Humboldt Canal

59. Humboldt Canal 

Planned route: From Golconda, through Winnemucca, to Mill City  


In 1862, a couple of men who had come to the area for mining prospects, Joseph Ginaca and Anthony Gintz, proposed the building of a canal to feed water from the Humboldt River in Golconda, to a new townsite they planned called Mill City. The new town would be appropriately named for the stamp mills that would run with the water from the Humboldt Canal.  

Ginaca and Gintz recruited familiar men help to build the canal, like the Lay Brothers and Frank Baud with whom they’d at least been neighbors of previously in other mining camps back in California.   

The canal was often called the “French Ditch” because the Lays and Baud were Frenchmen and a hefty amount of French funding backed the project.   


Unfortunately, even though several miles were constructed, the canal never came to fruition. The silty soils near the vicinity of Rose Creek, southwest of Winnemucca, would not hold water. The project was abandoned and Mill City never became the metropolis Ginaca and Gintz had imagined.    

Today, remnants of the project are still found from Golconda through the Rose Creek area west of Winnemucca. A bronze marker embedded in the retaining wall of the residence next to the Humboldt County Courthouse notes the course of the canal through town.   

Read More