The town of Midas, located in northeast Nevada, existed for roughly the first half of the twentieth century due to mining activity. Today it is a retirement community preserving fond memories of its exciting past. Highly successful mining has recently returned to the region without significant changes to life in the tiny town.
The boom that resulted in the creation of Midas began in 1907. Fortune-seekers swarmed the strike area, which is at the base of the Owyhee Bluffs, approximately fifty miles northeast of Golconda. Two towns—Gold Circle and Summit—sprang up. By 1909, deposits seemed to dwindle, and residents numbered less than 200. Summit disappeared, and Gold Circle's name was changed to Midas.
After the initial rush, the town limped along until large-capacity mills could be built. Late in 1915, the Elko Prince Mining Company began operation of its fifty-ton cyanide mill, and production increased. For five years, the district was highly productive and the population again hovered around 200.
On April 15, 1922, a fire destroyed the Elko Prince Mill, and the district headed into a depression. Two years later, Lander County state senator Noble H. Getchell formed the Gold Circle Consolidated Mining Company, which revitalized the district and the town for the next twenty years. Boxer Jack Dempsey famously spent time in Midas, training for his heavyweight comeback and hunting for sage hen with the governors of Nevada and California.
Midas had saloons and restaurants, red-light districts, a jail, a town hall, and a first-class school house. Dances were popular, local elections mattered, and murders were committed on Main Street.
The date often given for the end of mining in Midas is 1942, when the Federal War Department shut down many hard rock mines across the country, and the government closed the books on production in the Gold Circle Mining District. Up to that point, the district's total production, which included gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, was just under four million dollars.
Midas is often found on lists of ghost towns, but it has never been completely abandoned. Since the 1960s, it has been a popular destination for hunters, anglers, and recreation-lovers. Many people, including those who had lived there as children, have retired to Midas.
In 1998, underground mining began again in the Gold Circle Mining District, this time on a scale unimagined by earlier Midas miners. Over the district's first ninety years, 129,000 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver were extracted. During the district's next ten years, more than ten times as much gold and silver were produced.