February 27, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

The Duke of Bluestone

Written by Estelle Moore in 1976

“The Duke of Bluestone” is what everybody called him. He was an old gentleman, quite unkempt and dirty, except for his hands which were always spotless. His hair was especially filthy and matted (he had sworn not to cut it until the Bluestone opened up again), and every once in a while the townspeople of Yerington would catch him and cut his hair.

It was said that “the Duke” escaped from Russia in 1917 when the Czar was over-thrown and anyone having had anything to do with him had to flee or be killed.

It was also said that “The Duke” had been a captain of a Russian ship and that this is how he had come to this country.

A wooden shack up at the Bluestone Mine was his home, for he was supposedly the caretaker there, and he was often in the valley helping on the ranches.

He didn’t say much and never was very sociable, so he was a rather mysterious personality.

Everyone believed that “The Duke” had a large sum of money buried up near his shanty, but nothing was done about it as long as the old man lived there.

When he died, after being confined to the hospital for some time, a group of high school students went up to the Bluestone to find his treasure.

According to some, they found quite a substantial sum of money amounting into the thousands of dollars. Others went up to the shack to see what else could be found, literally tearing the building apart. Soon there was nothing left to remind people that “The Duke” had ever lived there.

Ruins at Bluestone Mine in Mason Valley by local photographer Micah Triplett of L&M Photography. Originally posted in the Elko Daily Free Press 2019.

For more about Bluestone Mine:

https://elkodaily.com/mining/history-bluestone-mine/article_e8a58822-0894-57d9-8295-1e4569c6259d.html