Coaldale, Nevada – The Ambition of a Prospector in Petticoats

January 12, 2012 at 8:06 am (Black and White Photography, Landscape Photography, Leah McDaniel Photography, Photography) (, , , , , )

What is left of the sign for Coaldale

Warning:  Get yourself a cup of coffee and relax.  This is going to be a long one.

The isolation and decay of the abandoned “modern” buildings at Coaldale Junction, Nevada is a draw for photographers.  Abandoned about 1993, it seems that the people living and working in the area simply got up and left, discarding most or all of the furnishings in the gas station, restaurant (with bar and slots that has since been burned to the ground), hotel, and various other buildings.  Couple that with the scarcity of information about the place and intrigue sets in, spurring curiosity about Coaldale to drive speculation about its failure.

Some information I have come across in the blogosphere is interesting, though incorrect.  Coaldale didn’t spring up and die in a short period of time, as some report, but actually has quite a history to it.

Abandoned at Coaldale, Nevada

Though Nevada presently is probably most famous for gambling, (and prostitution secondly), it really came into being because of the vast amounts of gold and silver pulled, wrenched, hacked and blasted from its unassuming deserts and mountains, and after that, for a rich assortment of valuable minerals.

For instance, I believe that currently there is only one producing lithium mine operating in the world, and it is located pretty close to Coaldale. But I digress… Of all of its subterranean riches, coal has been notably absent, excepting around Coaldale.

There’s coal in them thar hills

William (also identified as both “Uncle Billy” and “Jackass Billy”) Groetzinger/Groezenger, operating under a grub-stake agreement with William A. Ingalls of Candelaria (and later a sheriff of Esmeralda County), discovered the bituminous coalfields in the area in the 1880’s.  A short time later, Clay Peters and William Wilson, along with Groetzinger and Ingalls, secured government title for the location and by 1884 surveyed a townsite, marking the corners with “stone monuments without pits”.  The township was to extend over the low pass between the Monte Cristo and Silver Peak mountain ranges, sitting adjacent to the Columbus Salt Marsh.

As it turned out, it was prohibitively expensive to develop the coalfields on a commercial level, let alone to ship the product, and once the financial parties involved realized that, the plans were abandoned, though Groetzinger held onto his interest in the mines.  It appears that Billy continued to work the coal fields/mines on his own and in 1894 sold 150 tons of coal to the Columbia Borax Works, but it was much work for little profit.

Monte Cristo Mountains named earlier than 1871. Under BLM management, they are a popular rockhounding site with interesting geological features.

A Miner in Corset and Petticoats…

While Groetzinger labored to bring his coal to market, a remarkable woman was making her way in the mining world in the Tonopah and Goldfield area.  Though she didn’t sign the resolutions on the formation of the Goldfield Mining District on October 20, 1903, Dr. Frances Estelle Williams was present at the birth of the city just the same.  Just 9 days later she recorded her Valley View Placer claims in Goldfield, Nevada.

While women in mining camps were not completely unheard of, in the early stages of development if there were any around they were mostly prospector’s wives, and later as the miners prospered, often camp followers and other ladies of “questionable character”.  Not so with Frances, for remarkably she was a woman alone, having left her ailing and elderly husband in the relative comfort of San Francisco in order to pursue a fourth career at the age of 58, in the harsh and unforgiving environs of the Nevada deserts.

Coaldale, Nevada

No shrinking violet, Frances Williams led an extraordinary and unusual life for a woman of the age.  Born in New York in 1845 to English immigrant parents, Frances was responsible for the care of her ill mother at a young age.  Reportedly she married while in her teens, Dr. Peck, a decorated Navy surgeon, who died of heart failure shortly after they were wed.

The 1880 New York census finds her married a second time to Charles P. Williams, 20 years her senior, living with her 20 year-old son, James P. Williams.  The interesting thing about this is that according to the census it listed them as having been married in 1865 and James having a birthdate of 1860.  He may have actually been the son of the late Dr. Peck and later adopted by Charles Williams, though this is entirely my own speculation.  In any event, Francis gave birth to James when she was a mere 15 years old.

Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape…

Frances was a very ambitious and driven woman.  Charles, Frances and James ran a successful varnish business, in which Frances was entirely responsible for the financial success of the company due to her shrewd financial and business skills.  Frances and Charles sold the business and retired to Florida millionaires in 1884 (Frances was then 39 years old and Charles 59 years old), to grow oranges.  Unfortunately, they lost most of that investment when they lost their entire crop in a killing frost.  Never one to be kept down for long, Frances convinced her husband to move to Boston where she would obtain a medical degree (in the now defunct field of Electric Medicine) and open up a thriving practice from 1885 to 1901.

Lenticular clouds forming as the desert sandstorms rise

As her husband’s already delicate health continued to falter in the cold climes of the north, she convinced Charles once again to move, this time all the way across the country to San Francisco.  There, she opened up a thriving medical practice, but wasn’t content to remain for long.  In 1903, she moved to Tonopah, Nevada, and at 58 years of age, began the final career of her life in which she would make and lose great fortunes.

What does all of this have to do with Coaldale, you may ask?  Well, it gives you a bit of insight into the woman with great goals and aspirations; the woman who dreamed of building a city.

Prospector, Promoter, Wildcatter?

Frances had already been successful in the gold mining business.  Though she was a well know promoter, she had hands on experience in prospecting and staking her own claims, and organized many companies.  Among them were the Oro de Play at Long Mountain (1905), The Omega Group at Ray (1905), and a number of others that she organized into the St. Frances Gold Mining Company which she sold in 1906, only to turn around weeks later and organize the St. Frances-Mohawk Mining and Leasing Company in June of that year.  By Jan of 1907 that mine yielded more than two-million dollars and made Frances the richest woman in the territory.

He golden dreams shifted to coal when she overheard that the railroad was interested in Coalfield, as the stage-stop there was soon to become the rail-station of Coal Wells, for the Tonopah Railroad which was stretching south from Mina.  Striking while the iron was hot, she rushed to Coaldale and convinced Groetzinger to partner with her before any other promoters could take advantage of the opportunity.  On July 16, 1904, she and William staked a 1280 acre claim, 320 acres of which they intended for mining and the remaining 960 acres set aside for townsite purchases.

Coaldale, Nevada

She formed the Coaldale Coal Mining Company, the Nevada & Electric Power and Transmission Company and the St. Frances Mining and Smelting Company, which she organized into affiliate corporations.

She immediately began promoting the townsite and promised for an investment of $500.00:  1/4 acre of land at Coaldale, plus 2000 shares in each of the affiliate corporations, plus lifetime employment to skilled artisans, plus a promise of return on the investment within 6 months.

40 of the 960 acres were already plotted around a large central park.

Regular train service was established to Coaldale, in May 1904, though it didn’t yet reach to Tonopah and was met by the O’Keefe stages to transport passenger on that leg.  Ever the promoter, Dr. Williams convinced the railroad to rename the station from Coal Wells, to Coaldale, and to steam up the first engine making the complete run into Tonopah with local coal.

With the promise of a bustling townsite in the works, the post office was established in October 1904.

Monte Cristo Range

Monte Cristo Range

Death of a dream…

Dr. Williams often leapt before she looked.  This bold behavior was responsible for much of her fortune, as she was often able to snatch up opportunities while others were still considering them.  In this case, it did not work out for her.  Though she sold a large amount of stock over the next year, geologists from the U. S. Geological Survey determined that the coal might be good for steaming or the production of coal gas, but that it was not fuel grade.

In September 1905, the Nevada Power Mining and Milling Company extended electrical lines into central Nevada from Bishop Creek, California, obviating the future need for coal as a power source.

Frances saw the writing on the wall, and in 1905 she abandoned the venture.  Because her outrageous claims amounted to nothing, she was branded in the newspapers as a wildcatter, which she vigorously denounced as libel, filing a lawsuit for $50,000.00 against the Tonopah Bonanza, denouncing the “malignity and mendacity of this man” [ referring to William Booth – editor], and threatened publicly to horsewhip him (according to the Sacramento Evening Bee).  Shortly thereafter she was arrested on the charge  (and later exonerated by a Grand Jury) of threatening the life of a Goldfield lawyer over a land dispute.  He tried to eject her, and she drew her gun and ran him out of town, (and out of state as he retired to the safety of California).

Back on the horse…

Though her dream of creating a city turned to ash, Frances put that failure behind her and got back to business as usual.  During 1907 she split her time between San Francisco and Goldfield, tending to her ailing husband and her medical practice.

In January, 1908, her husband died, and she closed up her her medical practice to attend her Nevada interests full time.  In May of 1908 she claimed a lease at Hornsilver and organized the Frances-Lime Point Mine Company and two months later, her  Royal Flush interests  at Gold Mountain, she organized into the Frances Gold Mountain Mining Company.

At the same time, the country was experiencing financial woes nationwide, and Goldfield suffered devastating bank closures.  Frances lost a great deal of her fortune when the banks failed.  She also lost an investment to McKay & Co. in New York, a pair of broker arrested for mining frauds in 1909.  On top of it all, a lawsuit had been filed by another mining titan in Goldfield, against the Frances-Mohawk for improper timerbering.  It seems that it was too much weight for her to bear.  Shortly after the trail began, Frances retired from dinner to her home at the Grimshaw Hotel, and suffered a heart attack.  On March 24, 1909, this bold, business-savvy pioneer passed at the age of 64.

Panoramic of Coaldale

Coaldale soldiers on…

As for Coaldale, the city dreamed of by Frances never materialized, but a small community dug into the desert sands and survived for a time.  In 1907-1908 it boasted a population of 30.  Among them were R. D. Edwards (sold general merchandise and stood as Postmaster), De Remer & Richardson (mining business), H. G. Lower (miner), H. C. Petty (miner), W. R. White (Railroad and Express agent), and of course William Groetzinger, who ended up selling his titles to L. K. Koontz.

In 1907 Louis K. Koontz tried his hand at mining and selling coal at Coaldale after investing $50,000.00 in development.  He sold it to Goldfield residents as heating fuel, but it was such a bad grade that it melted the grates and ruined stoves, and he was nearly run out of town.

In 1911 a second USGS survey renewed interest in the area, as the survey indicated a better grade of coal at depth, making the production for coke or gas for electrical power a possibility.  Herman A. Darms took over Koontz’s interests in 1911, and T. E. Rouvenanck organized the Nevada Coal and Fuel Company the same year.

In 1923 the Reorganized Darms Coal Co. took over, but when Herman Darms died in 1946, coal development was over in Coalfield.

Carl Rieck lived in Coaldale from 1909 and operated a store and service station.

Jewel Parsons and her husband ran the Coaldale inn and Motel since the 1930’s, possibly taking over for Carl Rieck.

Others have come and gone as the years advanced in Coaldale, trying to eke out a living.  But when the EPA decided that the underground fuel tanks were a leaking environmental hazard in 1993, the gas station was closed for good.

With coal mining dried up, and the gas station closed, there was little reason for people to live in Coaldale anymore, let alone stop on their journey to distant destinations in Nevada.  Coaldale now, sees little but ghosts, vandals, and the odd photographer.


Photo Postcard of Coaldale Nevada in days gone past, provided by Ruth Wolf:

Coaldale, Nevada Postcard


  1. Matthew Murphy said,

    That was a great way to relax with a cup of tea!!! Love the pictures!!!

    • eponaleah said,

      Thanks Matt! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • desertratt68 said,

      i’ve read several places that the station closed in 93, I worked there june thru october 95 and they were still selling fuel.There wasn’t gambling since the owner had a felony and couldn’t get the licence.The fuel leak did render the well unuseable as a drinking water source and we had to truck in fresh water.Reading the timeline i must have been 1 of the last to leave. The lithium mine is just south of tonapah as i recall,which was about 40 miles south of coaldale.I was told at the time the only borax mine was still in operation to the facts;
      *Esmerelda county is shaped like a mushroom cloud
      *Coaldale had only 1 phoneline in 95 and had to have the operator dial Coaldale2.
      *The low buget movie “the stranger” filmed it’s opening scene in Coaldale
      thanks for the opertunity to share

      • Michael Garner said,

        I’m glad you posted this! I had often wondered in the spring of 93 date was right…
        I was out there a couple weeks ago, and found some papers floating around of a man named Rudy Oillia.. I ended up finding what I assume was his apartment in the back, and found some paperwork dated to 95, so I had wondered…
        How many people were still living there while you were there? Was the motel still open?
        I’d love to find someone who was there when it actually closed! I had one lady in Tonopah tell me it closed in spring of 96, so to see you being there in late 95 has definitely sparked my interest! Would love to hear your story of how you ended up in Coaldale!

      • lawtonrick said,


  2. Robert said,

    Interesting article…thank you. Years ago, I would stop for snacks in Coaldale, on my way to and from visiting relatives (the Ingalls and Mercers) in Goldfield. Fascinating history out there, and again, very interesting article and great pics, thank you!

    • eponaleah said,

      You are welcome, Robert. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. William G Conner said,

    Feb. 20, 2012
    Thank you very much for the History, pictures of the area of Coaldale, NV. I am a nephew of Jewel Parsons, knew Carl Riek, lived/worked in theGarage/Service Station for a period of time, until I joined the US Navy in June, 1952. I live in Norfolk,VA. Thanks again.

    • eponaleah said,

      You’re welcome, William. Stop back again sometime.

    • Kim Martin said,

      I am a Niece of Jewel Parsons. I remember spending time there when I was very young. Enjoyed reading the blogs. I am Ralphs granddaughter.

      • eponaleah said,

        Welcome, Kim. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate the comment.

      • William G Conner said,

        This to the Daughter of Ralph,you have my Email address, which girl are you? Contact me by Email , I would like to communicate with you, I will answer in a few days, thanks for the comment. As ever Bill

    • Ruth L. Wolff said,

      Are you Related to Ralph Conner? Ralph was with my Mom, Myrtle in Coaldale when he passed away. I have some of his belongings, not much, just some pictures and some of his Mason’s books etc. I would like to return them to a family member if someone is interested. Ralph was a wonderful man.
      Please let me know. Thanks.
      Ruth Wolff

      • William G Conner said,

        Thank you very much for contacting me, Ralph Conner was my Uncle, my Father was George W Conner, he spent a lot of time at Coaldale, He was a mechanic testing a Ford after repair, & was killed in that auto in Bishop, CA, on the way back to Coaldale, I would appreciate any of the items you wish not to keep of his. I live in Norfolk, VA & hope to be in Las Vegas, this fall- if things work out for me or I would be happy to pay shipping costs but would still like to meet you in the near future. As ever, Bill Conner

      • Michael Jordan said,

        I am michael jordan. I was 9yrs old when we moved to Caldale 1970. Ralph taught me to drive his old 46 international pickup. He was my best friend back then. Myrtle was so sweet. I have wonderful memories of them.

      • William Conner said,

        Nice to read your comment to Ruth Wolff, who I have not met in person, because I live in Norfolk, VA & have not been back to the Coaldale area since the late ’60,s when my Father passed while testing an auto’s brakes, at Bishop,CA while still working for Jewel & Elton Parsons at Coaldale. Ralph was my uncle. As ever William G Conner E:

        On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 9:47 PM, Eponaleah’s Photoblography wrote:

        > ** > Michael Jordan commented: “I am michael jordan. I was 9yrs old when we > moved to Caldale 1970. Ralph taught me to drive his old 46 international > pickup. He was my best friend back then. Myrtle was so sweet. I have > wonderful memories of them.” >

  4. Viki said,

    Wow! what a find. Jewel was my aunt. The stories of Coaldale. Thaks for the pics. I lived at Coaldale several times as a kid. Lots of fun ,,,,for a kid!

    • eponaleah said,

      Hi Viki,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Seems like lots of Jewel’s kin are finding it! Coaldale seems like it was a neat place for a kid.

      • Kim Martin said,

        ummm well not sure about a great place for a kid ha ha… pretty boring but we always seemed to keep ourselves entertained.

      • paul fenwick said,

        I worked in coaldale too at from about 89-92 i did bank runs / payed out jackpots / mainly worked at nite fill semi’s trucks / but also i was the town marshall & if you remeber when a kid naper was taken and arested there i was the one who made it happen there

        from mr.fenwick email KL3GI@YAHOO.COM

  5. Kim Martin said,


  6. William G Conner said,

    To Kim Martin, Bill the nephew of Jewel, when were you at Coaldale- what year, I left in in the summer of 52. Would like your Email. Thanks for the comment. As ever, Bill

    • Kim Martin said,

      I’m Linda’s Daughter, My Aunt is Vicki. My email is Look forward to hearing from you.

    • paul fenwick said,

      I made one coment so far but just too let ya know i mite be buying coaldale in few mo.s not sure yet but if i do I will be restoreing it some depens on cash

      • William Conner said,

        Sorry, I missed your earlier information. My E mail is: would like to hear from you, hope you purchase the place, new & old one if you are able to. I plan to visit the area-pass thru this spring/summer, as ever, William (Bill) Conner

      • Gary Gleecock said,

        How much is it for sale for?

      • Jonny Blaze said,

        Who are you buying it from? I am pretty sure it is owned by trust with with multiple trustees.

  7. Linda Johnson said,

    I am Linda, My first memories are of visiting Aunt Jewel in Coaldale. We lived there for a short period of time and my father Ralph was her brother. It certainly was a spot in the desert For entertainment we caught lizards and toads. Pretty exciting. LOL Loved seeing the previous history of the little town. Aunt Jewel was quite the woman to run it alone for a few years.

    • eponaleah said,

      Hi, Linda. Welcome. Boy, that little town sure has held sway over many people. It’s a shame that things ended the way they did.

      • Kathi Johnson said,

        Hi, this is Kathi. I am Linda’s daughter as well. I was there when I was really young. I just kind of remember being there. LOL I loved Aunt Jewel and Uncle Elton

    • Ruth L. Wolff said,

      Hi Linda,
      I already posted a comment to Robert Conner before I saw yours. I have a few items that belonged to Ralph. Just some pictures and some of his Mason’s books etc. Let me know if you or someone in the family wants them.
      Ruth Wolff

      • Kim Martin said,

        I’m sure that Linda (mom) hasn’t seen your comment. I am Linda’s daughter my email address is Send me an email and I would be happy to forward you to her. Kim

      • Linda Johnson said,

        I will be glad to give you my phone # and we can figure something out. Linda Linda

      • Linda Johnson said,

        As I read this again with my morning coffee, I find it interesting that a woman played such an important role in the beginning of Coaldale. My Aunt Jewel and her first husband Carl Hass bought Coaldale, and were later divorced. Aunt Jewel kept Coaldale, and later married Dave Turner. They were later divorced and she once again kept Coaldale going alone until marrying Elton Parsons. Aunt Jewel and Uncle Carl had their living quarters behind the business. After Uncle Carl left she would have to turn the generator off at night and go to her house. One night she realized someone was waiting for her outside and quickly went back into the store and the next day moved a cot in and made plans to build an apartment onto the back. She was a strong woman with the softest voice and not much over 5 feet tall. There were 6 children in the Conner family and they were orphaned at a young age. My Aunt Jewel married Carl so she could take my father out of an orphanage, as he was the youngest. He often joked about her having the fastest left hook of anyone he knew. There were two women that loved Coaldale.

  8. DAN KING said,


  9. William G Conner said,

    Hi, Dan
    Sorry, it took me so long to reply, are you a relative of Jewel or her husband, Sonney, Yevon? Please send me an E & in time I will answer you as ever, Biil C

    • dan king said,

      no william i was just one of a few strays that passed thru with my family and stayed a little longer then… i while, very interesting times though, it could get crazy in that bar after hours. did you know there was a natural hot springs not to far from there, it was a place frequently visited. my father would take a lot of the kids out there swimming.

      • William Conner said,

        thanks for the E, Did you or your Father explore any of the caves near the spring? If you were lucky you might find some turquoise & copper rocks. Many good & bad memories about the night time activities around the bar, was the dance room still in use when you were there. Nice to hear from you, what State do you presently live in? Have a great day, as ever, Bill

      • dan king said,

        yes i remember they had built the dance floor on as an addition and bar. i use to play alot of pool in that bar, i was a hell of player for 10 years old. lol.. me and my dad never visited any caves, didnt know there were any in that area. me and dad hiked alot to the mountains and seen alot of the mineshafts out behind coaldale. have alot of pics of people and area mom and dad took.

  10. Linda Johnson said,

    I would love the few things of my fathers. Where are you living now? I remember meeting you and your sister. Doug, my sister and I are planning a little trip in May and we may be your way. My email address is Thank you soo much for saving those things. We got nothing of my fathers and it would be wonderful to have some pictures.I so appreciate your caring for them. Linda

  11. Ruth L. Wolff said,

    To Bill Conner,
    Hi Bill, thank you for responding, I appreciate it and would love to meet you also if in fact you do make it out this way. After I posted the message to you I saw Linda’s post and after contacting her, will send her Dad’s things to her. Anyway, again, thanks for your response. Ruth Wolff

  12. Ruth L. Wolff said,

    To Eponaleah:
    Thought you might like a picture of Coaldale in it’s Hay Day. It was a fun place, now looking back at the good memories. I can’t find a way to upload it, so if you want it, let me know how to post or send it to you.
    Thanks for your great web site, it’s great to be able to establish connections after all these years.
    Ruth Wolff

  13. S Enriquez said,

    Interesting article. I lived in Coaldale from the early 70’s to 1980. My father used to work for Parson’s in Silverpeak. I always was fascinated by the Monte Cristo Range. Hard to believe the house we lived in still stands.

  14. Brian Gieryk said,

    I visited the Darms Coal Mine several years ago, as a friend was pondering purchasing it at a county tax auction. It was a pleasant excursion, and a wonderful find in the desert. Thank you for filling in a little bit more on the history.

    • Gail Darms Baker said,

      My name is Gail Darms Baker and Herman A Darms was my Great Gramd Fathers youngest sibling. He worked from 1911 to the 1940s mining in and around Coaldale. He tried hard to make it pay and find the grade of coal he wanted , but never did . He tried his hand at mining in other places in Nevada but always came back to the Darms mine . The family feels a close connection to it , I would like information about anyone who worked at the mine for Herman Darms At the time he ran it . Thank you for the added history

  15. Linda Sievwright (Drozd) said,

    In 1969, my x & I brokedown in coaldale. Jewel gave my x a gas attendant job and a room for us in a back building. we drove 40 mi to tonopah to do laundry and get groceries. fresh water was brought a tank, but we showered with alkaline water. The pictures bring back how bleak and scary it was, like another planet.

    • Rose Johnson said,

      I remember you living there. Please do not lose touch with me. Im glad you are still around. Im at 821 11th St, Charleston, Il. Im retired now. I have room for you if you want to come. 217-348-8353. Call collect if you want. Rose

  16. chuck said,

    I lived and worked there when I was Uncle Harold And his wife Muriel ran it then..Nothing but great memories..Riding dirtbikes in the mountains..Never a dull moment..Alot of characters came and went through there too..A man that lived in one of the rooms died there of a heart attack..(Phil) I do wish I could do it all over again..We lived there in the 90s..(shout out to Samantha and Jesse)

    • eddiehorton1961 said,

      I was one of the “drifters” that came through Coaldale one summer in the early to mid 80’s and was given a job and a room by Peggy Parsons (Elton’s daughter). I bartended with Phil that summer. — He was a cantankerous and mysterious old man and a character in and of himself. — I have such good memories of that summer!

  17. William Conner said,

    Can you tell me about what occurred at Coaldale from 1964 to the 1990’s. I left the West Coast area then & have not been in the area since. Thanks to anyone that can give me an update. As ever, Bill Conner

  18. mike garner said,

    Does anyone on here have any old pics of Coaldale that they could scan and send me? I have been out there several times, and had considered purchasing the property when i found it listed for sale, but then found out about the leaking gas tanks… still looking into the possibility of maybe a hotel and truck stop… i was curious as to what it looked like in its heyday as im very fascinated with the area. But, never had any luck finding any pics of when it was such a busy place, but would love to see some…thanks for any help anyone may be!!!

    • eponaleah said,

      Mike, I have added another image of Coaldale for you of the little town in it’s Heyday, according to Ruth Wolf, who supplied the picture. Hope this helps.

      • mike garner said,

        That is absolutely incredible… could you possible email a scan of that to me? Ive got tons of pics of it now in a scrapbook, but thats the first ive ever seen of it in its glory days.. i was out there this past april and it had really goe down hill from when i was there 2 years ago.. we really have debated buying it and at least put a store and motel like it was. I love Montgomery Pass just up the mountain also.. my email is its great hearing from someone so closely related to Coaldale

      • eponaleah said,

        Check your mail. :~)

      • mike garner said,

        Oops.. i mistyped my email..Lol! That could be why i havent gotten it! Its michaelpgarner@ not sure how i left the m out! Hahaha! But looking forward to getting it! Thanks a bunch!

  19. mike garner said,

    Does anyone have any old pics of the hotel next to the restaurant? Ive always been curious as to how it all looked!

  20. 02/13/2013 — Nevada “Coaldale” Earthquake swarm — Mono Lake Supervolcano complex | DUTCHSINSE = SINCEDUTCH said,

  21. Michael Jordan said,

    Since finding this blog a few days ago my mind has been flooded with memories of Coaldale and those who were there. Jewel, or
    “Mother P” as we called her was always soft spoken and willing to help anyone willing to help themselves.

  22. Michael P Garner said,

    Was just in fair ole Coaldale in August… parked the motor home there for a couple days, seems its never a quiet place, even in the middle of the night with traffic coming down 6 and 95.. sure would be a busy place if someone had the means to restore it..
    Sadly, id say another 5 years and Coaldale wont be with is anymore.. in just the 2 years since i last visited, it has really deteriorated much more than it had in previous visits.. now, several walls of the hotel have collapsed and been vandalized.. i sure do wish someone had the money to save it… there could still be a lot of business done there! Id be the first to move.. 🙂 but, for now, i guess she will be left alone to go the way of all flesh, sadly…

  23. Denise Brooks said,

    My mother my sister and myself new jewel Parsons and work there. My mother for many years and my sister for a few years. I can remember Jewel Parsons her husband Elton and her daughter Yvonne. She used to have parties for the major holidays. One Christmas at one of her parties she gave me a ballerina doll which I still have. The place basically started winding down after her death.

    • Mike Garner said,

      do you happen to have any pictures, advertisements or memoribelia from Coaldale? I have for many years been fascinated with the town, and im hoping to compile some history and pictures, as nothing seems to exist as of now, sadly! Would love any help you can offer! Thank you!
      You can reach me by email @

    • Michael Garner said,

      Do you happen to remember what year that was? I recently uncovered some old pics of Coaldale, and found what appears to be a Christmas party in 59 I believe…

  24. eddiehorton1961 said,

    Hello to whomever may read this. —

    I was one of the many drifters / characters who passed through Coaldale. —I was given a room and a job by Elton Parson’s daughter, Peggy. (I hope I remember her name correctly.) — This was in the early to mid eighty’s. (Memory’s a little hazy as most of us had way too many bad habits back then!) — My summer there gave me the kind of memories you might read in a Steinbeck novel. — “The Wayward Bus” comes to mind when I reflect on that summer and those people!!

    I’m in my 50’s now and doing what people in their 50’s do, we reflect often on the paths we have trod in our years. — My reflections often take me back to that hot, dusty little Coaldale.

    So much so, that a couple of years ago I began to write about Coaldale. — The only thing I’ve kept thus far from my writing attempt is the title, “And We Danced in Purgatory at Coaldale Junction”. — There’s probably too much personal sentiment to the title to explain here, but the “Purgatory” part of the title described, (if only to me,) how I remember most of the people I met there… Like we were all in this place in between whatever it was we came from, and just waiting to see where we’ll end up next. — And we danced…. And some stayed too long.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this history tour of Coaldale. — I noticed that most of the correspondence here seems to stop in 2013 — I hope all is well with those of you who have been sharing memories on here. — You’ve all inspired me a bit to maybe get back to my story. — I would be greatly interested in continued correspondence with those of you who would care to.

    My email is —

    Peace and Blessings to you all!

    • Michael Garner said,

      Hey man… Great to read your post..
      I’ve recently acquired pics of Coaldale as far back as 1924, with the most recent pics being of the fire in 2003…
      Would love to hear your stories of living in Coaldale… I’ve always found it to be such an interesting place!
      Feel free to email me and keep in touch! Look forward to hearing from you!

      • Larry Bright said,

        Just found this. I’m just wondering Michael, are you any relation to the Garners that,many years ago, lived in the Bishop area? I rockhound in western Nevada and am related to those Garners.

  25. dean said,

    hello this is probably not much to add to coaldale history but in the mid 1960 i worked for a oil co. we worked on the roads in tonapah.
    coaldale was a fuel stop and a lay over spot it seemed like the
    hotest song on the juke box was pop a top again.drank a lot of beer
    all that worked there were friendly hope to get back some day.before
    i cash in thanx coaldale . DEAN.

  26. Gratia Tarling said,

    I do not have anything to add to all these wonderful stories but I stumbled upon this site in my quest to find info on this place and the surrounding areas as I am taking my girls on a trip and we will be making a day from Bishop, Ca to Tonopah Nv. I love reading all the stories from family members and “drifters” who were there when this place was alive. Thank you so much for all your history.

    • MPG said,

      As you come over from Bishop, also check out Montgomery Pass.. it’s on your way and is an incredible ghost town…
      it’ll be at the top of the mountain, and Coaldale at the bottom! That’s a gorgeous drive! You’ll love it!

  27. justanotherdrunk said,

    Did a roadtrip last weekend thru Death Valley vicinity including Coaldale and Montgomery Pass. pics here

  28. William wertman said,

    I worked as a cook at coaldale jnct. In late 95. It consisted of a cafe,self service bar and rockshop. There was no gambling due to the owners felony in the past. Then the population was 9. There was 1 phoneline in (coaldale 2) which needed operators assistance. It was different than anything id experienced before, but good memories.

  29. William wertman said,

    Sorry but i see i duplicated a post,i posted a year or so back as dersertrat.
    To mr gardner. Rudy O was manager, a cool guy that we called “the sheriff”. He and his wife were managers of the truck stop. Interesting note, the low budget movie ” the stranger” was filmed in part in coaldale. The cadillac in the first scene was Rudy’s it was wild west in those days. Btw if you were iut back amongst the dead cars the green cordoba was mine, i saw a pic a few years y and it was still there then.

  30. Andrew said,

    If anybody has old pictures of Coaldale, I invite you to email them to me at

    I am looking at the possibility of creating a website to preserve the history of this place for future generations. I will absolutely leave the link to the website here when I do so. Thank you!

    • MPG said,

      I have collected quite a few through the years, most recently running across one of the original town from 1924, and several of the present location before it burned in 1970 and was rebuilt..
      Coaldale is a very fascinating place, but one that I fear will soon be gone.. was just by there a couple weeks ago, and it’s just a matter of time.. maybe a year or two 😞
      I’ll get those photos sent to you for future preservation! It’s a GREAT idea to have a website dedicated to Coaldale

      • Andrew said,

        Thank you, I would greatly appreciate that! And agreed, there is so much history in and around Coaldale with so little on the internet to look back on. I love seeing Coaldale and the remains of nearby mining towns like Candelaria and researching their histories. Coaldale definitely takes a beating with it being right off of Highway 95. Take care! -Andrew

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