The Silver Top was one of the original claims found by Jim & Belle Butler. In 1906, the original headframe was torn down and rebuilt as the mine grew in size. The headframe standing today is the same 1906 headframe (or gallows frame, as they were called in the day) and it stayed in use until 1948. One of two existing wooden headframes, the Silver Top is also one of three complete hoisting works located at the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. This headframe stands next to the Silver Top’s iconic ore house, known as the “Grizzly”. This ore house was built in 1907 and contained grizzly screens and ore sorting tables. The Silver Top and it’s “Grizzly” stand proudly as sentinels over the town of Tonopah today.
There are several different major issues that this headframe is facing. The front foundation footings have failed. This has caused the front feet of the headframe to drop down and spread away from the rear feet, which has caused a stress crack to develop in the rear foundation footings. The cage rails have also been broken and several structural trusses have pulled loose and fallen.
In September 2016, Thomad Engineering LLC, Structural Engineering Consulting from Las Vegas submitted a report on the Silver Top headframe, stating,
“The Silver Top Headframe appears to be in danger of total collapse. We observed signs of foundation settlement and several failed or significantly deteriorated wood members. The majority of connections between timber members are lost or severely weakened. We recommended shoring the overall structure immediately and performing repair work soon after. If shoring and repairs cannot be performed immediately, the structure should be carefully dismantled and stored in a protective environment to prevent further damage until such time when repairs are performed.”
We are in crisis mode when it comes to restoring the Silver Top mine headframe. This is not just a simple preservation project, and it requires immediate attention. How can you help? By monetary contributions, purchasing a memorial brick, becoming a member of the Tonopah Historic Mining Park Foundation, and passing the word on to others.
Please help us in our quest to preserve the Silver Top mine headframe for future generations!