16 May 2017

Hamilton (ghost town)

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

I started and finished the day checking out parts of Hamilton. There is another state historic marker dedicated to this ghost town and its neighbors (Eberhardt, Treasure City, and Sherman Town) on US-50 across from the road into Illipah Reservoir and probably the most accessible route into here. It points out that this was an important place in the region once. It was the first incorporated city in the county and became the county seat in 1869, but was already disincorporated in 1875. When fire destroyed the main part of town in 1873, very little was rebuilt. After another fire destroyed the courthouse and county records in 1885, the county seat eventually moved, too. The marker notes there were as many as 10k people living around the Treasure Hill area around 1869 while the Wikipedia page claims 12k people just in Hamilton alone at the same time. In the morning, I looked around the cemetery (location) and a ruin I expect was a church (location) simply due to the proximity and size. There was an Episcopal and a Roman Catholic church. There is every likelihood that I am wrong in this designation. There is a helpful sign pointing the way up to the cemetery from the main road. The ruin is next to the road.

Hamilton Cemetery
The cemetery on the hill is surrounded by a fence to keep the cows out with a gate for entry and a cowboy gate suitable for a hearse.

big bushes wihin the fencing
The richer residents have their own fencing to help keep the cows away. The close grave is a young man who was almost 25 years when he died in 1898.

plastic flowers and cleared of shrubs
Some of the graves clearly still have family who can come and care for them. The near grave is from 1890 (and only 4 years old) and the next one 1934 and 1939, long after the city became a tiny community.

from fence to fence
A panorama of the cemetery sitting beneath Mount Hamilton taken from the top of the hill.

almost 44 in 2008
The newest resident was probably born after nearly everyone else was already here. Someone must have a map of the sites for them to use this cemetery.

collapsed wooden fencing
Once this fencing has decayed, there will be nothing more to mark these as sites. Probably a few have already become completely unnoted.

variations in grave markings
Many different ways to mark out the last plot of land.

an arch of bricks amon collapsing rock walls
The church sits a little way down the hill. The crumbling walls mark off a number of rooms and a large arched doorway still stands.

After hiking, I went down to Hamilton (location) itself. The area is currently an inholding with some large, mildly modern, industrial buildings that are also in a state of decay. These and some outbuildings are ranch buildings that are not from the historic era from which I was interested in checking out ruins. There are ruins both on the property and outside it. Some up the hillside of the Mokomoke Mountains looked interesting from a distance, but I did not manage to get there.

pair or more of buildings
A couple stone buildings beside the road.

doorways in stone wall
The doors and windows need some extra support. This wall has some plaster remaining.

doorway on arch concept
Another doorway that, while not particularly arched, is built with a keystone construction.

rocky sections and steeps
I cannot help but take in the town's view.

Mokomoke Mountains
Some buildings are at the bottom of Mokomoke Mountains, but I did not go for a closer look.

can plated wood structure
Just west of the inholding is another tin can shack. It is interesting to see the use cans of all sizes for the siding and roof.

room addtion
The added on room does not look to be in very good shape.

interlocked cans
Some construction details: interlocked edges and square nails.

smoke stack
A large chimney in the distance (left) behind some ranch construction. Part of the "extensive smelting works"?

industrial site
An industrial site of some sort is north of the inholding. This looks to have an old power wheel. A quartz mill?

Another view from above.

There certainly is not much left of Hamilton to hint at the population, be it the large estimate or the 3915 who lived there at the time of the 1870 census. (The 1879 entry in The American Cyclopædia is interesting to read.)

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 1 June 2017

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