Barrick recently made a social investment to Eureka Restoration Enterprise (ERE), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Eureka’s heritage, allowing ERE to purchase the historic bank building in Eureka. Barrick’s $36,500 social investment helped fund ERE’s purchase of the bank which will be renovated into a multi-use commercial building. Ideas around the building renovation include a much-needed pharmacy, as well as plans for a cultural art, dance and yoga studio, and a coffee shop.
“This is a unique investment opportunity for Barrick to support Nevada’s longtime mining history while supporting Eureka’s community needs and the local economy by creating local jobs for its workforce,” says Rebecca Darling, director of corporate responsibility for Barrick USA. “Proposed business plans for the historic bank building include a satellite pharmacy to meet the health and wellness needs of Eureka residents who currently travel to Elko or Ely for their prescription medications,” Darling adds.
Settled in 1864 by silver prospectors, Eureka became Nevada’s second largest town by 1878 with a population of 10,000 residents. Nearly fifty mines operated in the area producing lead, silver, gold and zinc for the smelters which produced more than 700 tons of ore per day. The town bustled with saloons, three opera houses, two breweries, hotels, merchants, newspapers and volunteer firefighting companies. Massive fires in April 1879 and August 1880 destroyed several of Eureka’s structures in the northeast portion of town. Most of the buildings in Eureka today were constructed in 1880-81, including the historic bank building.
The bank building once was as a saloon in the front and the Old Corner Chop house in the rear until being established as the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1930 by Edna Howard Covert Plummer in July 1920. Edna was the first woman in the nation to found a national bank. In 1981, the bank became First National Bank of Nevada, Wells Fargo Bank in 1996 before finally becoming Nevada State Bank.
While mining in Eureka peaked in 1882 and by 1891 the major mines had closed, the town of Eureka continues to preserve its rich past today. ERE, in conjunction with Barrick’s social investment, are “researching innovative ways to preserve the historic bank building and create a multi-use restoration project that preserves Eureka’s history while implementing successful business models of today,” Darling explains.
Garnery Damele, president of ERE, explains that “initial funding received allowed us to purchase the bank building from Nevada State Bank. Now, we are in the process of securing funding sources to support the restoration process.”
The building was last occupied in 2016 by Nevada State Bank before the bank relocated from the main street to its current location leaving a vacancy. “The historic bank building is the cornerstone of our main street and the community would love to see the building restored and used. Thanks to donations and grants, we have been able to make this project possible,” Damele said.