Skip to main content

Nelson, Nevada - A Ghost Town, And The Techatticup Mine

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Ghost town, Nelson Nevada.

Ghost town, Nelson Nevada.

Some old buildings in the town of Nelson, Nevada.

Some old buildings in the town of Nelson, Nevada.

Antique truck, probably hasn't been used in years.

Antique truck, probably hasn't been used in years.

An old gas pump in Nelson, Nevada.

An old gas pump in Nelson, Nevada.

Remains of an airplane crashed during the making of the movie "3,000 Miles From Graceland."

Remains of an airplane crashed during the making of the movie "3,000 Miles From Graceland."

"The Hell Dogs" of Eldorado Canyon.

"The Hell Dogs" of Eldorado Canyon.


Just a short drive from Las Vegas!

Who would have ever known that just about a 45 minute drive southwest of Las Vegas, you will find the ghost town of Nelson Nevada, and a few miles from there, a gold and silver mine called the "Techatticup Mine"? Now this mine is said to be haunted, as well as the town.

Back in the late 1800's, deserters from the Civil War came there and settled, to look for the gold and silver that was reportedly being found there. Because of their differences in beliefs (North vs. South) as well as disputes over land, women, management and labor disputes, this became an extremely violent place. Added to that, in the 1920s, prohibition was being enforced in Arizona, but not as much in Nevada. It was said that there were bootleggers and "rum runners" running moonshine between the two states. .

At one time, this area was a part of Arizona, but later became a part of Nevada and that was when the lawlessness got out of control. Killings and crime were rampant, and soon became thought of as routine and ordinary. It was said that lawmen would not even go near the town, it was so bad.

Despite the mine's bad reputation, millions of dollars of gold, silver, copper and lead were found there. This mine was active from about 1858 until 1945.

In the late 1800's, there were two Indians who were notorious for having killed some of the miners, one of them was said to be Nevada's first serial killer, and it was said that he killed 23 people. He eluded capture, and in 1940, police found what was thought to be his remains in one of the caves there.

This particular area of Nevada, because of the incredibly wide range of historical events that took place there, was said to be the most storied and richest area of history in all of the "Wild West." It is also said to be haunted by the spirits of dead miners, Indians and Pioneers.

Across from the mine, there is a historic building, built in 1861, which is today being used as a museum for the area, and for the Techatticup Mine. If you go there, not only can you see artifacts from the town and from the mine, you are also able to take river tours on the Colorado River.

This ghost town and mine areas have been used as backgrounds in two movies - First was "Breakdown" starring Kurt Russell,and Kathleen Quinlan, that one was released in 1997. You can still see some artifacts from this movie at the site. The second movie was called "3,000 Miles To Graceland," released in 2001, and again starred Kurt Russell, as well as Kevin Costner, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and Christian Slater. Several scenes from that movie were shot here, including one where a gas station called the "Lucky Strike" is blown up. Another scene filmed here was of an airplane crash, and the crashed airplane can still be seen at the site.

Another legendary story that came from this ghost town of Nelson, and especially the Techatticup Mine was the story of the "Hell Dogs Of Eldorado." A lot of these miners owned dogs, and it was said that they did not treat the dogs right. When they left, they abandoned them, often leaving them chained to die of starvation. One story goes that there were once two brothers who didn't believe the stories of the ghost dogs, so they went to investigate one night. As the evening went on, they came across what looked to be an old weathered chain embedded into some rock.

Then they came across some bones and remains thought to be those of a large dog.They still weren't too alarmed, and set out to build a campfire and settle in for the night... it was then that they heard what they thought was the howling of coyotes, and a scurrying sound as if it was canine "footsteps" running. They could hear the sounds of large dogs panting, and scratching noises coming from the place in the mine shaft where they had found the chain and large dog remains. It was said that they fumbled to pick up their gear, and started to run frantically. Then they came across some blood stains on a rock, and by then they were both pretty well convinced that the "Hell Dogs of Eldorado" weren't just a "tale." There was something to the story.

Who would have thought that such a place with such a sinister reputation as the ghost town of Nelson, Nevada and the Techatticup mine could be found so close to a city like Las Vegas? Take the short drive there to visit while you are here, if you dare. I just hope you don't scare easily.

Scroll to Continue

Read About Another Nevada Ghost Town, Rhyolite, Here....


KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 16, 2017:

You're welcome, Fullerman5000! So glad you enjoyed this. That's one of the best parts of living in the American West ~ the rich history and lore. Thanks so much for your comment!

Ryan from Louisiana, USA on June 12, 2017:

Love to see and learn about these old ghost towns. So much interesting history took place there. Thanks for sharing.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on July 25, 2013:

Hope you do make it out this way, SaffronBlossom! Ghost towns have always been fascinating to me too! Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting! I appreciate that! :-)

SaffronBlossom from Dallas, Texas on July 25, 2013:

Such a fascinating hub! I have always wanted to see a ghost town but have only been out "West" twice--if I make it to Las Vegas again I will definitely want to check this out!

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 31, 2013:

Thanks so much for your great comment, Parks! I hope you do get to go out there one day! :) I'm a ghost town enthusiast, too... seems like there are a lot of us! Thanks again! :)

Parks McCants from Eugene Oregon U.S.A. on March 31, 2013:

Thanks for the good read. Well done! As a ghosttown enthusiast, I believe I'll take a ride out to Nelson the next time I'm in the Vegas area.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 24, 2013:

Thanks so much, Bob! That means a lot coming from you! :-) I didn't see that story about Searchlight yet, that's interesting! What you say about Nevada is so true! I'm learning that more the longer we live here! Thanks again! :-)

BobMonger from Carlin, Nevada USA on March 24, 2013:

I see that the town of Searchlight, Nevada is up for sale. There's a tale or two to be told from there as well. Nevada was settled by folks that always walked to the beat of a different drummer. You tell their stories well.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 24, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, dobo700! :) I guess it really is a small world. Glad you enjoyed this! :)

Thanks so much, Amy! Hope you do get to visit Nelson one day, it is a town full of history for sure. Thank you for reading and for your comment, I appreciate that! :)

Amy Rowe on March 24, 2013:

Very interesting indeed! I'd love to go visit someday.

dobo700 from Australia on March 24, 2013:

Great hub, I was born in a small town called Nelson, only it's on the other side of the world in New Zealand.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on January 16, 2013:

Glad you enjoyed this, Wendisimo! :) Hope you get a chance to do that one day! Thanks for reading and for your great comment! :)

Wendy Holler from Central PA on January 16, 2013:

This was a fun read. Sounds like a place I would like to visit!

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 28, 2012:

Thank you so much for reading and sharing, epigramman! I appreciate it so much! :) So glad you enjoyed reading this, it was fun to write! :)

epigramman on November 28, 2012:

....well Kathy I just love stories about ghost towns and this is an essential and most definitive hub presentation - it really took me away into another world - and into a time and a place - will post and share this awesome work by you to the Hubpages Facebook group with a link - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 10:00am

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on April 01, 2012:

Thanks, Shaun! :) I appreciate you stopping by!

Shaununderwoodgh1 from Teesside on April 01, 2012:

Not a problem.Please just call me shaun.I love to find out more about your research and writing.Would this be ok with your self.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 31, 2012:

Thank you Shaununderwoodgh1! :) I really enjoyed writing this one. :)

Shaununderwoodgh1 from Teesside on March 31, 2012:

great read

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 12, 2012:

Glad you like it ladeda! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! :) I appreciate it!

ladeda on March 12, 2012:

Great Hub! I've lived in Nevada for a long while and I didn't even know about this town!

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on October 07, 2011:

Thanks, BobMonger! :) I love history anyway, and it's been fun writing about Nevada... so much interesting history here! :)

BobMonger from Carlin, Nevada USA on October 07, 2011:

What a great story! Our state is dotted with places like Nelson; some better and some worse. So many of the stories of these places have disappeared into history. It's great you're helping to keep the history alive.

Related Articles