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Beowawe, Eureka County, Nevada

Elevation: 4695 feet

Beowawe is a place where many have passed through but few have remained.  It has seen the likes of Indians, trappers, traders, emigrants, miners, ranchers, railroaders, ministers and school marms.  But the town hasn't been able to provide a lasting home for them.  They have come, stayed for a while, and gone.  The school  has closed, the church is closed and now up for sale ($11,000 - includes building, well and land), the post office, grocery store and even the bar have  closed down.  A few residents, the library, a gift shop (Dee's), the highway maintenance station, a liquefied petroleum gas tank farm and a few outlying ranches are what now remain.  Beowawe may soon come back into the news.  It is one of several planned alternative routes to ship spent nuclear waste to Nevada's Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada.   Here the nuclear waste would be unloaded from the Western Pacific railroad.  Then shipped by a yet to be constructed 320-mile railroad spur from here to Yucca Mountain. 



Desert Magazine Story

Beowawe is pronounced Bay-o-wah'-wee and is an Indian word meaning "gate" - so named for the peculiar shape of the hills close to town which gives the effect of a gateway opening to the valley beyond.

Some of the older residents of Beowawe have related a much more flamboyant origin of the town's name.



The following paragraph is copied directly from:





"A small camp formed here during the 1840s and 1850s when a trading post was set up along the California Trail. An actual town didn't materialize until the arrival of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1868. A post office opened in 1870 and the town became the center of a spread out ranching community. By 1881, the town had a population of 60 and had a hotel and store. When the boom at Buckhorn began in 1909, a large power plant was constructed at Beowawe. However, the boom died in 1916 and the plant was abandoned. Today, the town continues to survive and maintains a sleepy existence. Trains still rumble through but no longer stop. The old depot was torn down in the 1980s. Many old buildings still remain and the huge foundations of the power plant are interesting. The Beowawe geysers, a great natural attraction, are located nearby."



The Donner Party camped near the present site of Beowawe on Wednesday, September 29, 1846. 


My grandfather, Grant Pyle Sr. was involved in an accident at Beowawe, Nevada in 1903. He was stored with the dead until a National Guardsman heard him moaning.This could easily have severed my branch of the family tree.


USGS Topographic Map of Beowawe (1986)

USGS Aerial Photograph of Beowawe (1994)



Click on photos to see original high clarity digital photographs  



At I-80 freeway looking southwest toward Malpais Mountains and Whirlwind Valley.

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Horseshoe Ranch, just northeast of Beowawe, Nevada

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Cow  feeding lot on Horseshoe Ranch

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Humboldt River, looking south.  Beowawe is located at the base of the mountain on the right (Malpais Point)

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Entering Beowawe, Nevada

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Old saloon building on left just as you enter Beowawe
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Beowawe, Nevada  February 27, 1943 flood - showing break in roadway

(compare with above two photos)

NENM Photo 9-113

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Beowawe flood - 1943

The building on the left remains (Hamms sign) adjacent buildings are now gone

NENM Photo 9-110

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Propane Tank Farm, on east outskirts of Beowawe, Nevada
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Residences at base of Malpais Point
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Old Post office (see site)
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Old Barite Stockpile area.  In the late '70's and early '80's this was the stockpile area for the Clipper Barite Mine originally operated by Mr. Tom Norris, then IMCO Services.  The mine was located in Crescent Valley.  The jig ore was shipped at this location by railroad to the gulf coast grinding plants.

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Railroad loading ramp.

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Abandoned RV park

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Donny Burke Memorial Cross along road in Beowawe.

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Residence across from new school

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Road to Crescent Valley, Beowawe road maintenance buildings on right.

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Eureka County Road Department Beowawe Nevada

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The Beowawe library is now located in the old courthouse building.

Beowawe Courthouse Beowawe Nevada -  July 1959 - original school house is on left of photo (now gone)

NENM Photo 9-40

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Original School House at Beowawe, Nevada, July, 1959

NENM Photo 9-42

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Beowawe Old School - February 7, 1992  Now torn down

Photo courtesy of Joe Bell

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Beowawe Old School - February 7, 1992

  Mr. Joe Bell is in front of school

Photo courtesy of Joe Bell

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Current location of Old School and Beowawe library

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Abandoned Church

Catholic Church Beowawe Nevada July 1959  Note mud swallows nests under roof

NENM Photo 9-36

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New School (south of old school) - now closed

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On main road just south of new school - I was told the owner recently passed away (not verified)
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Pioneer Pass Parcels in Beowawe, Nevada
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Residences on west of town
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Addendum:  I took these photos on February 17, 2002.  It is now August 22, 2002.  At the time I knew nothing about these residences.  Recently while reading an excellent article about Shoshone Indian willow basket making (see references below) I was shocked to see the following cabin and shed (following two photos) in an article by Edna B. Patterson about Mary Hall.  Edna Patterson's photos were taken in July, 1953.  At the time it was the home of Jenny Snooks, daughter of Mary Hall (her photo at the end of this page).  Jenny Snooks was Shoshone and made beautiful traditional baskets and deer skin articles. Edna's photos were captioned:  "The shed at Beowawe in July, 1953 where author Edna Patterson saw Jennie Snooks peeling and splitting willows for basketry material.  The basketmaker's lips were bloody and her fingers raw from working with the willows." (Click Here to see photos of Jennie Snooks' work)
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Abandoned residence just south of above houses
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Abandoned mine camp from nearby old cinnabar mine (?)
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Some old photos of Beowawe

Post Office Beowawe, Nevada July 1963

NENM Photo 9-41 

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Beowawe c 1922

NENM Photo 9-48

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Aunt Kates Hotel in Beowawe Nevada about 1888.  Burned down - foundation still there in 1977.

NENM Photo 9-114

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Interior of Beowawe Hotel - Beowawe, Nevada,  circa late 1890's or early 1900's

 Owned and operated by Martha Nyberg.  Hotel burned down in 1977

NENM Photo 9-116

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Mary Hall, Beowawe, Nevada and her basket.  Date not known

NENM Photo 9-71

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for more B&W





Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Fall 1985 "MARY HALL", Western Shoshone Basketmaker, by Edna B. Patterson, available in limited quantities from the Northeastern Nevada Museum.

Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Spring 1995 "BASKETRY OF THE WESTERN SHOSHONE AND NORTHERN PAIUTE INDIANS", by Larry Dalrymple, available in limited quantities from the Northeastern Nevada Museum.






    Beowawe Geysers, Eureka County, Nv 


Maiden's Grave, Beowawe, Eureka County, Nv 


Donny Burke, Northeastern, Nv 


Jennie Snooks, Northeastern, Nv 


Cortez Miners at Beewawe, Nevada, 1889






Additional Information:  Northeastern Nevada Museum

NENM Photos are courtesy of the Northeastern Nevada Museum

© 2002 - Elko Rose Garden Association

Recent Photos by Dan Turner , 1/20/02  and 2/17/02