Welcome to Western Mining History

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

Featured Mining Town: Georgetown, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Georgetown, Colorado

Georgetown, Colorado was settled after the discovery of gold in 1859. The town would ultimately become the center of a major silver district and Colorado’s most important mining town in the 1870’s. Today, Georgetown is one of the best preserved Victorian-era mining towns in the West.  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

Featured Mining Town: Empire, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Empire, Colorado

Settled in 1860, Empire is one of the oldest mining camps in Colorado. The town was the site of a local boom with the 1862 discovery of the Tenth Legion mine  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: St. Elmo, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: St. Elmo, Colorado

St. Elmo, originally named Forest City, was settled near the Mary Murphy Mine in the late 1870’s. The town thrived during the 1880’s as the local mines employed hundreds of men and were producing millions of dollars a year in gold and silver.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Marble, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Marble, Colorado

A world-class deposit of marble was discovered in a remote section of Colorado wilderness in 1873. The discovery was made at what would become known as the Crystal River Valley, one of Colorado's most spectacular locations. The town of Marble would be settled in the valley below the marble deposit, but not until many years later.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Silver City, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Silver City, Idaho

Silver City was at the center of one of the West's greatest silver discoveries. The ore deposits at Silver City were so rich that armed conflicts erupted over control of key mines.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Bayhorse, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Bayhorse, Idaho

Established in 1877, Bayhorse was the first major mining camp in central Idaho's Salmon River country. The silver mines at Bayhorse were rich, and the camp had a long history of development well into the 1900's. Today Bayhorse is a ghost town and is preserved as a state park.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Mullan, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Mullan, Idaho

Mullan was settled in 1884 near the discovery of significant silver deposits. The town still has an active mine, and is currently the site of the longest strike-related mine shutdown in Silver Valley history.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Wardner, Idaho

Featured Mining Town: Wardner, Idaho

The town of Wardner was founded in 1885 at the site of the Bunker Hill mine, the Coeur d’ Alene Mining District's largest producer. In 1899, The non-union Bunker Hill mine was attacked by a large force of union miners, resulting in the destruction of the mill and office building.  Continue Reading