Travels in the American Southwest
Manhattan
GPS N38 32.340 W117 04.452
SR376, 37 miles north of US6
Road factor/Accessibility - Paved
~249 miles from Las Vegas

ManhattanOne of many "fit and start" communities, its fortunes rose and fell during the late 1800's only to be reborn in 1900. After a brief renaissance, the town again declined to what is seen today. The Manhattan Bar still survives providing the area with a laundromat, library and pool hall. The building now housing the Manhattan Bar was hauled from Silver Peak in 1927, the bar itself came from Goldfield when its mines became unprofitable for large scale mining.

I stopped in the at the Miner's Saloon for a cold beer. This bar was made by joining two adjacent buildings. It was said that the original owner and founder decided to stay in Manhattan after high-tailing it out of Hoover Dam for nefarious deeds. The mirror, hanging behind the bar in a gaudy red frame and having an X scratched in its center, once hung in the brothel located where the trailer park is today. Perhaps the scratch was made by an earnest customer to prove a diamond's authenticity to the Madam or one of the girls. Antique bottles labeled with the chemical symbols for various acids used to assay mined ore line the display shelves above the bar. While my entrance was met with a sudden silence by the half dozen locals when I walked in the door, suspicions quickly melted when it was determined that I was not some lost tourist in search of directions. I shared photocopies of my WPA Guide to 1930's Nevada and they took pride in telling me about their town and the surrounding area. If you stop in to the Miner's Saloon, tell Jim that CmdrMark (the one with the book) sends his regards and made it through his desert travels unscathed!

Manhattan Post OfficeOne humorous story I was told concerned the only vinyl-sided building housing the town's post office. It seems that Sears had a special on siding and installation a few years ago. An order was placed and the installer came up from Las Vegas. He took one look at the building which didn't contain ANY 90 degree angles, parallel walls or even surfaces, threw his hands in the air and high-tailed it back to Las Vegas. The second installer spent double the usual time and finally succeeded after muttering a few choice words, I'm sure. Today the faded green vinyl building still houses the local post office.

The local church was brought from Belmont years ago by Roman Catholics and has been the subject of photo spreads in many magazines including National Geographic. Against cobalt blue skies at a 7000'+ elevation, the church is truly beautiful. The bell, once housed in the steeple, was cast from silver dug from the local mines as were the candlesticks used during the Mass. When the parish was closed and the building abandoned,  the denomination removed all the silver objects (including the bell whose whereabouts are today unknown and presumed lost to history). Since then, the building has been home to many denominations and still is used for the occasional wedding or funeral.

Manhattan Catholic Church

The road between Manhattan and Belmont is a well graded dirt road which provides excellent views of  desert vistas. At the end of this road, as you make a left towards Belmont, notice the old sign post using the old highway designation - 8A for what is currently known as SR376. For other's old photos.

Manhattan Road Marker

More of my photos of Manhattan




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