Mill City

Mill City's history begins with that of the Humboldt Canal. The canal, sometimes known as the French Canal, was proposed by Gintz and Joseph Ginaca in 1862. Plans called for the canal to be three feet deep and fifteen feet wide, dropping about 113 feet during its course. It was to start at Preble, near Golconda, and end at a newly-created townsite, first known as Centralia, then Millville, and finally Mill City. It's purpose was to not only irrigate the land, but also support barges and power new mills that would be constructed in Mill City. The projected cost was $160,000, and excavation was begun in 1863 by Louis Lay - a French emigrant from California. Another Frenchman, Frank Baud, also worked on the project. He later helped found Winnemucca. Construction on the Humboldt Canal was never finished. Engineering errors and severe seepage near Rose Creek contributed to the project's abandonment, which had already cost $100,000.

In 1864, an extensive townsite plat was filed. Mill City was to have 4,800 lots, as well as public squares and reserved spaces. The ill-fated canal would run through the heart of town, lined on either side by a sidewalk. However, after the Humboldt Canal failed, that version of Mill City was never realized.

In 1868, Mill City became a station on the Central Pacific Railroad, serving camps like Dun Glen and Unionville. The town grew, soon sporting many businesses, homes, and a stamp mill. In 1875, a foundry was put into operation to repair mining machinery and to cast new metal parts for mines as far away as Cornucopia (in Elko County). By 1880, Mill City had declined to only fifty residents and eight businesses. Once Imlay was established as a new railroad division point, Mill City began to decline.

Mill City had one final revival during its lifetime. In 1908, with the establishment of Chafey at old Dun Glen, Mill City was chosen as the shipping point. Then in 1917, tungsten was discovered in the hills north of Mill City and the camp of Tungsten was formed, and once again ore was brought to the railroad in Mill City. Chafey lasted until the 1920s, and the mines in Tungsten lasted until 1958. Since then, only a few people have remained in Mill City. The Victory Highway (and later Interstate 80) were built through town, and in modern times a large truck stop has been open at the Mill City exit.

Central Pacific Railroad
ImlayMill City • Dodon →

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