The founders of Metropolis, by choosing such a grand name, clearly had big plans for their city! In 1910, Harry L. Pierce of the Pacific Reclamation Company purchased 40,000 acres for the site of Metropolis. His vision for the city was that it would become the hub of the farming region.
By 1912, Metropolis was off to a good start. The company had built an amusement hall, post office, school, train depot, and hotel. The hotel was top of the line for the time, with hot and cold water in every room, central heating, and an electric generator. The Mormon church encouraged members to move to Metropolis, and a spur railroad line was built and put into service to the town in 1912.
Unfortunately, Pierce's plan to get water for the town from the Bishop Creek Dam that he had built failed. Lovelock, a community downstream, blocked Pierce's water allotment rights. Without water for agriculture, the town was doomed. Some dry farmed wheat successfully for a few years. The settlers killed most of the coyotes in the area early on, which had the unintended consequence of causing the rabbit population to explode, which decimated their crops. Droughts came after a few years which, along with a Mormon cricket infestation, spelled the end of farming.
The community limped along for a few years. Pacific Reclamation Company went bankrupt in 1920, and the railroad spur was closed in 1922. In 1925, the last store closed, and the post office was shut down in 1942.
Take exit 351 from I-80 in Wells, NV. Once off the highway, turn north on Humbolt Ave toward Wells. After 0.9 miles, turn right onto 7th Street, then the next left. This unnamed road crosses the railroad tracks.
Once across the tracks, turn left on 8th Street. This was unsigned and a bit confusing on my visit. You want the main road that is parallelling the railroad tracks. Reset your odometer here, and stay on the main road as it heads north.
4.9 miles - Major junction. Go left here. Over the next 3 miles, there are many side roads. Stay on the main road.
7.9 miles - The town is reached.
There are only two large foundations left. The first you come to is the remnants of the once very modern hotel. Just up the road from this is a large entryway, the remains of the Lincoln School.
The entryway to the school stands out in stark contrast to the surrounding high desert and is quite dramatic. The school must have been quite the building in its day!
|Metropolis Ghost Town||
11T 662773mE 4565882mN
N41° 13' 41" W115° 03' 28"