The "through 1/99" edition of the AAA California/Nevada tour book listed this State Park as being "in the vicinity of" Las Vegas. If vicinity is defined as 306 miles away, well alrighty then!
It all began in 1896 some 7,000 feet above sea level with the discovery of gold and silver. Within a decade, 250 residents had the services of a general store, multiple saloons, school house and stagecoach line. By 1909, the mills closed but it wasn't until the 1940's when scrap metal was needed for the war effort that the mill's stamping machine was removed. The inhabitants left when the mines ran dry but due to the inaccessibility of Berlin, the residents left many of their belongings because it was too costly to transport them. The Nevada Park System took possession of the town in 1970 combining it with the Paleontological Park (created in 1957) and today maintains the site in a state of arrested decay. The building housing the now gone stamp, assay office and miner's housing have been rescued from natural destruction. It's best to wear shoes when you visit Berlin as the old corral can be located by the shards of glass on the ground. These glass splinters are the result of long ago cowboys and cattlemen shooting at bottles atop the fence posts.
More Photos of Berlin and the Diana Mines
As part of the Nevada Park System, guided tours are offered on weekends, June through early September. There is a self guided, interpretive trail throughout the town should you visit during the week. Tours are also available of the Diana mine located 100 feet from the town. This mine was a poor producer however because of the high transportation costs mentioned above, many mining tools and ore carts and track were left behind. It takes little imagination to imagine that the miners would be back tomorrow to pick up their tools and continue their diggings. When I took the tour, I was lucky to have five geologists on the same tour. While much of their conversation was well beyond me, they took pride in pointing out interesting mineral deposits and various geologic faults which criss-cross the mine's walls to this neophyte. By the end of the tour, I was able to see various fault lines and identify mineral outcroppings without assistance. Honesty forces me to admit a slightly embarrassing moment when, while looking over a quartz blowout, I saw the glint of gold! Excitedly, I called the geologists who inspected my "find" only to report that it was a trick of the light reflecting off the quartz facets. They then consoled me, admitting that they too have been bitten by the nasty gold-bug in the past...Guess it happens to everyone at one time or another! An interesting fact concerns silicosis suffered by many of the miners, much like occurred in Candeleria. The silica dust, being extremely abrasive, would cause severe medical problems. Here at the Diana mine, this problem was solved by using water in the jack hammers to control the dust. While it made the mine's floor slippery, it eliminated the cause of the silicosis suffered by so many miners.
Campsites with access to non-potable (undrinkable) water, toilets, barbecues and picnic tables are available. The staff has a large compressor should you suffer a flat tire (and I understand that it is used frequently). Beware: Gabbs offers no services. Stock up and gas up in Tonopah. Park phone: (775) 687-4384. Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
Located adjacent to the ghosttown is Ichthyosaur