Carrara, synonymous with marble, is many things to many people, artists and artisans… it also is a Ghost Town in Nye County Nevada, nine miles south of Beatty.
Today all that’s left are building foundations, foundations slabs, cellars, the town fountain, railroad grades of the Tonopah & Tidewater spur and Carrara cantilevered railroads. But it once was the site of a marble quarry and enjoyed a few years’ worth of hustle and bustle… well as much as one could get in the Nevada desert in the 20s. – We quote David A. Wright’s essay from ghosttowns.com.
Carrara, Nevada and Carrara, Italy have something in common. They are producers of marble. In 1911 prospectors found deposits and the American Carrara Marble Company was formed. The quarry was located in the mountains and the townsite about three miles away on the flat valley next to the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad. Because of the distance from the quarry to the railroad, work on a three-mile spur line began in 1913 to handle marble blocks weighing up to fifteen tons. A nine-mile water pipeline from Carrara to Gold Center was built. Some buildings were moved to Carrara from Beatty and Rhyolite to make the town look more finished than it really was. The hotel opened in June and featured electric lights, running water, and telephones. The railroad to the quarries was completed in 1914. Carrara’s peak years were 1915 and 1916. At that time there were more than forty buildings at the townsite and a population of close to 150. The Carrara school district was established in 1915. But the town was successful as a marble producer only for a short time. The marble tended to be fractured and not pure and Vermont began producing large amounts of higher quality marble. All activities at the quarry halted in 1917. Nothing substantial remains at Carrara today.
The economy of Carrara was based upon a large marble quarry, in the hills east of the townsite. Marble deposits were first located in 1904. The townsite was laid out during 1911-1913 by the American Carrara Mable Company. The townsite was located on the valley floor below the marble quarry, along the tracks of the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad.
May 8, 1913 brought about a grand dedication of the townsite, complete with a ball, music by a band brought down from Goldfield, baseball game, swimming in the town pool. A newspaper, the Carrara Obelisk, was published (published May 8, 1913 – September 1916), and the post office opened shortly after (May 24, 1913 – September 15, 1924). A hotel, store and restaurant also served the town, which eventually inflated to about 100 residents. Unusual in the desert, Carrara could even boast its own town fountain. Water came from near the site of Gold Center, a few miles across the valley.
Carrara had an unusual railroad that serviced the quarry above the townsite. It was an unpowered cantalevered railroad. It basically involved a single standard guage track upon wooden ties that ran arrow straight up into the hills. At the midway point, a turnout track allowed the cars to pass each other. Motive power was a full car that pulled the empty one up the hill. Basically the same set up as the pendulums on a cukoo clock.
After the marble slabs were processed, they were shipped out over the Las Vegas & Tonopah until that company failed. Later, the nearby Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad built a spur to the marble mill at Carrara and thereafter shipped out tonnage.