More About Friends of Midas:
In 1994, several Midas boosters decided to organize Friends of Midas, a nonprofit group whose purpose is to research and preserve the town’s history. Under the auspices of this organization, the preservation of the history of Midas has benefited greatly from the enthusiastic efforts of hundreds of volunteers. For the first years of its existence, Friends of Midas relied on donations of items, time, and cash. It earned additional funds from recycling aluminum cans (Midas has always had a lot of beer drinkers!), selling copies of Forward with Enthusiasm (currently out of print), and raffling prizes at community events. Although the organization will always accept donations, its primary funding source is now the many individuals and families who purchase annual or lifetime memberships in Friends of Midas. Numerous individuals and corporations have also given hundreds of wonderful historical items to Friends of Midas. Although many pieces were lost when the Midas School burned in 2005, most of the personal items, such as pictures and letters filled with memories of early Midas, were not. Through these contributions, the organization acquired a deep collection of archival material related to the development of the town and the mining district that few other historical groups can equal. Although we don’t have a researcher on staff, inquiries are welcome. We’ll be happy to try to answer your questions about the history of Midas and the people who lived here.
A brief history of Midas, Nevada:
In 1907, gold was first discovered in the remote northern Nevada canyon that now shelters the town of Midas. Fortune-seekers quickly constructed homes and businesses, and within a year, a substantial town was in place. First named Gold Circle, the town became Midas when the Federal Government refused to authorize another post office in Nevada with the word "gold" in its name.
From its beginning until World War II, Midas was one of the most productive mining camps in Nevada. Although the official name of the mining district is Gold Circle, the ore also contained a considerable amount of silver, copper, lead, and zinc. The number of residents ebbed and flowed with the closing and opening of mines, and for many years, Midas had saloons and restaurants, red-light districts, a jail, a town hall, and a first-class, two-room school house. Dances were popular; local elections mattered, and murders were committed on Main Street. But no church was ever built.
After World War II, mining declined, and the town’s fortunes waned. Midas is often found on ghost town lists, but it was never completely abandoned. Since the 1960s, it has been a popular destination for hunters and recreationists. Many people, including some who had lived in Midas as children, retired to the small town, which now consists of a few older buildings and several new vacation homes along a tree-lined dirt road. It’s a quiet place, populated by a handful of people year-round, but the part-time residents exponentially expand the population when they arrive on weekends and holidays. The bar closed early in September 2011, so there currently is no business open in town.
Mining returned to the area in 1998 on a scale unimagined by earlier Midas miners. Currently owned by Newmont Mining Corporation, the Midas Mine is a sophisticated underground operation that employs well over a hundred people. Unlike earlier years, however, most of those employees don’t live in Midas. They commute from larger towns that have amenities not found in Midas, such as health care and schools. Although small in size, Midas is big in heart, and the Friends of Midas invite you to visit our favorite town. Whether it’s to bird-watch or bird-hunt, enjoy a drink at the bar or sit on a porch, ride a quad or hike up the canyon, you can find a number of ways to pass your time here. Until then, we hope you’ll enjoy your visit through this website. To learn more about the history of our wonderful little town, you'll want to buy a copy of A Century of Enthusiasm: Midas, Nevada. We also post historical tidbits on our Facebook page -- be sure to like it! -- and other interesting stories throughout our website.
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