By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968
Storey County, in western Nevada, is one of the smallest counties in the State and encompasses only about 200 square miles; yet, it was by far the most important mining county. Its metal output consisted chiefly of silver and gold.
The mining history of this county is essentially the history of the Comstock Lode which began producing in 1859 and continues to be a vital factor in the present mineral industry of Nevada. The Flowery district, on a separate mountain range a few miles east of the Comstock Lode, is the only other precious-metal district in the county. As the production of the Flowery district is often combined with that of the Comstock Lode, in this report they will be combined under the Comstock Lode district.
Production of gold in Storey County from 1859 through 1959 was about 8,560,000 ounces.
COMSTOCK LODE DISTRICT
The Comstock Lode district is in southern Storey County (lat 39°16' to 39°20' W., long 119°37' to 119°40'E.).
In the turbulent mining history of the west, there are a few names that stand out in bold relief one of these is the Comstock Lode, the richest mining camp in Nevada. Its fabulous bonanza ores influenced politics as well as the mining industry. National interest centered on the production of the Comstock Lode mines when money was needed to conduct the Civil War, and the early entry of Nevada into the Union was due in large part to this contribution. The discoveries at Comstock also brightened the hopes of discouraged prospectors who were swarming over the crowded California goldfields. Nevada was a new El Dorado, and over the Sierra snows came thousands of Californians to mine the ores at Comstock and to make new discoveries at Peavine, Jumbo, Galena, and elsewhere throughout western Nevada.
Placer gold was mined in Gold Canyon as early as 1852, but it was not until 1859 that the rich silver-gold lode deposits were discovered on Gold Hill by placer miners (Smith, 1943, p. 3). In the beginning the claims were worked as placers, but shortly the diggings revealed vein deposits beneath the overburden. At first the discovery did not generate any particular excitement because the deposits were worked for gold values only, and the black material, rich in silver sulfides, was regarded as a nuisance. In June 1859, an analysis of some of the black sulfides showed that it was worth as much as $3,876 per ton in silver and gold (Smith, 1943, p. 9). News of this spread, and a horde of prospectors and miners from the overcrowded goldfields of California poured into this new silver camp.
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