The Mineral County Museum has a fine collection of all local history. There are fossils that were found in the valleys, Native American artifacts that from the local tribes, and miscellaneous objects from the early pioneer days and mining industries.
The museum is not huge, but could take you some time to visit if you read all the placards and notices.
Being so closely tied to the US Military Depot, Hawthorne has a long military history.
It is only fitting that there be an Ordnance Museum. There are objects on display from pre-WWII to modern day items. Some are displayed in a as-is condition. Others have been artistically altered into various sculptures, like windmills, and the popular "Fin Field".
"In 1860 gold was discovered in Aurora, 30 miles southwest of present day Hawthorne, Nevada. For a while both Nevada and California claimed that the rich gold fields of Aurora belonged in their state. Both states made Aurora the county seat for a new county, Mono County California and Esmeralda County Nevada. This led to great confusion during the next presidential election as citizens could vote at the Nevada polls then walk down the street and vote again at the California polls.
Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain, came to the flourishing town of Aurora to work as a miner and later described his experiences in his book, Roughing It."
There is still much to see there, but unfortunately many of the buildings were torn down for their brick values.
30 miles SW of Hawthorne. It is dirt road all the way, and is not maintained in the winter so travel at your own discretion. If you have a 4x4, you can continue 15 more miles to the wonderful ghost town of Bodie CA. (arguably the best in USA)
There are a couple restaurants in Hawthorne, like Dos Amigos and Wong's Chinese. But Maggie's has the down home feel of a small town burger and steakhouse. Nothing special, but then again, just homemade tastes.
Favorite Dish: Every time I've driven through, I always stop for the burgers.
Car or 4WD--4 miles southwest of the Lucky Boy Pass Road at a point 23 miles southwest of Hawthorne.
Have a good map best with topographic markings.
At the base of this arroyo, a crystal clear toxic lake nurtures water bugs. We picnicked but dared not swim. Processing ore required arsenic and cyanide which contaminated ground water.
Reese River Road, dirt and suitable for 4WD is an adventure in itself. Awesome view of Walker Lake before entering deep into the mountains. Comes out at Smith Valley and Walker River. Three hours of scenic beauty and we only saw a wild mustang and birds.
Dan & Jenn Cooke wade in Walker Lake, a cool oasis in summer heat. A group of pelicans lives at one end, diving and skimming the surface for fish while ducks paddle around. I never saw any fish but there must be some to support the ducks and pelicans.
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Hawthorne was originally a station on the Carson & Colorado Railroad. Being near Walker Lake, it was a prime spot that guaranteed like, despite the remote desert surroundings.
The story goes that the mules who were used to build the railroad were let loose to forage and find shelter. They congregated in what is now Hawthorne. The railroad workers accepted the animals' instincts as the best location for food, shelter and water.