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Goldfield Hotel - Luxury in the Desert

 

 

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In the almost ghost town of Goldfield, Nevada is the historic and reportedly very haunted Goldfield Hotel. The town of Goldfield was born when gold was discovered in 1902 and within just a few short years, it became the largest city in Nevada, as millions of dollars in ore were extracted from area mines. Like other cities, whose only reason for being was its mining industry, when the ore played out, so did the town. In addition to its numerous saloons, the city once boasted three newspapers, five banks, a mining stock exchange, and a population of nearly 35,000.

 

However, just eight years after Goldfield was founded, the volume of ore began to decrease and many of its residents began to move on to more prosperous claims.

 

By 1920, the gold was almost gone and the town was reduced to just about 1,500 people. Three years later, a devastating fire wiped out 27 blocks of homes and businesses. Today, this once thriving city supports a population of less than 500, but still provides a number of views of its prosperous past, with its centerpiece being the Goldfield Hotel.

 

 

 

Goldfield Hotel, Goldfield, Nevada

The Goldfield Hotel, April, 2005, Kathy Weiser.

 

 

In 1908, the Goldfield Hotel, designed by Architect George E. Holesworth, opened amidst an array of fanfare. Built on the former site of the Nevada Hotel, which had burned down in a fire in 1905, the hotel was first owned by J. Franklin Douglas and several other investors. The four story building of stone and brick cost over $300,000 to build and included 154 rooms with telephones, electric lights and heated steam. The lobby was paneled with mahogany and furnished in black leather upholstery, beneath gold-leaf ceilings and crystal chandeliers. The hotel imported chefs from Europe and boasted one of the first Otis elevators west of the Mississippi River. Considered to be the most luxurious hotel between Chicago and San Francisco, it appealed to society’s upper crust, making it an immediate success.

However, shortly after the hotel was built, it was sold to mining magnate, George Wingfield, primary owner of the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company, and hotel entrepreneur, Casey McDannell, who created a new hotel corporation called Bonanza Hotel Company. After paying $200,000 cash and stock valued at around $250,000 for the hotel, the Goldfield property was merged with existing hotels owned by McDannell into the new Bonanza Hotel Company.
 
Though George Wingfield owned a majority interest in the Bonanza Hotel Company, his principle partner, Casey McDannell,  managed and operated the hotel.

As owner of the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company, Wingfield was a multi-millionaire by the age of 30 and became a political powerhouse in the State of Nevada. After making his fortune in the gold fields, he went on to own a chain of banks, numerous ranches, and several Reno hotels, in addition to his interest in the Goldfield Hotel and the Bonanza Hotel Company. Active in political party circles in the 1920's, he became the reputed boss of both the Democratic and Republican parties. George Wingfield's power was legendary in his own time, and was publicly demonstrated when the collapse of his twelve banks in 1932 almost led to the economic ruin of the state.

 

In 1923, the Goldfield Hotel was sold to Newton Crumley, another hotel entrepreneur who owned the Commericial Hotel in Elko, Nevada. Crumley, who evidently also aspired to make to profit from the gold in the area, dug two mine shafts beneath the hotel in 1925. However, both resulted in "dry holes."

 

When Goldfield was in its heyday, the hotel entertained all manner of affluent guests. However, as the gold began to play out and Goldfield's population diminished, the Goldfield Hotel began a gradual decline. By the 1930s, when the town supported fewer than 1,000 souls, it had become little more than a flop house for cowboys and undiscriminating travelers. During World War II, it housed Army Air Corp personnel assigned to the Tonopah Air Base 25 miles north of Goldfield. After the soldiers checked out the hotel in 1945, the hotel closed its doors forever.

 

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

 

Inside the Goldfield Hotel

Inside the Goldfield Hotel today, April, 2005, Kathy Weiser.

 

 

*** Note: Legends of America is in no way affiliated with the Goldfield Hotel nor has any contact information for the present owner. Additionally, please do not contact us with questions about a  Goldfield Hotel Spittoon that you own. All we can tell you about these, is that they must have been manufactured and sold in great quantities, because we get this question probably more than any other.

 

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