Metropolis, Nevada – Ghost Town
Metropolis, Nevada is a ghost town in Elko County, Nevada. The name chosen for this town just does not seem to quite fit for a rural town in Nevada. Someone was trying to be fancy to attract the city slickers back in the day! I could not imagine moving out west and living the pioneer life in the 1900’s, especially in Nevada with its desert/mountain climate – winds, drought and a variation of cold and hot temperatures.
The town was created as a project for the Pacific Reclamation Company by businessman Harry Pierce (from Massachusetts) and some other investors from Massachusetts and Salt Lake City. Metropolis was to be the hub for a huge farming district. This businessman and the investors purchased 40,000 acres of DESERT land back in 1910 for FARMING – say what! Irrigation would be key, so a dam was built on Bishop Creek to create a reservoir.
The Project consisted of building a meeting hall, a post office, a school, a train depot, and a modern hotel. If you were to visit Metropolis today you would see the ruins of the Lincoln School, the Metropolis Hotel and the Metropolis Cemetery. In 1912 train service helped increase the population of this rural town.
Unfortunately Pierce did not obtain water rights to Bishop Creek and the town of Lovelock downstream sued. The town was left with enough water for the town and a few thousand acres of farmland. This resulted in dry-farming with its share of successes and failures. The farmers experienced drought, an over abundance of jack rabbits due to killing the coyotes and a Mormon cricket invasion.
The town of Metropolis experienced its ups and downs over a 40 year period. Pacific Reclamation declared bankruptcy in 1920 with the railroad discontinuing service to the town in 1922. In 1924 the town had a population around 200 people and in 1925 the meeting hall and hotel burned down – shortly after that the last store closed in 1925. The post office was able to hang on until 1942 and the Lincoln School until 1947 (opened in 1914). The residents then turned to ranching and by 1950 Metropolis became a ghost town.
The desert is not a very forgiving force to reckon with and will claim back what residents have taken from it! You have the survivors who stayed and stuck it out and those whose left for greener pastures. Now the town of Metropolis has its history and maybe some ghosts who still linger to add some mystery to this desolate place.