A prospector and his burro newly stand atop a knoll next to Highway 374 at the entrance to Beatty from the direction of Death Valley. Tourists can regularly be seen posing for photographs with the pair.
The three-dimensional steel figures stand next to a sign saying “Welcome to Beatty, Gateway to Death Valley.”
This new welcoming sign is one of three that were originally planned — one for each highway entrance. The first was installed about a year ago as part of the Robert A. and Florence Revert Park, which welcomes visitors coming from Las Vegas. Placement of the final sign, on Highway 95 coming from Tonopah, is still being worked out.
The new sign, constructed of half-inch-thick steel, was installed with equipment and labor supplied by Spicer’s D&H mining. Brad Hunt, Neil King, and Zain Hammett worked on the project.
Beatty Chamber of Commerce President Ann Marchand said that it was necessary to get an occupancy permit from the Nevada Department of Transportation because the knoll is on the highway right of way. The chamber also had to get approval from the Bureau of Land Management.
The signage project was partly paid through a $20,000 Travel Nevada Nevada Department of Tourism grant. David Spicer, whose workers installed the latest sign, provided $4,000 in kind, and the remainder of the $42,000 total cost came from the Beatty Chamber of Commerce advertising account.
Marchand says that the prospector is reminiscent of a former Beatty character known as “High Grade Frank” who would prospect in the mountains around Beatty with his burro.
The prospector and burro image has a lot of history in Beatty. It was used in the logo of the Beatty Exchange Club, where it was also depicted in a stained glass window, and is on Beatty’s town logo.
The signs were manufactured by Gilbert Machinery in Las Vegas, facilitated by Bob Goerke, a Beatty resident who works there. Another prospector and burro sculpture from Little Baja in Las Vegas, stands next to the Beatty Chamber of Commerce office.
Other than these burros, any others seen around Beatty are very much alive.
Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.