The Original Ghost Town Explorer
Nell Murbarger was born in South Dakota in 1909. Raised by her outdoors loving parents, she was intrigued by the lore and history of frontier notables such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Nell was home schooled through 8th grade before embarking on an educational spree that took her in to Oregon, California and Washington States. Continuing with her family tradition as an outdoors person, she enjoyed horses, camping, photography and most of all, exploring the western United States. Nell was married to Wilbur Murbarger in 1931, but divorced in 1939. Nell worked for several western newspapers, including the Los Angeles Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune, but her real passion was the American west, so in 1945 she decided to pursue her dreams and became a full time free-lance writer.
Nell wandered back in to the desert, setting up a base camp in a lonely 4 wall cabin near Hamilton Nevada where she documented her ghost town explorations and wrote of her findings. She planned excursions in to the desert that lasted several days and took her hundreds of miles from civilization. Most of these travels were in her old Plymouth that bounced along the rocky remnants of gold rush trails. Sleeping under the stars and preparing her meals over a campfire, she was truly free of any deadlines or supervision.
She wrote several books and magazine articles on just about every conceivable desert subject. Her stories published in the popular Desert Magazine popularized the hobby of “ghost-towning”. Nell received the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit in 1955. Nell passed on in 1991, a life time member of the Nevada Historical Society. Her work exploring and documenting our western history was enough to jump start many historians and historic societies. Many argue that she is the founder of our popular hobby and probably the sole reason for its existence all together.
Thank you Nell…