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Welcome to Western Mining History

Mining Regions of the Western United States

The image above illustrates the incredible scale of the mining regions of the western United States. Yellow dots are gold mines, black dots are non-gold mines. Map icons show the distribution of historic mining towns. An interactive version of this map is available here.

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Featured Mining Town: Berlin, Nevada

Featured Mining Town: Berlin, Nevada

During its heyday, Berlin and its Union suburbs supported 200-250 people including miners, woodcutters, charcoal makers, a doctor and nurse, a forest ranger and a prostitute.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Lead, South Dakota

Featured Mining Town: Lead, South Dakota

Lead, South Dakota is the location of the Homestake - the nation's greatest gold mine. This mine operated for 125 years and produced over 40 million ounces of gold. As the mine grew, so did Lead, becoming one of the West's most important mining cities.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Central City, South Dakota

Featured Mining Town: Central City, South Dakota

Central, City South Dakota was one of the Black Hills earliest, and most important mining settlements. In 1877, a conflict between the neighboring Aurora and Keets mines resulted in the death of one of the mine owners, and later the same year a strike at the Keets required intervention by Sheriff Seth Bullock and federal troops.  Continue Reading

The Young America Mine and the Deidesheimer Gold Heist

The Young America mine was one located in one of California's most scenic locations. It was partly owned by famed mining engineer Philip Deidesheimer. In a twist "Phillip Deidesheimer" was caught stealing a large quantity of gold from the mine. This article exposes the scandal that the mine owners attempted to make quietly go away.  Continue Reading

Cripple Creek and Victor: Gold Camps with a Thin Veneer of Civility

Fabulously rich mining districts inevitably attracted a fair amount of vice, crime, and often disaster. This account of Cripple Creek's most notorious brothels, gangs, and the fires that burned it all down give just a glimpse of the district's notorious underbelly.  Continue Reading

Deadwood: The Ultimate Photo Collection

The Black Hills Gold Rush was one of the most significant historical events in the western United States. This collection of over 50 images captures the early history of this famous gold region.  Continue Reading