Tonopah (NV, USA): First Tonopah Cemetery

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Tonopaha is one of those former booming mining towns that has not much more than a local museum and some cemeteries to tell the town’s history. Old Tonopah Cemetery was founded May 7, 1901, and was active until April 1911 when the number of dead outgrew the tiny plot, and the growing town required a new cemetery. Some three hundred people are interred at the old location, including many of Tonopah’s pioneer residents, many of whom fell victim to the mysterious 1902 “Tonopah Plague”, the cause of which still remains a mystery. Other eternal residents include some fourteen miners who fell victim to the Tonopah-Belmont Mine fire of February 23, 1911. 

Although I personally prefer those cemeteries still in use – as I am mainly interested in the continuing communication between the dead and the living – like the nearby Goldfield Cemetery. But the close proximity of an over the top Clown Motel to the cemetery makes Old Tonopah Cemetery an irresistible and slightly absurdist place worth the visit!


All photographs are taken by dr. Claudia Venhorst – May 2018.

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