Travels in the American Southwest

Belmont, NV & The Monitor Inn

Friday morning dawned crisp and clear as I reluctantly slid out from the soft, thick comforters on my feather mattress at the Monitor Inn. The room was a cool 55 degrees as my feet hit the floor. Shorts and a long-sleeved shirt and I grabbed by camera. Over dinner the night before, my hosts told me of the latest happenings in Belmont. Readers who have visited my Manhattan page know that the beautiful church which has been the subject of photo shoots by National Geographic was originally in Belmont. It was moved when Belmont became a true ghost town with most mines closing by 1890 and the county seat being moved in 1905.

A few months ago, the good folks of Belmont asked the residents of Manhattan for their church back. Let's just say that the Manhattanites declined to grant the request. At that point, the few residents and a number of investors who own property in the area met. Led by a certain automobile dealer with substantial land holdings throughout Nevada, a plan was hatched to build a new House of Worship. Shortly thereafter, blueprints were drawn, approved and the construction began. Today, the new non-denominational church is perched above the town overlooking the Inn, vacation homes and the long stretch of SSR82 leading back to SR376. It has the exact dimensions and architectural style as the one moved to Manhattan decades before. The new church, however, boasts an organ and piano, items which were absent in Manhattan. I couldn't resist the temptation of tickling the ancient ivory keyboard, although if anyone were there to listen, they'd probably be imagining a graveyard of elephants rolling over in unison! I meandered about town shooting pictures of the county's first seat and courthouse (locked and secured to prevent trespass, however the Plexiglas windows allow you to peer into the dark and dusty rooms on the first floor).

The sound of the generator starting brought me back to the 21st century. I remembered learning that the Inn can exist on windpower and solar panel provided energy, storing the power in a series of batteries. The batteries provide ample electricity for light in the evening, but the demands of daytime use with guests in residence requires a generator. Pumping water from the well and making ice are power intensive. So intensive, in fact, that guests who are using the Inn as a waystation enroute to camping are reminded to bring whatever ice they'll be needing for the camping portion of their trip with them. The Inn is unable to provide ice for any reason other than the use of their guests while staying at the Inn.

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