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Winning the Metal: Ore Mills of the West

Article By Gary Carter. Photos sourced by Western Mining History. Numerous articles and books have described the techniques to extract valuable metals from waste rock. One of the best books on the subject is Drills and Mills by Will Meyerriecks. Meyerriecks describes the process of extracting metals from waste rock as “winning the metal”. As  Continue Reading

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

Featured Mining Town: Rico, Colorado

Featured Mining Town: Rico, Colorado

The development of Rico, Colorado was hampered in the 1870s and 1880s due to its remote location and poor transportation infrastructure. By the 1890s a railroad solved the transportation problem and Rico became a thriving mining town. Today the railroad and the mines are no longer operating, and Rico once again finds itself an isolated and sleepy small town.   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

Featured Mining Town: Tombstone, Arizona

Featured Mining Town: Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona is best known for the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and the gunfight at the OK Corral. While most people probably know that Tombstone was a mining town, the fact that it was one of the West's largest silver bonanza's has been overshadowed by the famous events surrounding the legendary gun battle.  Continue Reading