September 29, 2013

Photo Essay: The Faces of Bonnie Springs Ranch, Old Nevada (Closed, As of 2019)

[Lsst updated 3/29/19 8:35 PM PT—Bonnie Springs has been sold to a developer and is now permanently closed and will be razed.]

In the Pioneer Days of the 19th century, a lot of wagon trains made their way through Old Nevada merely on their way to California.

Lured perhaps by California gold instead of Nevada silver, or by the ocean instead of landlocked desert, that meant they had to cross Death Valley to get there.

They needed a place to cool off and get a drink of water before they made the arduous trip, one that as we know, many didn't make all the way through.

Now within the Red Rock Canyon area, Bonnie Springs Ranch was built as such a stopover point, and a century later was transformed into a tourist attraction, a good place to take a break from Vegas.

Like Pioneertown or even Paramount Ranch, it's a throwback that glorifies gunfights and public hangings...

...and mining and saloon girls.

When I visited back in 2013, this ghost town was very much alive.

There were many faces watching me walk through...

...whether in the petting zoo...

...through the "Old Town"... the Shooting Gallery...

...and on the front porch, greeting you when you arrive...

...and practically winking at you as you go...

...beckoning visitors, "Y'All Come Back Soon" to Old Nevada.

[Update] Bonnie Springs Ranch dated back to the 1950s, with the "Old West" town replica to follow in the 1970s and the petting zoo in the 1980s. It's surrounded by BLM-owned land, so it's still remote. But the new development of homes will wipe any memory of it away.

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Photo Essay: The Faces of Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Photo Essay: Hollywood in Wax

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