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Delamar is located in central Lincoln County, and is very remote. Its origins trace back to the summer of 1889, when John Ferguson & Joseph Sharp located the Monkey Wrench Mine. The Magnolia Mine was located a couple of miles south of the Monkey Wrench Mine, and the townsite of Helene was platted shortly after. In 1892 gold quartz was discovered approximately 2 miles to the south of Helene at what became the April Fool Mine, and the surrounding townsite was initially called Reeves. In 1894 Captain Raphael De Lamar purchased the deeds to the Monitor, Jim Crow, and various other working mines around Reeves and renamed the townsite Delamar; later that same year a small mill was built and water was piped in from the Meadow Valley Wash 12 miles to the east.

The mill originally used dry-process Griffin processes, which resulted in very fine byproducts referred to as "silica dust." These dust particles consisted of very fine crystals with very jagged edges, which became lodged into the lung tissue of whoever was unfortunate enough to breathe it in; the jagged crystals worked their way into the lung tissues and eventually killed the tissues, leading to a fatal case of silicosis. Claims of more than 500 deaths due to silicosis are not so far-fetched, as at one time more than 400 widows were recorded living in Delamar alone; records from St George & Cedar City, Utah, also list hundreds of widows living in both cities, having moved back there from Delamar. While the fine silica dust from the mill's tailings not only afflicted the mill workers, when the frequent winds blew, they would kick up the fine dust from the tailings and blow it into every dwelling, and every nook & cranny in the town of Delamar; inside the mines themselves, the fine silica dust is still prevalent and affected the miners as well. And so the moniker of "The Widow Maker" can be seen as very fitting for Delamar. In 1894 more effective dust control measures were introduced to the mill, but the town was still plagued by dust particles penetrating everything.

From 1895-1900 low silver prices led to the closing of most silver mines across Nevada, but Delamar continued to produce gold & other ores. During this same period Delamar produced half of the total mining production in the entire state, with the Delamar Nevada Mining Company recording $8,500,000 in ores, and the April Fool Mine recording $877,000. In 1902, Captain De Lamar sold his entire holdings in Delamar to Simon Bamberger, who also purchased the Magnolia & April Fool Mines. Bamberger formed the Bamberger Delamar Gold Mining Company, enlarged the mill & installed more modern milling equipment, installed a 400-ton cyanide plant, and enlarged the water pipelines bringing in water from the Meadow Valley Wash so that wet-process milling could be instituted. The new mill began operation in 1903, and a month later electricity was introduced to Delamar, reducing the risk of fire from lanterns and open flames; electric mine locomotives were also brought in to replace the mules that had been used to haul ore out of the No.10 Tunnel. Most of the mine adits, stopes, vertical shafts, and winzes for the Delamar Mines were connected with the No.10 Tunnel, and a total of more than 35 miles of mine tunnels have been recorded in the Delamar Mines alone!

The heyday of Delamar came to an end on September 1, 1909, when the large mill & cyanide plant were closed forever; the mill & other equipment were dismantled and relocated to other active mining camps across Nevada. The Bamberger Delamar Gold Mining Company recorded a fine profit of $3.4 million for its owners, and ranked third in total gold production in Nevada, behind only Tonopah and Goldfield. Very impressive indeed! Lessees continued to work the tailings & mines intermittently in subsequent years, and in 1932 the Caliente Cyaniding Company began reworking the old mill tailings utilizing new methods. A couple of additional ore discoveries that same year also led to a small revival for several years, which led to the re-establishment of a school and post office, but by World War II Delamar was completely deserted.

Today Delamar consists of nothing more than ruins and stone foundations; a few stone walls remain along Delamar's "Main Street," in addition to the 2-story remnants of the April Fool Mine company offices. Stone foundations & ruins are prevalent throughout the area, and it is difficult to find an area, no matter how remote, that doesn't have some sort of stone ruin or foundation! I've made dozens of exploration trips to Delamar, and there are still many areas & mines that I have not yet explored. A good visit requires at least one full day, and that is just to explore the general area & foundations. I HIGHLY ADVISE AGAINST entering ANY of the mines in & around Delamar; the April Fool Mine is known to have bad air & gas pockets inside, which is not detectable without a specific gas meter (see "DANGER" section below for link & details). Lately ALL of the mine adits (tunnels) have displayed instability, and every time I visit I find fresh cave-ins; some cave-ins come within a week of a previous visit, and seem to occur where I detected NO instability. Cave-ins are a definite reality in Delamar, and in addition to these, I've also seen LOTS of recent fractures & chips in the rock ceilings & walls in many of these mine tunnels...they are obvious, as most of the mine walls & ceilings are covered in the fine silica dust that makes breathing protection mandatory, and I notice more & more recent fractures & rock falls because of the lack of dust covering. It won't be much longer before these mines are completely caved in and/or sealed off anyway.

So PLEASE enjoy my photos of the inside of these mines instead of venturing inside any of them; they are dangerous and I have received several scares recently in many of them. Plus, many of the more interesting underground scenes are no longer accessible due to cave-ins, and while very very few photos of inside the mines are available on the Internet, almost all of the ones I've been able to find are no longer accessible due to cave-ins. I have some print photos I took during some exploration trips in the early 1990s, and have some details & features that are no longer accessible as well.... I will post these as I get them scanned.


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 Delamar 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.

1990s 2008-2009    
(These photos still need to be scanned from prints to digital; when they are, they will be posted here)
Delamar, Nevada
[Multiple Images]

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