http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23257062-23109,00.html Nevada quake destroys historic brothel By Doug Mcmurdo in Wells, Nevada February 22, 2008 09:02am Article from: Reuters Font size: + - Send this article: Print Email A STRONG earthquake in northeastern Nevada has badly damaged the historic centre of a remote town and injured several people, but nearby mining operations were only briefly disrupted. The 6.0 magnitude quake near the town of Wells sparked small fires and cracked pipes, cutting off running water for a time, residents and officials said. The town's 140-year-old brothel suffered major damage. The main street dating from the late 1800s suffered the most damage as ceilings collapsed, windows broke and bricks fell. Although many of its saloons, markets and banks are no longer used, officials had talked about reviving the area. "The historic district is pretty much done for,'' said City Manager Jolene Supp. About 613km north of the gambling centre of Las Vegas, Wells came to life in the late 19th century as deep, clear springs attracted travellers going west to California. The Chamber of Commerce touts the town of around 1600 people as a "perfect setting'' for western and road movies. Sparsely populated northwest Nevada is home to the most prolific gold mining region in the Western hemisphere. Mines quickly resumed their round-the-clock operations, even as dozens of aftershocks hit throughout the day. About 50 miners were underground some 160km from the epicentre when the quake hit, but they evacuated without incident, said Mary Korpi, a spokeswoman for Newmont Mining Corp. In Wells, one person broke an arm, another had cuts to the head and a third had trouble breathing, said Kevin McKinney in the Elko County Sheriff's Department. All commercial establishments in Wells were closed. The ceiling fell in the only grocery store, leaving a smell of alcohol from broken bottles. Paint spilled across the floor in the hardware store next door. The quake struck at 6.16am PST (1416 GMT), with a shallow epicentre 10km deep. Randy Bowers said he was working the overnight bartending shift at Donna's Ranch, Wells' 140-year-old brothel, when he felt two powerful jolts and a lighter one. Nevada is the only US state with legal prostitution. "The building is here but everything else is demolished, everything inside is trashed,'' Bowers said. "Stuff didn't fall off, it flew off,'' he added, noting there were no customers in the brothel at the time and that the "working girls were in their rooms''.