Scenic USA - Nevada
Each day Scenic USA presents a different and interesting photo feature from somewhere in
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of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a
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Points of Interest
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|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Stokes Castle Sunset photo by Jim Hug - Exploring Nevada.com
With discovery of the Comstock Load, one of the richest mines on Earth, it's no surprise that the Silver State attracted more than its share of prospectors and entrepreneurs. Here in central Nevada, the silver rush was humorously suggested to have been started by a Pony Express rider that kicked over a rock. Named after the famous Texas town, Austin's population quickly grew to 10,000 people, all hoping to make a fortune. Anson Phelps Stokes, railway magnate, mine developer and member of a prominent eastern family, moved to Austin in the early 1860s. Stokes went on to restart the Manhattan silver mine, bought the rights to the Nevada Central Railroad, and invested heavily in the Austin-Manhattan Tunnel. His legacy includes 25 years of financial losses, fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy and the Stokes Castle.
The castle was designed as a summer home in Austin, following the layout of an Italian medieval tower that Anson Stokes had seen in Campagna, Italy. Built of local granite, the huge building stones were hoisted into place with a hand winch. Each of the three floors featured a fireplace and plate glass windows. The second and third floors, the living room and bedrooms (respectively), offered grand views of the Reese River Valley from cantilevered balconies. The rooftop was completed with a terrace and surrounded by battlements, which have now toppled to the ground. Unfortunately after its completion in 1897, the Stokes family spent no more than a month at the castle, selling off their Reese Valley mine shares, all equipment and the castle in 1898.
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