#ThursdayDoors: Ely Nevada

ElyDoors3This door leads to the Nevada Northern Museum and Historic Train Ride in Ely, a town of about 5,000 people in eastern Nevada. Ely got its start as a Stagecoach and Pony Express stop. Then copper was discovered nearby in the early 1900s and times were good. But, as with any mining boom, eventually it went bust and the town had to turn to other sources of revenue, the Old Ghost Train run by the Nevada Northern being one of them.


The engine of the Ghost Train going out for a test drive.

This train runs during the summer and on certain holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas. The round trip to the Ruth mine covers about 14 miles and takes about 90 minutes (that’s not bad considering it’s the oldest still-running steam engine in America). We were there when no runs were planned but happily they were testing the engine.


Back doors to the platform.

The Old Ghost Train is most famous for Halloween runs, when employees dress in Victorian garb and tell ghoulish tales from Nevada’s colorful past, however there are other themed rides, for example:

  • The Polar Express (with a real live Santa, caroling, etc.)
  • Rocking Rolling Geology
  • Wild Wild West (of course).

Shack across from the train station. Not sure what it was used for.

Ely is famous for many other things:

  • The birthplace of Richard Nixon’s wife Pat
  • The eastern end of Route 50, the Loneliest Highway in the World (and it is lonely!)
  • The setting for the climatic scene in the movie, The Rat Race. 

And it’s famous for one more thing as well.  Let me think. What could that be?  Ah yes, it’s the setting for that wacky mystery Flipka! (okay, maybe not famous yet but a gal can always dream.)


Another great thing to do in Ely! Cocktails and Cannons! Oh boy!

But before you get all excited about hopping on the Ghost Train or racing people in a bathtub, keep in mind Ely is a six hour drive from Reno and a four hour drive from Las Vegas. There are plenty of hotels nowadays but my favorite is the original Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall.  They have a huge sign in front that reads “We love Bikers.”  To a hotel staff used to catering to the Hells Angels, Joel and me in our Prius were like visitors from another planet!

This post was inspired by Norm Frampton’s wonderful #ThursdayDoors prompt.  Check out other doors and their histories! 

26 thoughts on “#ThursdayDoors: Ely Nevada

  1. Sixty-seven rooms and suites? And plenty more places to stay? Four hours from Vegas? Maybe for a bikers’ convention? Is it a scenic drive?

    Thoroughly entertaining, Jan. Can’t wait to read Flipka 2!

  2. The Ghost Trains sounds like a really fun thing to do. I’ve been enamored with the concepts of ghost towns for some time, and had even found a way to incorporate the idea into song. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Nevada’s probably got more ghost towns than it does living towns! Some of them have interesting histories and they all have ghosts!

    1. Most of the towns along Highway 50 have the same sort of history – boom and bust mining towns. Ely manages to do the best by promoting tourism and keeping alive some of the old traditions. Still, the drive is daunting.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Ely was actually one of the least wild of the towns in that part of the west but I’m sure there was probably more than one gunfight!

  3. Excellent photographs, Jan… I was thinking that doors and trains have certainly things in common… Both aim to communicate and connect… And they do so in not only an efficient way, but also magically— Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana 🌟.-

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