Aurora Nevada is a fascinating ex-ghost town with almost nothing too see. How can there be an ex-ghost town? Well, that is the interesting part of Aurora. Once a bustling mining town, home too Mark Twain, then a ghost town, now nothing remains.

The town was founded in 1860 with the discovery of the Esmeralda vein. By 1863 miners had come from all over and the town grown to 10,000 with 760 houses, 20 stores and 22 saloons. Like most western mining towns Aurora claims Mark Twain as a citizen and the location where is writing began. However, his later writings do clearly discuss his time in Aurora working as a miner and then writing a speech for the mayor. His residency is also confirmed through Nevada tax records from the period. The mines at Aurora were shallow and completely mined out quickly. By 1864, 7 of the 17 mills closed and by 1870 the town was mostly deserted.

A little mining continued for the following decades until 1919 when the post office closed. From the 1920’s through the 1960’s Aurora was know as a ‘real’ ghost town secretly hidden behind Bodie. In the 1970’s it became popular in California to build fireplaces from used brick. This demand for brick quickly took its toll on Aurora and the entire city was dismantled over the decade and scattered throughout California homes. Looters and vandals took the rest of the town. Today all the stands are two objects to big to fit in a car. One is a concrete wall from one of Aurora’s buildings and the other is the timbers, mortar, and pulley from a stamp mill.

The surrounding hills and ravines also have some remaining evidence of humanity including the cemetery, a few buildings, the Napa mill and famous Esmeralda mine. Dozens of active mine claims surround the old town and extensive modern works scare the landscape northeast of Aurora.

  • JB Bergmann

    Rating: 3 / 5

    If it wasn’t for Aurora’s unique history this would be a 1 star destination as there is so little remaining to see here. The history raises it to a 3 star for me.

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