Welcome to Western Mining History

Featured Mining Town: Granite, Montana

Featured Mining Town: Granite, Montana

Granite, Montana was settled near the Granite Mountain silver mine, one of the richest in the world. The town would grow to have a population of around 3,000 people. Today, Granite is ghost town and not much is left. The few remaining structures are preserved as part of a state park.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Bisbee, Arizona

Featured Mining Town: Bisbee, Arizona

Bisbee, Arizona is among the West's greatest copper camps. This frontier metropolis is one of America's most historically significant and interesting towns, and has transitioned into a popular tourist destination,  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Red Mountain Town, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Red Mountain Town, Colorado

Red Mountain Town was the center of the second most important silver district in Colorado, yet it never achieved the greatness or permanence of camps in even lesser districts.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Virginia City, Nevada

Featured Mining Town: Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, was settled at the site of what was the single most valuable ore discovery in the West, the Comstock Lode. The city would quickly become one of the largest and most important in the western territories, and would prompt the federal government to rush Nevada into statehood.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Rhyolite, Nevada

Featured Mining Town: Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite, Nevada was the most dramatic example of the rise and fall of a mining boom town. In Just two years a city of up to 10,000 people rose out of the desert, only to be abandoned just a couple years later.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Ouray, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Ouray, Colorado

Ouray, Colorado is widely regarded as one of America’s most beautiful towns. Although the town was built by mining, it was the spectacular beauty of the area that gave Ouray long life as a tourist destination.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Kingston, New Mexico

Featured Mining Town: Kingston, New Mexico

Kingston was founded in 1882 after a rich lode of silver ore was discovered by miner Jack Sheddon. At the height of its silver mining boom the population of Kingston topped 7,000, outstripping Albuquerque by at least 1,000 people.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Rawhide, Nevada

Featured Mining Town: Rawhide, Nevada

Rawhide was a mining town that exemplifies many of the towns which sprang up in Nevada during the silver and gold rushes in the state's history. Rawhide was less a town born on the actual finding of large silver or gold deposits, and more on the manipulation of greed and desire for "the next big thing".   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Silver Plume, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Silver Plume, Colorado

Silver Plume was founded in 1869 near the rich silver mines west of Georgetown. Today most of the town is part of the Georgetown–Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District.  Continue Reading

Central Idaho’s Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Located adjacent to the Idaho ghost town of Bonanza, on a tributary of the Salmon River, is the idle Yankee Fork Gold Dredge. The dredge is described as the largest in Idaho, and one of the best-preserved dredges in the West.  Continue Reading