Currie Well (Death Valley National Park)

Bouncing down the roads of Death Valley’s Nevada Triangle there are a plethora of historic sites to discover, many of them are small ghost camps from the late 1800’s on into the depression era. Most have been reduced to nothing more than can scatters, but that is alright, can scatters can tell a lot about a site, from its age to approximately how many people utilized an area, and for how long. Currie Well is one of these such sites.

Currie Well is located eleven miles north of Rhyolite, and was first used as a watering hole for miners and travelers along the route to or from Goldfield. Between 1907-1909 some crude business men attempted to profit off of the water at Currie Well, charging travelers for water, and selling meals and forage for their animals. Also in 1907 the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad built a work camp on the site during the construction of the railroad. Once construction was completed, the camp was torn down.

The water was obtained from three different wells in the vicinity, at the depths of 10, 12, and 14 feet. These wells provided 200 barrels of “excellent water” daily.

In 1909 a last-ditch effort was made by the owner of the water source to increase flow, and pipe water to local mines. This didn’t last long as many of the mines in the region proved unsuccessful.

…and that is the short-lived story of Currie Well.

 

Currie Well is mostly composed of historic garbage dumps.

Currie Well is mostly composed of historic garbage dumps.

 

A crumbling stone wall.

A crumbling stone wall.

 

One of two beehive style furnaces. These were likely used by the railroad.

One of two beehive style furnaces. These were likely used by the railroad.

 

Currie Well today has been reduced to mostly scattered cans, and pipes. A historic junkyard at best. The most significant remaining traces of the past are two beehive style furnaces. They were most likely used by railroad construction workers as blacksmith forges, however some historians believe that they were used to smelt ore from area mines.

Located southeast of Currie Well the old railroad bed of the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad can be found. Some reports indicate that it can be driven, however I question that due to area wilderness boundaries.

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

  • LAEVE

    Super photos, as always. Nice that the furnaces still exists.

    The fact that water was produced from such shallow wells is amazing.