I’ve had several people ask if I’m going to post pictures from our trip. Rachel figured out how to do so, and it looks like I’ll be the first to try.
This first picture is of my husband Allen and I on what used to be the main (and only) street in Last Chance. The second is a wider shot of the same area. It’s grown up with trees now and very little is left of the old town site. The evidence of a few foundations, the old cemetery, the spring that the town drew water from, and a few old posts are about all that remain.
The next photo on the top is the same area in 1862, just fifteen years prior to when my story takes place. The Last Chance Hotel is the third building down the street, on the left side. I’m not sure what the other two businesses are, but one is probably the general or dry goods store. The building in the far distance on the right (you can barely see a flag pole) may be the school/community building. It had two stories and the second story was used for community functions.
The photo on the bottom is a close up of the Last Chance Hotel with a pack train standing patiently in front. When the picture was taken there was no good wagon route into town and goods were only brought in by pack train. By the time my story takes place there was a very long, round-about route into town that a wagon could use, but pack trains were still prefered. The top floor of the hotel was a large bunk type room and could only be accessed by the ladder outside. It’s doubtful any ladies ever chose to stay there, but miners, mule team drivers, and other men were able to obtain lodging at the hotel. A candy store and barber shop flanked the main hotel in the small buildings on each side.
The picture on the top: We found four old corner posts of what appeared to be a corral, just a stones throw from a pretty meadow. A spring lay on the edge of the meadow and our archaeologist guide guessed that the corral could be a holding pen for the blacksmith shop. It contained broken pieces of square nails, used prior to 1895.
Picture on the bottom: This meadow/glade is mentioned in 1860’s diary entries as being just outside of town and having a small apple orchard for the town use. It’s not far behind main street (about 100 yards or so) and has a gurgling spring with substantial run-off. Unfortunately in the past few years, a vandal cut down the few 150+ year old still producing apple trees that were standing on the edge of the meadow.
On the top: Only a very few intact headstones remain in the Last Chance cemetery, but all are clearly marked. Two are damaged, but all show either names, dates or both. All but one are dated prior to 1890.
On the bottom: The Tombstone of Ethan Allen Grosh, the man who first found gold on Sun Mountain that later became the famous Comstock lode. He died a tragic death in Last Chance before being able to prove up on his claim.
This ends my photo gallery for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek into the history of Last Chance. Be sure to watch for the release of my book next February, when you’ll find out even more about this fascinating town from our past and the fictional people who could have lived there!