In the late 1800s and early 20th century, mining towns popped up throughout California’s and Nevada’s desert regions. One of these was Tecopa, a rare spot with good water where prospectors found lodes of borax, gypsum, talc, lead, silver, iron, and even gold. Today Cynthia’s combines the spirit of this old desert mining town with a 21st century sensitivity to the environment, helping visitors experience the desert in a new way
Tecopa: 20th Century – Boomtown
The Tonopah and Tidewater railroad reached Tecopa in 1907, linking the mines to ore processors farther south, and Tecopa grew like a tumbleweed in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s. Like most mining towns, Tecopa was flush with fresh wealth. Over the years the Tecopa Consolidated Mining Company shipped over $4,000,000 in silver and lead ores from the town.
The miners and their cronies were hard-working, rowdy, and fun-loving. Housing was hastily built shacks. There was a gas station, general store and the Snake Pit – a bar old timers still love to gab about. In the 1930s, bachelor miners at the huge Noonday mine were housed in separate quarters called the Single Men’s Camp. Natural hot springs, used by local Native Americans for eons, became a great place to soak away the previous night’s drinking binge. The town even had a baseball team.
Tecopa: 21st Century – Rebirth
Through it all, Tecopa prospered, until the mines began to close. In the 1950s and 60s residents left and business disappeared. The U.S. government’s Bureau of Land Management promoted homesteading—giving away land in and near Tecopa—in hopes of drawing new, permanent residents. Nonetheless, by the 1980s and early 90s, Tecopa was nearly abandoned.
But a quiet renaissance is underway in Tecopa. By the mid-1990s, descendants of some of the homesteaders had begun restoring some of the abandoned homes. Retirees and other urban refugees began to find the desert oasis as an attractive spot to escape the traffic and hassles of city life. So the town has become home to artists, engineers, and poets, living side by side with old miners who never left.
Who Is Cynthia?
Cynthia Kienitz is part of this Tecopa renaissance. When Cynthia fell in love with the area, she was then the principal of a successful design firm with offices in Las Vegas and Chicago, but realized she’d grown unhappy with the pressures of city life and disconnected from nature. In trips to the beautiful Amargosa canyon, she began reconnecting with herself and the natural world around her. At 45 years old she abandoned the rat race to become a desert rat. Cynthia discovered herself.
So she found a historic cottage called the “Ranch House” on the verdant China Ranch oasis three miles from Tecopa and opened the Ranch House Inn. Now expanded to a second location in Tecopa, Cynthia’s is designed to help others rediscover themselves and to connect with nature: where the stars above the fire below and your fellow travelers are the evening’s entertainment.
“I am providing a place where you can get in touch with nature, which will change the way you think”, says Cynthia. “It will make a better human of you.”