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USA: Nevada: Carson City, Cathedral Gorge, Ely, Great Basin, Hoover Dam - Lake Mead, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Lehman Caves, Primm, Red Rock Canyon, Reno, Virginia City

Ely, Nevada, USA: Once again a boom town
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

Steam Engine, Railway Workshop, Ely, Nevada, USA

Ely was founded as a stagecoach station. Mining came in later. With the boom in the mining industry came prosperity. And with the bust, everything was lost. However, with demand in copper rising in 2005, good days were back.

A Notice, Railway Depot, Ely, Nevada, USA Driving along highway 93, cutting across Lake Valley and enjoying the views of Wilson Peak, we reached Ely at around 3PM. Our first stop was the Nevada Northern Railway Museum – indeed the most famous city attraction.

A senior city volunteer (there are many that work relentlessly to keep visitors engaged and happy) showed us around the engineering workshop, the mechanical features of steam and diesel engines that once played a very vital role in making Ely a prosperous town. The railroad museum features the Ghost Train of Old Ely, a working steam engine passenger train that travels the historic tracks from Ely to the Robinson mining district.

Built in 1906, the Nevada Northern connected the enormous pit mines at Ruth with the smelter on the old McGill Ranch, and then with the main line at Cobre for an overall run of about 150 miles. After considerable repair and restoration, the Nevada Northern began carrying passengers again in 1986. In addition to the scheduled runs, trains can be rented for special excursions, and tours are taken through the enormous shops, offices, depot, engine house and other facilities from Memorial Day weekend through Labour Day weekend.

Renaissance Village, Ely, Nevada, USA After spending an hour at the railway depot, we drove to Ely Renaissance Society. The drive took us through Ely’s main street named Aultman Street. The many murals painted and crafted on building walls are bound to take the attention. The Ely Renaissance Society has financed more than twenty outdoor murals and sculptures in the downtown area. Artists from all over the world have been commissioned to create images of area history, using different art styles.

During the boom period, immigrants from all over the world made Ely their home. The Ely Renaissance Society maintains a historical village consisting of a general store and several shotgun houses which display the history of the ethnic groups that came to the area to work for the railroad and the mine. Exhibits include Miner’s Cabin; Barn; General Store; English House; French House; Slavic House; Spanish House; Asian House; Greek House and the Italian House. Another volunteer showed around the English House that took us back in time.

Steam Engine, Ely, Nevada, USA After the visit to the village, we checked in at La Quinta Hotel. The plan was to freshen up for the evening and witness one great happening in Ely - The Nevada Northern Railway’s annual photo shoot.

We were really lucky to be in Ely on a day when the steam engines are all fired up especially for photographers to take pictures of the smoke bellowing engine with its wagons. Photographers from around the world pay a fee to be able to attend the photo shoot. I was told that the photo shoot happens only twice a year. The dates are announced on the museum’s web site.

Dinner for the evening was hosted at Jailhouse Cellblock in the basement of the historic, six-storey Hotel Nevada. Opened in 1929, it was the tallest building in Nevada well into the 1940s and was the state's first fire-proof building. The hotel was frequented by celebrities from Hollywood who made it a point to make an overnight halt.

After a hearty meal, we rested for the night. The next morning, we would visit one of the country’s finest caves – Lehman Caves.

Ely Image Gallery Photo viewer Photo viewer

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