Ghost Town Camp Transvaal

The Misadventures of Mitch Kumstein
Now Ya See It, Now Ya Don’t
By Guest Blogger Mitch Kumstein
(photos courtesy of the Mitch Kumstein 2009 Desert Collection)

An old building in the Ghost Town of Transvaal.
An old building in the Ghost Town of Transvaal.

I’m still out here muckin’ around in the Southern Nevada desert, and think I just discovered a ghost town with the world’s shortest life.  I’ve heard of boom and bust, but this is ridiculous!!  Camp Transvaal, a little mining town about 5 miles east of Springdale, Nevada, was born in February, 1906, and by the second week of April, this tent city had a population of around 800 fortune seekers.  There were about seventy-five tents, four saloons, an assay office, a lumberyard, a lodging house, and a coupla’ real estate offices sellin’ lots for between $50 and $350 (the expensive ones musta been the view lots)… Sounds like they had everythin’ covered;  mines ta work in, assay office ta get paid in, tents ta live in, saloons ta drink in, and land ta buy, CHEAP!!

transvaal 2

Things were boomin’ right along in Transvaal, until the first coupla’ weeks in May, when the gold seekers figured out that the mine ore had very little value.  I mean, like under $30 a ton!!  And back then, a ton was a lotta rock!!  Well, easy come, easy go, and the townspeople left in droves.  It took about a week for everyone to bail out, and by the third week of May, the town was deserted!!  That’s a lifespan of three months!!  90 days!!   Man, ya work all week, get sum money, go to the saloon, have a few drinks, pass out, wake up, AND THE TOWN’S GONE!!  WHERE’D EVERYBODY GO??  WHERE’S MY TENT??

transvaal 3

All that’s left now are a coupla’ fallin down buildings, a rusted water tank, and sum nasty barbed wire that almost took out my rear axle! (shoulda had the metal detector strapped ta my front grill…)  So, as the sun sets on me, my crippled quad, and a cooler full of doggie treats, I hafta wonder…what are the chances of one of these ol’ miners leavin’ behind a pair of tin snips?”

Mitch Kumstein . . . the dog who blogs.
Mitch Kumstein . . . the dog who blogs.

Mitch Kumstein Bio

“When people ask me about myself, I just hafta say I’m the luckiest dog on the planet! I was abandoned out in the desert just north of Las Vegas; left to fend for myself. After a few harrowing days and nights lookin’ for water and runnin’ from the coyotes, I stumbled onto a golf course, and was taken in by the staff. Soon, I came to the conclusion that I had a new lease on life, and there were a lot of adventures waitin’ for

me out in the wild. So, I took a leave of absence from chasin’ critters at the course and struck out to follow the scent of adventure. And, I decided to write about my findings so everyone could be exposed to the unbelievable history, scenery, personalities, and wildlife that make up our natural environment. If the pics are kinda shaky, and the writin’ kinda sketchy, just be patient….Remember, I’m just a dog!!”   – MITCH

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1 thought on “Ghost Town Camp Transvaal”

  1. I am taking my son on a Nevada Ghost town trip and came upon your web site, purely by accident. Loved your pictures and coments. We also found a queensland that was lost or abandoned that was mauled by chyotes. We think she may have been running with them. She is a Blue, spayed. I have had 3 blue and 2 red meryles in my lifetime. Love the breed. Smart and loyal. I have had working dogs all my life. (austrailian shepards, border collies, queenslands).

    Anyway, I am writing because we are leaving Minden and heading up twards
    Tonapah and then heading East twards Utah, or in the center part of Nev., then due South twards Overton. Can you direct us to some off the beaten path ghost towns? We are pulling a 36″ toy hauler w/2 atv’s 3 dogs. So we need to find BLM land or county land to park/camp. I have gone into BLM and for some reason the page won’t come up (blank). We are 68 & 47 years old. Expierenced camping and atv. Both avid fisher persons, so rods and reals onboard 24-7! We are not knowledgable to areas past Imlay and south, except State Parks. Also you might know about some off the path creeks and reservours we might be able to access. We are not afraid of snakes. Thanks-
    Lynn and Robert of Minden

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