Welcome to Western Mining History

Arrastras Illustrated in These Historical Photos

Water-powered arrastra at Dixie, Idaho

The remains of mining-era arrastras are fairly common in the West, but what exactly are they? The short answer is that the arrastra was the most primitive method used to crush ore into a fine enough powder that the precious metals could be separated from the host rock. While many people are familiar with the  Continue Reading

Where to Find Gold in Washington

WMH Gold Maps for Google Earth Pro are designed to locate areas with high potential for finding placer gold. A core feature of these maps is the highlighting of townships that contain both active placer mining claims and historical gold mines. The screenshot below is from the Washington Gold Map and shows gold-bearing PLSS townships,  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Rico, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Rico, Colorado

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Gold Districts of Nevada

Gold Districts of Nevada

The district locations and descriptions in this article are primarily based on the publication Mining Districts of Nevada by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. For districts with recorded gold placer mining activity, additional information has been included from the publication Placer Gold Deposits of Nevada – USGS Bulletin 1356. Images of district locations  Continue Reading

Heavy Freight Wagons of the American West

Text By Gary Carter Photos sourced by Western Mining History from various archives. Author`s Note Twelve billion tons of freight were transported by truck in the United States last year. The skilled drivers have CB contact, radio, headphones, paved roads, power steering, sleeper cabs, and comfortable seats. Truck stops provide food, showers, and fuel. One  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Aurora, Nevada

Featured Mining Town: Aurora, Nevada

Aurora, Nevada is one of the West's most historically significant mining towns. Aurora is where a young Samuel Clemens tried his hand at mining. Clemens failed as a miner, but the letters he wrote in his dirt-floored cabin got him a job at a Virginia City newspaper, where he wrote under the name Mark Twain. Twain would go on to be one of the world's most famous figures.   Continue Reading