Salt Wells

In 1870, borax was discovered by William Throop at the west edge of what was then called Alkali Valley. That year the American Borax Company erected borax works, which was joined by another small works the following year. They were short-lived, however, and shut down within a few years.

Following the discovery of silver at Fairview in 1905, Salt Wells became a water stop on the freight and stage road to Fallon. As automotive traffic increased along what would become the Lincoln Highway and Highway 50, a service station, bar and restaurant were built and operated by John Peterson. By the 1960s, the Big Top restaurant was located at Salt Wells. In 1974 the Salt Wells Villa brothel opened in the old restaurant, operating until 2003. On July 29, 2007, a mysterious blaze destroyed the building, and today the site is occupied by an RV dump.