How did the population of a 19th century town in the American West go from 1,000 to 2? The usual story: The gold dried up.
Nevadaville was established in 1859 as a primarily Irish-American gold mining town in what would eventually become the state of Colorado. Although a fire destroyed over 50 buildings in 1861, the town rebuilt and reached its peak around 1880 with a population of over 1,000.
But with the area’s gold veins almost tapped out, Nevadaville’s best days were already behind it. By the 1920s and ’30s, the town was a shadow of its former self, and by the second half of the 20th century the population had declined to just a handful of individuals. 1950s census data shows just six residents living in the town. Today, Nevadaville is mostly deserted, with just two determined residents still calling Nevadaville home.
Several original buildings are still standing in Nevadaville, including a saloon building, city hall, and a Masonic lodge that, strangely enough, still holds regular meetings. The town’s abandoned mining shacks and equipment can still be seen, but beware: the mine shafts are dangerous to approach as the ground nearby can collapse under a person’s weight.
Know Before You Go
Warning: Do not go near the mine shafts as the edges may cave in due to the pulverized granite sides. Nevadaville is located south of Central City, Colorado, off of Central City Parkway on Nevadaville Road (County Road 1-S). The above coordinates are for the Nevadaville Masonic Temple. Note that while the street itself is public, the buildings are on private property.