Empire officially gone

I recall reading something about this on Eplaya, about Empire on its way to not existing.  Settled in 1923, the mining company that owns the town (like a lot of old industry towns, including the one I live in) is closing and taking the town with it. Here’s an article in the Christian Science Monitor about it.

“Empire is located in one of the remotest corners of Nevada, which has long led the nation in unemployment. Apart from Gerlach – a neighboring hamlet with fewer than 200 people that shares its schools with Empire – the nearest town, Nixon, is 60 miles to the south on a reservation owned by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.”

I remember the first time I drove through Empire/Gerlach, thinking, “What in the world do people do around here…”

How will this affect Gerlach? Your first thought might be, “Couldn’t they somehow profit off BM enough to sustain them the rest of the year?”

“…Tammy Sparkes, is also in a hard place. In October, after returning from a tour of duty as a military ordnance officer in Kuwait, Ms. Sparkes used her savings to buy the Empire Store, the only place to get groceries for miles, sprucing it up with new flooring, a fresh coat of paint, and a couple of cafe tables. Sparkes owns the building but leases the land from USG, which also supplies the power and water. With most of her customers gone, she’s struggling to make it to August, when the annual Burning Man festival, held in the nearby desert, brings a wave of thousands of colorful, albeit temporary, patrons.”

The town is owned by the company (the land, the houses, the utility services, etc.), so people can’t stay if they want to.

They’ve got a gallery of photos, too.

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