Old Tecopa aka. Brownsville

William D. and Robert D. Brown discovered good ore south of Resting Springs, along the Old Spanish Trail in 1875. They partnered with wealthy business man George Hearst, and created the Balance Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company.

The Brown brothers wasted no time in laying out a townsite, calling it Brownsville. Brownsville was located along Willow Creek, about six miles southeast of Resting Springs.

Jonas Osborne, a mining superintendent out of Hamilton, NV learned of the strike. He purchased the claims and townsite from Balance Consolidated, renaming the town Tecopa, after Chief Tecopa, a Paiute Indian that was known as a peacemaker for his part in stopping Paiute attacks on travelers along the Old Spanish Trail.

 

The desert has reclaimed the site of old Tecopa.

The desert has reclaimed the site of old Tecopa.

 

The town grew to a substantial size. Lots sold for up to $75, and a post office and saloon served the community. It was at this same time that Tecopa was added to Inyo County, for tax purposes.

Old Tecopa was for the most part abandoned in 1879, a new townsite had been established several miles to the west. The post office continued to operate in old Tecopa until 1881.

Today the site of old Tecopa is owned by the Amargosa Conservancy, with a goal of preserving it in its current state. The only structure that remains at the site is an old dilapidated mill.

 

This dilapidated mill is the last structure standing at old Tecopa.

This dilapidated mill is the last structure standing at old Tecopa.

 

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.