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: Black Hawk, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Black Hawk, Colorado

Black Hawk, Colorado was the the first milling and smelting center in the territory, and was one of the state's most important settlements during the 1860s and 1870s.  Continue Reading

Saga of the War Eagle Mines

While Silver City and the Owyhee mines entered a new phase by the 1880s, the turbulent events of the 1860s were never forgotten. Aptly named War Eagle Mountain will always be remembered as one of the most contested, and bloodiest, mining locations in the West.  Continue Reading

A Collection of Nevada Mining Photos

Nevada is the location of “The Great Basin”, a desert region characterized by numerous wide valleys bordered by parallel mountain ranges. The climate is generally very dry, and the high altitude brings a range of temperature and weather extremes. This inhospitable region doesn’t support a lot of life, but it is one of the nation’s  Continue Reading

The Top 25 US Gold Districts

Of the 508 distinct gold districts identified in the western states by the USGS, these are the top 25 gold producers during the golden age of western mining.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Nome, Alaska

Featured Mining Town: Nome, Alaska

The Nome district was formed in October 1898 after the discovery of gold on Anvil Creek. A great rush to the new district took place in 1899 and a still greater one in 1900. Nome was Alaska's largest city for a time during the first decade of the 1900s.  Continue Reading

The Comstock Lode: Nevada’s “Big Bonanza”

The Comstock Lode of Nevada was one of the richest deposits of precious metals ever discovered, and the mining bonanza that occurred there is one of America’s most significant historical events. This collection of images captures the incredible towns, mines, and mills of this magnificent era of western mining.  Continue Reading