Exploring some ghost-towns in Nevada last week, I left behind a few of my misconceptions of the wild west. I imagined mining towns were all of the Paint Your Wagon variety, with bordellos and saloons the major source of entertainment. All that gold and silver had to be spent somewhere, I assumed.
However, in old local histories I found excerpts like this one:
"Before the town was six months old, the gold prospectors organized a school district, elected a board of trustees, dedicated a lot for a school house and fixed the salary of the school marm, without having so much as a single child in the place. But as one of the miners remarked when approached with the fact, 'Children are a natural thing, they'll come later.' "
"In the first week of the existence of the town, the few inhabitants (all were there to search for gold) felt the want of 'stated times of preaching.' They met together without regard to sect, and organized a church under the title of the Universal Brotherhood, and set aside a large tract of ground for 'religious purposes.' Although none of the miners claimed a call from God, they all felt better for getting the business out of the way."
(Although we missed out on the silver, we mined some good ghost stories.)
Where are you off to this summer?