William “BIG Bill” Murphy

Big Bill is Tonopah’s local hero, due to his courageous actions during the Belmont Mine Fire. On February 23, 1911, seventeen miners were killed, Bill included, when workings at the 1100-foot level of the Belmont Mine caught fire. Bill went down in the mine cage a number of times to rescue stricken miners. On the last trip, from which he never returned, Big Bill said, “Well, boys, I have made two trips and I am nearly all in, but I will try again.” A statue honoring Big Bill can be found in front of the post office on Main Street. There is also a mural depicting the funeral procession, which took place during a blizzard.

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