Washoe County
  40.65213, -119.35388

"Another case of blue sign season? Private property? I think we've hit a 'hot' button, gents." -- Journal Entry, September 2007

According to the State Marker System ...
"Located off a dirt road approximately six miles northwest of Wadsworth, Nevada."

New Location: Bruno's Country Club -- Gerlach

Original Date Visited: 9/12/07

Revisited: 6/3/13

Signed: No

UPDATE! (March 2015)
A recent visit up the Olinghouse Road in 2015 revealed some very good news for us wandering folk. The infamous road gate no longer exists at Mile 5 of the Olinghouse Road. Workings by Target Minerals at Olinghouse still continue, but the owners have been generous enough to remove the gate (and the crazy caretaker) for public access through the Wah-Wah Range, but you'll find a fence lining the road to prevent parking. Have a great trip!

The Mystery of Marker 24 (2007)
Perhaps no other MIA has eaten more of my time than the old marker at Olinghouse. I'd say it was all in good favor except uncovering the mystery of the Olinghouse Marker is still no closer today. For every year it remains an MIA, I further conclude that chances grow increasingly slim that this marker will ever be back. I'll get to why in a minute.

The Olinghouse began its life sometime in the late 1990s, and after only a year, the Olinghouse marker became a victim of deliberate vandalism. The symptom? "Blue sign season" and the truth is, information regarding [24] comes as either very slim, or in quiet-spoken tones from the SHPO. This fellow marker found this out right away after his first attempted "conquering" nearly eight years ago. Today's marker hunter will find the road into Olinghouse "CLOSED!," five miles from State Route 447. Yes, boys and girls ... what was then a lovely public road is now strictly "private" with a burgeoning cattle gate spanning its width. On both sides of this road sit liberally posted "Private Property," "KEEP OUT!" and other threatening signs warning people to "Stay Out!" Fortunately, my trip up to the gate in 2007 was a calm one, a benign comparison to others who came before me and had walked away with very different circumstances. One might even go as far as saying these encounters were unfortunate "consequences" that were met with threats of violence. Have I hooked you yet?

Now, about that question a minute ago. "Will the marker ever be back?" Allow me to elaborate while you rest your one free hand from the mouse. Up until about ten years ago, Marker 24 was deliberately re-located at the townsite of Olinghouse just a few minutes north of Wadsworth off of SR 447. At the time, Olinghouse was freely public; visitors were allowed to drive right up to the town site until 2000 until a new mining corporation by the name of "Target Minerals" bought the entire townsite and adjacent lands in Olinghouse Canyon. The company purchased a sum of other adjoining lands, including the portion of the road and the remainder of BLM Road 0456 (which leads from Olinghouse to Vista Blvd in Sparks through the Wah Wah Range), thus, deliberately ensuring access to the town was off-limits to the public. Why? For the sake of re-working the Olinghouse Mine. Although this sounds innocent and regular enough for Nevada, here is where the story takes a sudden turn ...

At the beginning of my search for the Olinghouse Marker, I contacted Bob and Luis from local website, Forgotten Nevada, along with a few other ghost bums from an active (and highly dedicated!) ghost town web ring. Thanks to this collective batch of passionate and very knowledgeable individuals, I learned much more about the goings on at Olinghouse after the town was purchased. The owner of the Olinghouse site (whos contact name and number I shall keep to myself for privacy reasons) stated that he only "closed the town for safety issues," a legitimate liability safeguard while the mine was being worked. He also stated that he does indeed allow people into Olinghouse, which is still an active town with a handful of residents. I was told by another fellow contact that even the folks at Olinghouse do not mind visitors! The story takes an abrupt turn when the owner stated ... "But I have a caretaker living on the property that likes to shoot at people."

Interesting enough? A handful of people who have tried to visit Olinghouse for themselves state of having been severely threatened by this "caretaker." Apparentely, this trigger-happy loon has little to no regard for anybody. Threats of violence, including actual "pot-shots" have occurred, along with less menacing abuse like nasty emails, and claims filed to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, are among some of offenses this person has committed. What's even worse ... all of the people accused by this caretaker had never once crossed the gate into Olinghouse, yet they were confronted for simply driving the public road to the gate. One of the most serious incidents happened in 2006 when the "caretaker" threatened a single father and the man's seven year old son at gunpoint. Furthermore, accusations by this nut have already made it all the way to Reno. As such, don't be surprised if you see a Washoe County Sheriff doing a daily patrol of the five-mile dirt road from SR 447.

So, what of the unfortunate Olinghouse marker? My advice would be to stay away. Accessing Olinghouse is out of the question unless you contact the owner himself. A fellow marker hunter, "Air Force" Dave S, also dug up some information about mysterious marker 24, shortly after I debuted this website in 2008. Dave met with Mara Jones, one of the active Architectural Historians at the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO), and helped further shed some much-needed light on this story. Out of his interview, Dave came away with this statement ...

Mara: "The marker at Olinghouse is no longer there. Apparently people were using it for target practice and the state was tired of replacing it (the plaque). We're still unsure whether we want to replace it or not."

The case of [24] is a sad example of how heartless vandalism ruins precious sites for everybody. However, I want to leave this case on a good note. The town of Olinghouse is in stellar condition and other locals I have talked to have informed me of four standing buildings, along with the town's small cemetery with intact headstones that have been maintained by the locals. As of late, the owner stated: "We're keeping the town as it is and working around it." So, although the townsite is still within the bounds of private property, the road gate preserves it for future generations. Hopefully some resolve will be corrected to this mess in the future and the crazy caretaker will have permanently soiled all of his ammo.

Finding Olinghouse itself is a piece of cake, but again, accessing it is altogether different story. The Olinghouse road is unsigned from the highway, but it is easily discernable by a wide, graded dirt path retreating westward into the Wah Wah Range, exactly three miles north of Wadsworth. Even though the road itself leads to private property, the county is still in charge of its maintenance, making it passable in any passenger car. Olinghouse sits six total miles west of SR 447, but find it blocked by the locked gate at Mile Five. That's not all.

Shortly after visiting Olinghouse, I researched further and discovered a rumor that [24] was still alive, some 74 miles north of its original location! Where does that put us exactly: at the entrance to Bruno's Country Club in Gerlach! Eager to put this case to rest, I stopped by Bruno's on my last visit to Gerlach in 2008 and caught glimpse of what looked like a blue Standard-medium sized marker placed in front of Bruno's parking lot. As you'll see, I found this "marker" newly painted, and other than the lack of a state seal, was indeed a marker in the flesh! Instead of a plaque, the words "Bruno's Country Club" lie embossed across its face. This discovery thus coincides with Dave's interview with Mara Jones ...

"People were using it for target practice and the state got tired of replacing it (the plaque)..."

My conclusion is that it could've been a remake from the SHPO, but was simply abandoned after its plaque went missing thanks to said crazy caretaker. Then maybe just maybe somebody might've found the marker itself and donated it to Bruno? If so, this is a great wrap-up for this case. Until further findings come up, I have listed Marker 24 with these new coordinates, and although the marker has been turned into a piece of badass bling for Bruno, it means that Marker 24 is technically present and accounted for!

  • Could this elusive stand be the resurrection of Marker 24?
  • The mysterious Marker 24 at the entrance to Brunos
  • Brunos Country Club in downtown Gerlach
  • The road to Olinghouse, the former location of Marker 24
  • Notice the sign reading Olinghouse Road

Exact Description:
Named for a former teamster-turned-sheepman, Elias Olinghouse, who settled in a quiet canyon at the base of the Pah Rah mountain range to get away from it all. As prospecting activities increased about him, Olinghouse was caught up in the whirl of things, buying several claims and erecting a small stamp mill in 1903 to process ores.

The district was first prospected in 1860; it was not organized, however, until 1899. Shortly thereafter, the region reached its peak of activity, producing $410,000 in gold and silver values between 1898 and 1903.

Both electric and telephone service were installed in 1903, and in 1907 the standard-gauge Nevada Railroad arrived. This short-lived railroad was completed from a junction on the Southern Pacific near Wadsworth to Olinghouse in February of 1907; regular operations ceased on November 1, 1907. Aside from its short life, the Nevada Railroad Company was distinguished by having the first Shay-geared locomotives to be used in Nevada.

Sporadic activity has continued at Olinghouse until the present time. Total production is estimated to have been $520,000.

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