This is not an ordinary ghost town, as it was never a “town” - it was a military base. Built in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers and guard Pony Express mail runs.
Today fort is preserved in a state of arrested decay within the Fort Churchill State Historic Park.
Fort Churchill in 1862
It all started with a Pyramid Lake War between the new settlers and Native Americans.
In 1860 a band of Paiutes and Bannocks attacked Williams Station along the Carson River in retaliation for the kidnap and rape of two young Paiute girls by the proprietors of the station. In retaliation a small group of volunteer soldiers and vigilantes led by Maj. William Ormsby attacked the Native Americans, starting the war. Ormsby’s force was defeated and larger force of volunteers and soldiers was gathered to defeat the Natives at the Second Battle of Pyramid Lake.
Captain Stewart, leading the Regular contingent, afterward established a permanent U.S. Army fort along the Carson River near the location of where the hostilities began at Williams Station. The post was named Fort Churchill.
Fort Churchill was built in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers making their way West. he Fort was also constructed to protect Pony Express riders who rode through the area.