as well as difficult-to-see vertical shafts, which could be impossible to get back up out of. Also, even though you may see extensive use of wood ladders, shoring and support platforms inside old mines, this wood is very old and unstable; much of it is rotted (along with corroded nails & bolts) and WILL NOT support your weight. So please enjoy these photos but do not try to enter any old mines.
The Arden Plaster photos are divided into separate sections according to year, since there are just so many of them; more photos will come in the next year or so as well, since there is much, much more to see, discover, and photograph there.

1999 2006 2009-2010  

Arden Plaster Mines (1999)
(Multiple Images)

Arden Plaster Mines (2006)
(Multiple Images)

Arden Plaster Mines (2009)
(Multiple Images)

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Silver State Specialties was created in 1999 to offer quality resin accessories, replacement parts and conversion kits, suitable for many 1/25-scale plastic model kits.  SSS specializes in accessories and parts for plastic model pickup, SUV, 4x4, and heavy truck & trailer kits.  1/32-scale and 1/35-scale parts and accessories will be available in the future for model truck kits, such as the 1/32 Monogram Snap-Tite and ERTL snap-together kits, as well as 1/35-scale Revell, Italeri, AFV Club, Trumpeter, Airfix, Heller, Tamiya, and other military model truck kits.  Some of these smaller scale model kits are quite well detailed, and a wide variety of photo-etched, resin, and other accessories are widely available for most of these military truck model kits. What's even more exciting is the line of 1/24th & 1/25th-scale military model kits and conversions we are in the early stages of developing, to nicely compliment your ERTL, AMT, Italeri, Revell, and other brands of truck models.

Silver State Specialties is working on resin accessories and complete kits for G- gauge outdoor garden railway trains ("Large Scale") in 1/24th-scale. Some patterns have been completed, and many more are under construction. These kits and accessories will include complete Beyer-Garratt style of locomotives and Narrow Gauge ore hopper cars, as well as 24-inch & 30-inch gauge industrial equipment in this same scale.

SSS also has master patterns partially completed for many 1/16-scale model truck accessories and conversion kits, mainly for the Monogram-Revell 1/16-scale model truck kits.  Some projected accessories for these 1/16-scale kits are front drive axles, different wheels and tires, air cleaner accessories, pusher and tag axles, oil filters and engine accessories, and possibly different engines.  Cab & hood conversion kits remain a possibility for these monsters as well, but are still years away from being offered as there are more pressing projects to push forward with first.  But someday they should be available!

Thank you for your continued support!

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