It all began here in 1888 when a miner, Jack Sheddon, discovered silver — lots of it! In a few years there were 23 saloons, almost as many mines, fresh oysters 24-hours a day, and no shortage of visitors — Mark Twain, Butch Cassiday, the Sundance kid, Black Jack Ketchum, Billy the Kid and even President Grover Cleveland made it here to the bustling town that had sprung up almost over night.
It was a happening place. For a while.
|Downtown Kingston in the 1880s.|
But there were good times here while they lasted.
|Unpaved New Mexico road where Kingston once thrived.|
One enterprising resident brings in gritty soil known to have flecks of gold in it, and with a backyard sluice and some pans, for $15 lets you pan for the metal stuff and take what you recover home in a small bottle.
Stroll down the dusty unpaved streets and it is hard to imagine that there were once three newspapers, a brewery, 14 general stores and one or two plush hotels flourishing hill.
Lillian Russell before she became a movie star — indeed before there were movies — came here to perform.
Today the Percha Bank building is the only original building still standing. The stone building once housed $7 million in silver in its ceiling-high black steel walk-in vault. The teller windows and lobby interior remains changed from the early days when stage coaches pulled up to the bank, the assay office, and the stores to deliver goods, and haul out silver to the Carson City mint.
You never knew who just might step off the stage.
|The old Percha Bank's original interior.|
That Grover Cleveland may have visited Kingston is interesting. Cleveland — who at 250 pounds could well have eaten his share of oysters — was an anti-silver Democrat who helped end free unlimited coinage of silver and thus engender the panic that would destroy many similar silver mining towns in the west.
|Local artists vend paintings from a truck.|
|An old-timer listens.|
So long, Butch, Billy, Mark, Grover, Black Jack and Sundance. Good times come, and good times go.
But good times are not forgotten even after more than a century.