Built in 1922 at a cost of 1.5 million, American Flats located on public lands just west of Gold Hill Nevada, was the worlds largest concrete structure used to process about 7.5 million in local gold and silver using cyanide vat leaching. This important piece of Comstock History is now a skeletal remain of broken concrete and water filled tunnels. Abandoned since 1926 due to falling silver prices, it is used as a palette for graffiti artists and paint ball wars. Some think the place to be paranormal, although in the many times I’ve visited there I haven’t experienced it; but that’s not to say it doesn’t have ghosts. It has since been closed to the public for safety reasons because of the deterioration of the reinforced concrete columns.They have fenced off the area surrounding the mine due to high risk liability to the federal government.
If you are concerned about getting up close, you can still photograph American Flats mine from a distance, so have a good telephoto ready.
There are some very talented graffiti artists here and some graffiti is known to be at least 50 years old. It has been painted over several times but remnants of older graffiti can be seen. It’s like an outdoor gallery for them to display their craft. I am not justifying that this is the right thing to do, because it is defacing property. Steep fines accompany trespassing if you get caught at it. They are watching it more closely now due to mining in an adjacent area there. They have posted signs on how to get there, but its mostly because they don’t want people driving into the new mine area.
The main road in has been redeveloped for the new mine traffic and the road that goes down to the flat mine was steep and rocky the last time I was there. It could be better or worse depending on the weather. You will need a four wheel drive to get down that road or you can park and hike. It’s about a half mile hike in from the beginning of the dirt road.
Thanks for joining me on this virtual journey!
Revision 2015: American Flats has since been torn down and no longer exists. I am honored to have had the opportunity to photograph such an iconic place.
“the journey that you take is more important than your destination”