Welcome to Western Mining History

Cripple Creek “The World’s Greatest Gold Camp”

"So thickly were the hillsides and gulches studded with homes, than one can easily say that the Cripple Creek district is one great city, covering thirty-six square miles." Cripple Creek - "The World's Greatest Gold Camp" uses selected text from a 1903 special edition of the Cripple Creek Times, and over 50 images from various sources to illustrate the importance and magnitude of Cripple Creek during the district's peak years.   Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Butte, Montana

Featured Mining Town: Butte, Montana

Butte, Montana started as a gold camp, but by the mid-1870s the settlement had experienced an exodus of miners as the easily-mined gold ran out. By the 1880s silver had revived the camp, and shortly after copper became king here-making Butte the most important mining center in the world over the next few decades.  Continue Reading

A Collection of Oregon Mining Photos

Gold is Oregon's primary mined commodity, and the gold mining industry thrived in the state for many decades. This is a collection of noteworthy mining photos from the state.  Continue Reading

Featured Mining Town: Helena, Montana

Featured Mining Town: Helena, Montana

Helena, Montana was the site of one of Montana's earliest gold rushes. Helena was the political and financial center of Montana by the 1880s and it was said that it had more millionaires per capita than any city in the world.  Continue Reading

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