By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968
Lander County lies within the vast arid Great Basin, wherein narrow, northward-trending, treeless mountains rise a mile or more above sun-baked valleys.
The hordes of early gold seekers who crossed the State in 1849 and 1850 were intent on reaching the lush gold fields of the Mother Lode; they wasted no time crossing the forbidding wastes of Nevada. It was not until after the rich strike at Comstock in 1859 that Nevada was seriously considered for worthwhile prospecting.
In 1862 precious metal in Lander County first was discovered in the Reese River district. Almost immediately news of the rich silver ores started a rush. The town of Austin was formed and had a population of 6,000 by 1863 (Vanderburg, 1939, p. 11). The Reese River district flourished, and Austin was the center of mining activity. Important gold discoveries were made in the 1860's and 1870's at the Battle Mountain and Lewis districts, and, in 1905 in the Bullion district. Almost all the gold mined in the county from 1945 through 1959 came from the Bullion district.
Lander County is noted for its silver production, the great silver output of the Reese River district overshadowing the output of all other metals; nevertheless, the county has produced considerable gold, both placer and lode. Before 1890, gold and silver values were combined in production reports, and it is impossible to determine gold or silver production alone. The precious metal production of the county during 1870-89 was $16,676,405, most of which was silver from the Reese River district (Vanderburg, 1939, p. 15). Beginning in 1890, gold production and silver production were recorded separately: from 1890 through 1901, $510,270 (about 24,700 ounces) in gold was recorded; from 1902 through 1936, production was 48,899 ounces of placer gold and 75,004 ounces of lode gold (Vanderburg, 1939, p. 15-16) ; and from 1937 through 1959, a total of 435,325 ounces of lode gold and 23,347 ounces of placer gold was mined. Total gold production in the county through 1959 was about 607,000 ounces.
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