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Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell  September 2005

Austin Nevada Townsite - Ghost town

If you travel the “loneliest highway” across Nevada you pass thru Austin. Austin is not really a ghost town it is a friendly town as I stopped an spoke with several shop owners. Austin is an old Silver mining town, and yes it is named after that town in Texas. Founded in 1862 it had a short life of excitement through the 1880’s. The major silver production ended in 1887. As many other mining areas it went through several boom and bust cycles. Gold, silver, uranium and turquoise have been mined at various times in the area.  Several old buildings and Churches still standing. Some dating back to 1866.

Also the famous Stokes Castle is still standing. The Castle, a three-story stone tower, is located just outside of town. Started in the fall of 1896 and completed in June, 1897, by Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family, as a summer home for his sons, principally J.G. Phelps. After the castle (or the tower, as the Stokes family always referred to it) was completed, it was used by the family for one brief period in June and July, 1897. Since then, with one possible exception, the structure has remained unoccupied.

Stokes Castle is made of native granite, hewn and put in place by the ancestors of people still living in Austin. The huge stones were raised with a hand winch and held in position by rock wedging and clay mortar. The architectural model for the castle was a medieval tower Anson Stokes had seen and admired near Rome. It originally had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass view windows, balconies on the second and third floors, and a battlemented terrace on the roof. It had plumbing very adequate for the times and was sumptuously furnished. The structure stands as an abiding monument to the local men who built it and to those who helped develop the mines of Austin.