On a whim we drove to Nelson, population 37, to visit the Techatticup Mine. We knew very little about it, but learned a lot and loved the scenery. Until the invention of air conditioning southern Nevada was extremely challenging to live in. One of the only reasons white men came to the area was the lure of gold and silver. The Indians they met kept repeating, “techatticup,” which meant they were hungry and wanted food. The white men showed them samples of the rock they knew contained precious metals and asked them if there was any such rock around. In exchange for food the locals put them onto one of Nevada’s richest gold mines which was worked for forty years. The original entrance to the mine was on the Colorado River, which is how the mining equipment was brought in. The gold and silver were tiny grains dispersed in the rock so tons of rock were taken out and pulverized to get at the precious metal. The lure of the gold brought desperate men looking for shortcuts to riches. There was never another place where, in proportion to the population, so many murders were committed without the criminals brought to trial or even apprehended. Because of its remoteness in the 1800's it will become one of the most lawless places throughout the west. After the Civil War many soldiers found their way here and they lived in two camps, one for feds, one for rebs, finding it difficult to put their feelings aside even after the war was over.
The current owners of the mine property made their land purchase long after the mine had closed. They bought the land for the remaining buildings and the junk that had accumulated there. After they found the mine entrances and began to remove the tailings, they realized that they had a real mecca for tourism. Today we enjoyed experiencing what it was like to be a gold miner here as well as all the picturesque old trucks, cars, equipment and antiques that ended up here. Hollywood has found this spot and we saw clips from many movies shot here. The remains of an airplane that was not totally blown up as the filmmakers intended have found a final resting place here. TV shows and music videos also find this spot a unique and inspiring backdrop.