Elko County, Nevada
Island Mountain thrived between 1875-1910 in Elko County, Nevada. In 1873, Emanuel Penrod discovered the rich placer mining site and hired Chinese American laborers to help construct the irrigation system for the placer mining operation. In 1897, Penrod sold his interest and established a new community about 3 miles away, named Gold Creek. The Chinese American workers remained in Island Mountain, now renamed “Gold Creek’s Chinatown.” Notable Chinese American miners by the turn of the 20th century were the Nep brothers, Suey and Joe. The last Chinese American resident was the merchant known as China Lem, who either died or left around 1916-1918. By 1918, the community had left completely and the area became primarily a ranching site.
Similar to Tuscarora, despite widespread anti-Chinese sentiment throughout the American West during this period and beyond, communities at Island Mountain lived in relative harmony together and created lasting friendships.
Participants in the 1999 Passport in Time archaeological dig at Island Mountain, Nevada.
Highlights: From 1999-2001, the USDA Forest Service conducted archaeological work at Island Mountain through its Passport in Time program.