Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Ghost Town Of Carrara, Nevada

Carrara is an Italian town famed for the quality of its marble; many surviving ruins of the Roman empire were made from that marble. It's not surprising that a Nevada town founded around a marble quarry would take the name "Carrara."

Carrara is located on Nevada Highway 95 about six miles south of Beatty, or about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. The Carrara townsite is clearly visible toward the east from Highway 95:

Marble deposits were first discovered here in 1904, and the town was formally incorporated, and a post office opened, in 1913. In short order it had a general store, a hotel, a restaurant, a newspaper called the Carrara Obelisk, and a population of a few hundred. It had everything necessary for success except a quality product from its quarry. Despite the hopes of its promoters, the marble found at Carrara was too fractured to make it commercially viable. The population started to drift away, and by 1924 the quarry and post office had closed. The desert began to reclaim the town.

Fortunately, marble was used in the construction of the quarry offices and other buildings at Carrara, making for some impressive ruins:

In the late 1930s, there was an attempt to use the marble to make "ruggedized" cement. That venture failed, but it did leave behind a cement plant. Here's a view from its ruins, looking down the hill toward the rest of Carrara and Highway 95:

Most of the other structures at Carrara were made from wood, and that wood-----along with any metal pipes, etc.-----was removed by scavengers a long time ago. Only rusted-out cans and bits of broken glass indicate this was once a town with people living there. I imagine a lot of visitors zooming north out of Las Vegas toward the Beatty entrance to Death Valley have seen the remains of Carrara in the distance and wondered what they were looking at!