Neva Hot Springs, White Pine County, Nevada
by June Shaputis 2001
Traveling north towards Cherry Creek, Nevada, along the old shelf road on the west side of Steptoe Valley, ranches can be seen scattered here and there marked by a small stand of trees. Several places have trees but no longer have any buildings. Monte Neva Hot Springs is one of these sites.
The crystal clear water is so hot where it bubbles up out of the ground (176 F or 80 C) that a special louvered tower was constructed to allow for the cooling of the water before it could be used for swimming purposes. Minerals coat the tumbleweed branches that the wind deposits in the ditch. Recently, a Bull snake was seen that had fallen off of the bank into the water and was parboiled immediately before it had time to do more than raise its head out of the water.
Monte Neva Hot Springs today is only a ghost of its former self. Charles Osterlund 's dream of a fine tourist playground and resort is gone. Where once bathers happily soaked easing their aching muscles, and swimmers of all ages dove, and played in the hot water of the swimming pool, weeds have cracked the cement and grow profusely. The wind blows dust and debris into the corners.
Osterlund built the rural resort complete with swimming, private spa areas and bar facilities during the 1920's, about 35 miles north of Ely, Nevada on what is now known as the Bell Ranch. There were rooms and cabins for rent, a dining room and dance floor and horseback rides could be scheduled to explore in the nearby mountains.
The advertisement on the back of these postcards states, "This building contains so many desirable features we haven't space to enumerate them all, but there are seven swimming pools, ball room, dining rooms, club rooms, and ten guest rooms. When completed, will be surrounded by parks and cottages, a golf course, tennis courts, ball grounds, air ports, etc." and "Now featuring Eastern Brook Trout dinners. Trout from our own private hatchery and the same fish are on exhibition in display tanks at all times. A large acreage of "Something Different" and a courteous reception extended to all."
The combination of the Depression and Prohibition caused Osterlund go broke and to lose the business. Buildings were torn down or moved away. One of the buildings was moved to cover the Lackawanna swimming pool that was operated by Gladys Williams and her son, Gene during the 1930's. That building was later moved to a location across the street from the East Ely Texaco Station.
The uncovered Monte Neva pool and spas remained intact and locals would continue to use them for several years until they deteriated. Now the private property is fenced off and only a grove of trees, the cement ruins and a pond reside on this once popular site.
Today, one must now use their imagination to visualize the two diving boards that once graced the enclosed swimming pool.
The area around Monte Neva is home to a "special
status" wild flower that is designated as "sensitive"
by the Nevada BLM State Director.
A Pictorial History of White Pine County 1900 - 2000 (2000) page 36. by Sunny Martin, Lorraine Clark, Mike Bunker, Steve Sindelar and Virginia Terry for the Ely Renaissance Society in partnership with Ely Daily Times.
Lackawanna by A Seventh Grade Language Arts/Social Studies Project
Monte Neva Fm EC Cm2 B1200
B72 p. 14
B72A p. 8
B85 p. 6
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