Seniors Visit ”Queen of the Silver Camps”
I enjoy reading about the best small towns in the US. For Nevada, up came Tonopah, (pop. 2,500) a historic mining town located between Las Vegas and Reno. Seniors find this was the site of one of the richest silver booms in the West, which took place on May 19, 1900. Tonopah is the county seat of Nye County and is located at the junction of U.S. Routes 6 and 95.
Tonopah is said to be one of Nevada’s Best Kept Secrets. Let’s roll through town via a Big-Rig with the driver providing a non-stop running commentary. He talks about businesses, hotels, museums, restaurants along with what there is for seniors to see and do, like treasure hunting, exploring ghost towns and the off road trails that he says are some of the best anywhere.
Historic Tonopah began with the discovery of gold and silver by prospector Jim Butler, and it happened totally by accident. Butler’s burro had gone missing during the night. When he found him the next morning, being upset, he picked up a rock to throw at him.
It wasn’t just any rock he picked up. It was an extremely heavy rock. Butler soon realized he had stumbled upon the second richest silver strike in Nevada history thanks to his burro.
Seniors Enjoy Old Hotel
If senior visitors want to stay at a hotel that opened more than 100 years ago, you can do so in this town. The town is also one of the best places for stargazing in the country. Check out the historic Mizpah Hotel (which is said to be haunted) or the creepier Clown Motel, home of over 600 clowns.
There are clowns on the doors, shelves of clown dolls and collectibles in the lobby, clown paintings on the walls of the rooms. And if you have a room on the second floor, you can look out from the balcony and see why the motel is so quiet — and dark at night. It’s right next to the cemetery.
Seniors Visit Historic Mining Park
TripAdvisor starts off with the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. I’d want to be sure to take in the Central Nevada Museum that has won Best Museum in Rural Nevada for three years in a row. Stroll through the Old Tonopah Cemetery where history is etched on every tombstone.
The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah has received lots of national attention. It is huge, huge. It is the first utility-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower producing more than 500,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Ground was broken on the project 1 September 2011 and construction terminated at the end of 2013.
Seniors, after you have dropped a few coins in Las Vegas, head north on Route 95 to Tonopah. You will find it to be a memorable scenic drive and and Tonopah to be an experience unlike other towns you have visited. -jeb