Just west of Goldhill, Nevada, off State Route 341, lie the American Flats, and the location of the abandoned United Comstock Merger Mill. The remains of the mill have been a gathering place for graffiti artists, partiers and bikers for decades. Some even say this place has been used by some people to practice witchcraft, and that certain areas, especially the creepy, dark underground tunnels, were haunted by spirits.
In 1920, the Unite Comstock Mining Co. built the $1.5 million building to process low-grade ores surfacing from the Comstock Lode. But after ownership changed and the price of silver fell in 1926, the mill was closed down for good.
Both the passing of time and the wind have slowly reduced the mill to concrete skeletal remains, subterranean vaults, drop-offs and cyanide silos. Large sections of walls and roofs in some places have collapsed entirely, while much of the steel was removed for use during World War II. Still, the corrosion has not stopped folks from visiting this four-story landmark.
Everywhere you turn there are cryptic messages and painted images serving as the centerpiece to a tranquil desert landscape. It’s the perfect location for photographers who wish to capture the beauty of destruction.
Located on BLM land, the dirt tracks leading up to the structure are accessible during daylight hours but entering the mill is illegal. Storey County Sheriffs often patrol the property and will cite anyone who trespasses.
In recent years, there have been debates circling about whether or not to demolish the ruins, however, funding issues have made that impossible. Despite many people seeing what’s left of the cyanide mill as simply a public safety hazard, others believe it is a significant aspect of Comstock history.