From Black Rock Desert Nevada wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Empire, Nevada is located 6 miles south of Gerlach.

Thornton states that James Raser discovered gypsum at what later became Empire.[1]

In 1946, Jay A. Carpenter stated that Allan Moore had been the superintendent since 1944. At the time, jointing in the blocks caused problems with blasting that meant that churn drilling of the next shots was too dangerous, so they were pivoting the face to avoid the jointing. A new 6" churn drill was used to drill holes in which Trojan black powder (40%) was used. Selenite domes 20-30' high and 50' wide were noted. These domes were also described in the 40th Parallel Survey of 1876. "Settlers at the time were using 3' pieces for windows."[2]

Carpenter describes the working conditions as being 6 days per week, 9-10 hours per day.[2]

The old schoolhouse burned in 1954 rebuilt that same year and enlarged in 1964. Empire first had TV service in 1957 and telephone service in 1965. Ernest M. Johnson was head of the safety division of the mine in late 1960's and the Ernest M Johnson Elementary School was named after him.[3]

Pacific Portland Cement Company sold the mine to US. Gypsum. The gypsum mine at Empire closed in 2011.


Image:Empire Airport (1A8) diagram, NV DOT 2003.gif
Empire airport (1A8) diagram:


  1. Clarence. J. Thornton, "Ch. 3: Ranch Life in Northern Nevada and Eastern California," University of Nevada Oral History Project.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jay A. Carpenter, Byron S. Hardie, "Notes on Washoe County Reconnaisance Trip," 1946. UNR has photos from this trip.
  3. Nevada, The Silver State," vol. 2, p. 825, Western States Historical Publishers, 1970.
  • Louise Swesey Schmidt: Memories of Childhood in Gerlach Area—1910-1916," No. 75, 1977, University of Nevada Oral History Project
    • Louise Schmidt was born in Troy, Montana, on December 15, 1905; and at the age of six months she moved to Fallon, Nevada, with her parents, Alfred and Nellie Swesey, and her half brother, “Koot” Bronson. In 1910, after four years of homesteading in Fallon, the family, which by then included a younger brother, Alfred, moved to Gerlach, Nevada. For the next six years the family resided approximately thirteen miles southeast of Gerlach in an area known as the Gypsum Mine. ... Mrs. Schmidt presents memories of life in the Gerlach area. She recalls her father’s activities while he was employed by the Pacific Portland Cement Company. She describes neighbors, friends, and life in an isolated, rural setting.

See Also