Sitting on the corner of Euclid & Ramsey in Goldfield, Nevada sits the decaying, yet still imposing Goldfield High School. While most visitors to Goldfield today go to see the Goldfield Hotel, the high school is impressive because it is one of the oldest surviving structures in Goldfield. Very little about this building has changed since closing its doors in 1952.
The school opened in 1907 at the height of Goldfield’s gold rush, when the town had a population of about 20,000 people. The Nevada State Journal described it in 1906 as one of the state’s points of pride saying: “It is a three-story brick structure, modern, sanitary and admirably adapted for the educational purposes for which it was built.” It was said Goldfield High School was the largest and best equipped high school in Nevada. It cost $103,000 to build which is the equivalent of $2,649,884 in 2016. It also boasted the only standard-sized basketball court in the state outside of the University of Nevada.
Over the years, as it became less economical to sustain the town’s mining operations, the population started to dwindle. When the largest mining company left town in 1919, it was clear that the city of Goldfield was slowly dying. The final blow came in 1923 when a fire caused by an exploding still destroyed most of the buildings in town. The Goldfield Hotel and the high school were the only remaining large buildings.
The school has been auctioned off numerous times since closing. In 2000, Goldfield High School was purchased at auction for $8,000 and later listed on eBay with bids starting at close to $30,000. I was unable to determine if it sold or for how much.
I was fortunate to gain access to the school in the summer of 2013 and was not disappointed. Though it has deteriorated over time, much of the building was still intact and had original desks, chairs, and chalkboards. We had a great time exploring the building and being able to see the old writing on the walls left by children who went to school there.
The Goldfield Historical Society has been working to restore this building since 2008. For more information on how you can help, click here.