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Youngest history in Goldfield: Birth of an antique store

GOLDFIELD — It’s a question most travelers ask themselves sooner or later when they reach a new destination whether it’s in the heart of the big city or way out in the middle of Nevada: What would it be like to live here?

The question sometimes leads to a waking fantasy about selling the old homestead and quitting the day job, loading up the moving van and relocating to Paris. Or Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, even Anchorage.

After a few minutes or hours, the reverie lifts and reality returns. Home is not only where the heart is, but it’s also where life’s responsibilities are as well.

Like most people who travel on U.S. 95, Malek and Jody Davarpanah could say they’d been through Goldfield. But the truth is, they never thought they’d end up living here.

Nothing wrong with Goldfield, mind you. In fact, there’s a lot to love. It possesses one of the more remarkable histories in the West. But the Davarpanahs had other plans.

Although Malek’s travels often took him to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the couple was comfortably residing in Boulder City when they started to get restless and thought they might want to move north to Minden.

Then they passed through Goldfield again. This time, they stopped and took a look around. The avid antique collectors were smitten. They even looked at a house, but they still hadn’t gotten to Minden and decided to travel on.

A couple hours later, they reached Hawthorne approximately 130 miles to the north. They’d talked themselves into returning to take a closer look at the green house with the faulty roof. They ended up buying the place and learned it was once owned by a promoter and public servant named Ben Rosenthal.

“By the time we got to Hawthorne we thought, ‘That was a nice house,’ ” Malek recalls. “We turned around, came back here and bought it and this piece of property (adjacent to it.)”

The house was livable once some basic repairs were completed, but the couple had bigger plans.

They built a new building — a rare event in Goldfield — near the old home. This past August, the Elite Trading Post at 430 W. Crook Ave., was born.

The store specializes in antiques and collectibles and features a growing selection of books on Nevada and mining. (For more information: 775-485-3783 or go to elite tradingpost@yahoo.com.)

The Elite is jammed with furniture and books, saddles and purple bottles, post cards and yellowed newspapers. Malek greets visitors with a warm smile and friendly handshake and is clearly proud of his store and new residence.

Goldfield’s abundant history has something to do with it.

But Malek and Jody enjoy the early morning light as it fills the high desert at sunrise. They love the way the air feels. They like to take their walks in a quiet place.

It’s not easy for some outsiders to appreciate, but they fell in love with the spirit of the little town.

“I call it my backyard,” Malek says. “You can go everywhere, walk as far as you want, have lunch. Nobody bothers you. It’s a good place.”

The home was once the residence of Rosenthal, the town’s former postmaster and fire chief who made a name for himself by assisting “Tex” Rickard in the promotion of the Joe Gans-Battling Nelson lightweight championship fight in 1906. So there’s no doubt a spirit of healthy self-promotion in its creaking floors.

“The history of it, we love it,” Malek says. “It needs lots of work, but we are going to convert it into a Goldfield Museum.”

Malek and Jody have found their good place in Goldfield, where Nevada’s colorful history is alive and well.

Nevada native John L. Smith also writes a daily column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702 383-0295 or at jlnevadasmith@gmail.com.

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