The first house in Lucky Boy – a tent with tree limbs on it.

Lucky Boy

Submitted by Harold Fuller

This story was written by LeRoy F. Pike, a young Reno journalist and carried in the Lucky Boy Mining Record newspaper in 1909. His beautiful writing style makes for good story telling and he is writing this, on site, during the 1909 time period. Unfortunately a few of his golden expectations never fully materialized.

“Guy Prichard, who had led the race into Dutch Creek in 1906, and who had ventured all the wealth he possessed for naught, was at work on the old stage road leading from Hawthorne to Bodie. He wiped the sweat from his brow and with a curse drove his pick into the ground and stretched out beside it. He reached and grasped a piece of rock his pick had torn up. He casually examined it, jumped to his feet in a fit of excitement. “At last! At last!” he shouted. “I have found it.” “I have found it.”

Jim Clark, his companion and co-worker, thinking he had become demented, rushed over and grabbed him, trying to settle him down, when Guy pushed the rock in front of his face and said “Look Jim, just look. At last we found the ledge we’ve been looking for, we are lucky boys.”

They had uncovered a ledge of fabulously rich silver and galena ore. They had opened a new bonanza. They staked out six claims and called them the Lucky Boy group. They worked their claims, on a limited scale and secured a small fortune. They kept their good luck secret until they became somewhat satisfied and longed for civilization. They then sold their claims to John H. Miller, Ed Heller and J. E. Adams. These men began working the claims immediately and it proved so rich they were unable to keep their treasure vault a secret. The news spread like wildfire.

Lucky Boy was being talked about in mining circles throughout the state. Men in other locations are tossing aside their picks to take part in a new race for riches. Clerks in stores are giving up their positions to become prospectors and men who have heard the call are headed for one place, Lucky Boy.

Hawthorne, dubbed a few months ago by a newspaper man, “A desert city of the dead,” has been revived. This old town is all bustle and excitement. Men are sleeping in the streets, on bar room floors and in all kinds of huts and tents. The road from Thorne, except for its sand and dust, looks like the main thoroughfare of a thriving city. Where less than three months ago one, two horse stage pulled an occasional commercial man across the stretch of sand to barter with Alvy Miller, the hotel owner, saloon keeper and postmaster, scores of heavily loaded vehicles of all kinds now go with all possible speed. There are there large six horse stages making numerous trips daily from Thorne to Hawthorne and there are many private vehicles engaged in the same business. On Walker Lake a gasoline launch can be heard every day and far into the night throbbing across the still waters, carrying men and freight headed for the new camp of Lucky Boy.

From daylight to sunset, a long line of dust marks the trail form Hawthorne, a distance of seven miles up the mountain side to the new camp. More than a score of leases have been let on the Lucky Boy claims and all are making good. Up there in the hills men are becoming millionaires who only a few days ago tramped into camp with their entire luggage on their backs.

The owner of the original Lucky Boy claims is shipping one hundred tons each day to the railroad station at Thorne and they have already refused a sales offer of more than a million dollars. J. D. Hubbard, of the Chicago Exploration Company, has secured a lease on the Lucky Boy group from which he is shipping $100 ore in large lots, and the United Smelting Co. has taken an option on the Alamo group of claims for $1,500,000. This company already has men sinking shafts on its property and these agents declare the Lucky Boy will become the greatest camp in Nevada.

The camp is jumping and things look prosperous. Two live newspapers are now operating and the Walker Lake Bulletin, published in Hawthorne, has taken on new life. Town lots in Hawthorne is now at a premium and the town will soon stretch beyond the old graveyard. The lots in lucky Boy are selling for prices higher than lots on main streets of many small cities and many men are making small fortunes in real estate.

Two power and water companies have been formed and one is now building a powerhouse while the other is running a pipe line into the camp. An automobile road is being built directly from the new town to Thorne and a telephone line is in the course of construction. Lucky Boy is a city of tents, having sprung up over night, as most mining camps do, but lumber is being hauled in and soon it will be city of substantial buildings.

Lucky Boy has come to stay. There is talk of the Southern Pacific again rebuilding the railroad into Hawthorne and then extending up to the new district, as trade is brisk and looks permanent. When this is done the ore will be shipped in the train loads and no more by the hundred tons as is now necessary.

Lucky Boy has the usual mining town saloons, stores and shops abundance. It has missed only one thing that most camps have in the beginning: there has not been a gun fight or a killing so far.”

Next week’s submission: Chinese New Year