Alpha-Omega Lookout & Monument

The Alpha-Omega Lookout & Monument is located four miles east of the Washington turnoff, on Hwy 20. Although these two mining camps have completely disappeared, they were both the site of rich diggings and frenzy during the 1850’s and 1860’s.
Alpha was first settled in the fall of 1852 when gold was discovered in a ravine by two prospectors, Henderson and Rodgers. The camp, which some claim was first known as “Hell Out for High Noon City,” was one of the liveliest places in the county during 1854 and 1855, when several hundred miners took out more than $1.5 million in gold from an area of less than forty acres. It contained a first class hotel, two general stores, and a blacksmith shop, in addition to a singing school which was taught two nights a week by Mr. G. M. Clark. If a miner couldn’t carry a tune, he had the option of attending Whistling School, taught by Mr. M. Tanner who was noted as being “proficient in the science.” Eighteen would-be whistlers attended the class one night a week.
Omega, also known as “Delirium Tremens,” was first worked by J. A. Dixon in 1850. The place started slowly as a mining camp, not really establishing itself until hydraulic mining operations began. Its post office was established in 1857, and by the following year the town had assumed quite a prosperous air with a clothing store, tin shop, Chinese laundry, jail, two meat markets, three blacksmith shops, several hotels, four provision stores, and many saloons. Clippings from the Nevada Democrat provide an interesting view of Omega during the gold years.
December 9, 1857: “On Friday evening last, four men entered a dance house at Omega, kept by Mr. Williams and Mr. Tiemyre. After getting ‘somewhat in liquor’ they proceeded to smash things generally about the establishment. In the melee Mr. Tiemyre got a black eye and Mr. Williams received a severe cut in the forehead by coming in contact with a decanter that was flying across the room.”
March 31, 1858: “The town, like all California towns, is cursed with a few of the sporting gentry. Also a house of unquestionable bad repute, where dancing and singing is kept up until a late hour almost every night, to the annoyance of families living in the vicinity.”
November 10, 1858: A log house in Omega is being converted into a calaboose. This will have a tendency to preserve order and quiet down the effects of bad whiskey.”
January 11, 1860: “Omega is undergoing a great change. On Saturday evening last, thirteen of our citizens marched in single file up to the Sons of Temperance Hall and there avowed their determination to abstain from the further use of the double-distilled lightning that is dealt out so freely at one-bit a glass. The loss of this thirteen has caused the saloon keepers to wear long faces.”
Omega was twice destroyed by fire, the blazes occurring on August 24 of 1861 and on November 12 of 1863. Nothing is left today to suggest that more than $2.5 million in gold was uncovered here during the mining days, except for the diggings; deep pits carved out of the hills by the combined forces of water and man.