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Jasper was established in July 1883 by Jasper Harrell. Jasper Harrell was a prominent rancher and partner in the powerful Sparks-Harrell cattle operation in northern Elko County, who sold his ranches and share of the partnership for $950,000. He used these funds to purchase many of the Spruce Mountain's mines, including all the Starr King Company's holdings. Upon the purchase, he began expansion immediately. The boom was on, and the rejuvenated Starr King company town was renamed Jasper. A hotel, a store, and two saloons opened. In 1884, a 20-ton furnace was constructed, and operated 24-hours a day. By 1885, the townsite included two saloons, two restaurants, a hotel, two general merchandise stores, a butcher shop, a drugstore, a livery stable, and a blacksmith shop. Ten families resided in Jasper at the time, and by 1886 the population of Jasper was 175. By the end of 1888, the mines began to fail as ore veins thinned and faded. In 1889 the smelter in Jasper was closed, and by summer all mining had ceased.

In 1901, Charles Spence reopened the Black Forest mine and started a smelter at Jasper. In 1904 the smelter was closed once again, and refurbished to 30-tons. It was enlarged once again to 45-tons in 1906. Sometime around the period 1916-18 the area was revived and the new Bullshead Mining Company had twenty buildings on the old Jasper property. Most mining operations on Spruce Mountain ceased around 1952, and by 1961 all mining had ceased.

Some of these same photos I have seen labeled as located in Sheep Camp (vice Jasper) on other web sites. From my research I believe Jasper and Sheep Camp shared the same area. I believe that Sheep Camp was first established around the period 1877-81 by Chauncy Griswold (whose son Morely Griswold became the 16th Governor of Nevada) as a lambing area for his sheep. Later he would move them over to Lamoille Valley. Jasper was established a few years later.

If you visit this area, I recommend that you enter the area from the west, off US 93 (36 miles south from Wells) and follow dirt road for 5-1/2 miles to Sprucemont. The road up past the Monarch Mine and to the Latham (Kille) Mine area is fairly easy 2WD road. Going down the eastern slope (towards Black Forest Mine) is very steep with loose rock. Although an experienced driver in a 2WD vehicle could make the grade down (or up) the eastern slope, a 4WD vehicle is recommended.

Click on the links below to view photos of other Mines/Townsites that I have visited in the Sprucemont Mining District:

Ada H. Mine

Badger Lead Mine

Black Forest Mine

Latham (Kille) Mine

Monarch Mine








The old Bullshead smelter site




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