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Goldfield aims to complete grotto dedicated to patron saint of miners

GOLDFIELD — Between the glitz of Vegas and the big litte city of Reno, there is a small mining town nestled between them known as Goldfield. Once the largest town in Nevada, Goldfield has with it an inescapable, rich history.

“Something just drew me here 20 years ago, and I haven’t been able to leave since,” said Peggy Carrasco, a local resident.

But this story isn’t about Carrasco (as much as it could be), it’s about a simple, secret garden that resides with the some 260 residents of the small mining town.

Gardens have been created since the beginning of time, with the very first known garden being the Garden of Eden. Accounts of gardens have been verbally transmitted from hundreds and maybe thousands of years before written knowledge of gardens were known.

What started as a small, simple, secret garden with grape arbor and a seating area for friends, grew as it became known as “The Road Less Traveled,” according to Carrasco.

“We wanted a place of respite and reflection for the travelers of the 95,” said Carrasco, an energetic 80-something who has been working on the project for the last several years.

The Grotto and Gardens of Goldfield, located at Franklin and Miners avenues was started by the ladies group the Marthas and Marys back in 2005 when the project was conceptualized.

While the Marthas and Marys have disbanded, many of its existing members would love to see the grotto and gardens come to fruition.

“The last three months there has been a real upsurge in interest to start and complete the gardens,” said Patty Huber Beth, a former member of the Marthas and Marys.

In Round Mountain, another gold-mining town like Goldfield, there is a chapel named St. Barbara, the Patron Saint of miners.

Many grottos were made in her honor across the world in mining towns, but none in Goldfield.

“Goldfield, once known as the ‘Queen of the Mining Camps’, ought to have a grotto for their patron,” said Carrasco.

A local miner, after reading the information online and learning more about Saint Barbara, offered to draw out a design of a possible grotto to be built. With almost no resources, he offered to supply the rocks from a 300-foot-deep mining pit.

The unique and unusual artwork is made of rebar and wire, which has been designed by Timothy Hipp, another local resident of Goldfield.

The project, despite all its hold-ups, is well on its way to completion.

According to Hipp, all that is needed is some old pews for seating, and an artist who can fashion stained glass for the exterior.

“We also need a pond pump liner, some trees and plants, but really a gift card to Star Nursery or Home Depot would be just as appreciated,” said Hipp.

Hipp has also started a GoFundMe to help raise the remainder that is left to complete the decades-long project.

Even at 75 percent completion, the grotto and gardens are open from June to the first week of December for viewing pleasure.

The final concept will feature a gift shop, a possible soup kitchen in the winter months, and a place of quiet contemplation for all walks of life.

“It will be the perfect place to visit for weddings, funerals, or for the weary road traveler,” said Carrasco.

Patrick Billings is a freelance journalist in Pahrump.

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