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On This Day In 1869, The Unthinkable Happened In Nevada

On the morning of April 7, 1869, a methane fire broke out at Gold Hill’s Yellow Jacket Mine at an 800-foot level. Without a doubt, this is one of the worst mining disasters in Nevada history. Friends and families of miners stood and watched as the mine burned knowing they couldn’t do anything about it and they were never going to see anyone come out of the mine shaft alive.

Suddenly, smoldering timbers collapsed and the fire spread to the neighboring Kentuck and Crown Point Mines. The fire was so intense that it burned for several days, hindering rescue attempts. Sadly, more than 35 miners lost their lives that day. Thankfully, shifts were changing at the time of the fire or the number of deaths would have been much higher.

According to locals, the fire changed the feeling of the people in the area. They soon realized how vulnerable the mining industry can be. Sure, there had been accidents and deaths at other mines, but nothing as disastrous as this.

Research shows that the Yellow Jacket Mine fire was caused by an unattended lantern. The fire spread quickly and gave the miners no time for evacuation or rescue. Some of the miners’ bodies were never recovered. According to reports, 11 of these unrecovered miners stayed behind to haunt the mine.

Today, all that’s left of the Yellow Jacket Mine is the incline chute and head frame. The wooden chute carried ore from the head frame at the shaft on top of the hill. The Miner’s Cabin is located at the bottom of the hill. This cabin once served as a break shack for miners between shifts. It’s now a part of Gold Hill Hotel and is rented out to guests.

To get a closer look at the Yellow Jacket Mine, and to learn a bit more about its history, be sure to check out this video:

Have you ever visited Gold Hill, Nevada and explored this historic site? If so, we’d love to hear all about your experience, and also whether or not you believe it’s haunted.

Jennifer
Jennifer is the Alabama staff writer for Only In Your State.