Bonnie Clare

Gold mining on the south side of Gold Mountain began in the 1880s, and ore was transported by mule teams to a five-stamp mill built buy Guy Thorpe - owner of the Rattlesnake mine - at what became known as Thorp's Well (without the 'e'). This continued until just after the turn of the twentieth century, when the mill was purchased by the Bonnie Clare Bullfrog Mining & Milling Company. A small camp, Thorp, soon came into being and in 1904 the small Bonnie Clare Mill was built. As stage traffic between Goldfield and Bullfrog increased, Thorp became an important station, and a small suburb called Summerville even existed for a short time.

In September 1906, the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad reached Thorp and established what it called Montana Station. When a new townsite was platted the next month, it was renamed Bonnie Clare (though despite attempts to rename the post office failed for another three years). In Spring 1907, the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad also reached Bonnie Clare and built an impressive two-story depot. This brought the town to its peak, with a population of about 250 and several businesses. Plans were also briefly considered to construct a new railroad to the copper mines at Ubehebe, California, but these never came to fruition.

By 1909, the dwindling activity at both Rhyolite and the mines on Gold Mountain brought a decline to Bonnie Clare as railroad and milling traffic waned; the post office name however finally changed. Nevertheless, in 1910 the New Bonnie Clare Mining Company renovated and enlarged the Bonnie Clare Mill. It was a failure due to lack of ore, and by 1911 Bonnie Clare's population dropped to about 150. In 1913, the Jumbo Extraction Company built a new mill at Thorp's Well, which was taken over in 1915 by the Quigley Reduction Company. In 1914, however, the LV&T and BG Railroads were consolidated and one line abandoned, and only limited operations occurred in Bonnie Clare until 1927 when it became the delivery point for building supplies for Scotty's Castle. Early the next year, railroad service ended and Bonnie Clare quickly faded. When the post office closed in 1931, only two people remained.

Bonnie Clare's final gasp at life began in December 1951, when George Lippincott of the Sun Battery and Nic-Silver Battery Companies began building a lead mill and smelter at the old Bonnie Clare Mill site, where he would ship ore from his Death Valley mines. The mill went into operation in February 1952, and lasted a few years until the lead ore played out, and Bonnie Clare was deserted for good.

Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad
← Wagner • Bonnie Clare • Midway →

Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad
← San Carlos • Bonnie Clare • Jacksonville →