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.

Locals said that the fire changed the overall feeling of the people in the area. They soon realized how vulnerable the mining industry can be, and just how easy it was for disaster to strike. 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! What other places in Nevada would you consider haunted? Is there anywhere you just won’t go? Let us know!

If you can’t get enough of all things spooky in Nevada, be sure to check out the awesome ghost towns of NV road trip. And if you love that, then you’ll also love exploring the 11 creepiest places in Nevada.

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Yellow Jacket Mine Fire

January 03, 2023
  1. When was the infamous Yellow Jacket Mine fire?  

On the morning of April 7, 1859, one of the worst mining disasters in U.S. history took place right here in Nevada. A fire broke out in the 800-foot level, collapsing part of the mine and flooding it to add insult to injury. Thanks to this disaster, the nearby Kentuck and Crown Point mines were filled with poisonous gas. No less than 35 miners lost their lives and the event forever changed safety regulations in the mining industry.  

2. What other mining disasters in Nevada have there been?  

Unfortunately, though, the Yellow Jacket Mine fire wasn’t the only horrific mining disaster to take place in the Silver State. Other notable mining disasters in Nevada include:  

  • July 7, 1912: Eureka Pit disaster, 10 fatalities 
  • February 23, 1911: Belmont Mine disaster, 17 fatalities 
  • June 24, 1887: Gould and Curry Mine disaster, 11 fatalities 
  • August 12, 1936: Mountain City Copper Mine disaster, six fatalities 


3. What are some of the worst disasters in Nevada history? 

Of course, mining isn’t the only industry or sector prone to upsets and disasters. Some other notable disasters in Nevada history outside of the mining industry include:  

  • 1875: The Virginia City Fire   
  • 1879: The Eureka Fire   
  • 1939: 24 killed in a train crash 
  • 1958: Planes collide in mid-air west of Las Vegas 
  • 1964: Lake Tahoe Plane Crash