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Mining

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Castle, Montana

    In 1882 prospector Hanson H. Barnes found outcrops of silver and lead while roaming the southern flank of the Castle Mountains in Meagher County, Montana Territory. Two years later Barnes got around to recording his remote discoveries,...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Gold Teeth and Lead Bullets

    A rich mouth and a loudmouth sparked reckless gunplay that seemed to involve nearly every man in Ballarat, California, and resulted in the wounding of two deputy sheriffs —two-thirds of the town’s entire sober population. The fusillade...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Tybo, Nevada

    Tybo sits on the eastern slope of the Hot Creek Range in Nye County, Nevada. Shoshone Indians alerted whites to canyon-side silver veins in 1866. In 1870 James W. Gally and M.V.B. Gillett claimed the main silver lode, which became the...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Unsung Charcoal Burners Kept Mining Town Smelters Going

    They fueled the Western mining industry. In the late 19th century, Eureka, Nevada, a mining town with over a dozen smelters, was known as the “Pittsburgh of the West.” Labor disputes in such towns often turned violent, and an August...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Square-set Timbering and the V-Flume Kept the Comstock Lode Running Strong

    Lumbering was the key to mining profitability. In 1875 the Comstock Lode was still pouring out its riches in Virginia City, Nevada. Timber was a precious commodity for the mines and the only source was the Sierra Nevada, dozens of miles...

  • Wild West Magazine

    The Clampers of the Old West Were a Cut Below the Masons

    But they provided more than gold rush chuckles. Like thousands of others in the early years of the California Gold Rush, John Studebaker tried his hand at panning in the Sierra Nevada. Finding little success, he fell back on his trade as a...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Ruby, Arizona

    In the early 1850s, American prospectors found the ruins of old Mexican mining camps in what became the Oro Blanco (“white gold”) Mining District in southernmost central Arizona. In the early years, Apache attacks were frequent and...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Death From Below

    In World War I, whole companies of men were assigned to burrow beneath enemy soldiers, then blow them sky high. They called themselves moles. Most were short, wiry men from the mines of Great Britain and Canada and Australia. Their special...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Harshaw to Lochiel, Arizona

    In 1539 Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza set out to explore the region north of Sonora, Mexico, fabled to contain untold riches. Fray Marcos found no gold, but he is credited with being the first European to set foot on U.S. soil west of...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Borax Has Meant Big Business In California’s Death Valley

    The 20-mule teams are still remembered today. In 1881 hardscrabble prospector Aaron Winters, after making camp at Furnace Creek in California’s Death Valley, gathered up some white crystals from the bed of a dried-up lake, placed them in...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Wild West Book Review: Lost Mines & Buried Treasures of Old Wyoming

    Lost Mines & Buried Treasures of Old Wyoming  by W.C. Jameson, High Plains Press, Glendo, Wyo., 2010, $15.  W.C. Jameson must be an eccentric millionaire by now. He is still churning out words after gaining prominence as a...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Silver Reef, Utah

    One night in 1866, the story goes, prospector John Kemple sought shelter with a Mormon family in Leeds, southwest Utah Territory. Sitting by the evening fire, he noticed a metallic liquid dripping from a hot rock in the fireplace....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Ashcroft, Colorado

    Prospectors Charles B. Culver and Amos Kindt spent the winter of 1879– 80 at the forks of Castle Creek, 12 miles south of Aspen in central Colorado’s Elk Mountains. In May 1880 Culver and William F. Coxhead filed claims in the area,...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Sego, Utah

    Gold and silver drew men west, but coal powered the nation. While most of today’s well-known Western ghost towns prospered during the search for precious metals, Sego was a coal town, supplying fuel for railroads, homes and industry....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Bad Blood at Blende City Ended a Mining Partnership and the Life...

    Rising waters and growing debts sparked a shooting. The first appointed town marshal of Blende City, Lane Britton, hadn’t worked out, so town officials tried again in May 1883, hiring Amos “Doug” Norton, an impertinent, unyielding...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Terlingua, Texas

    Terlingua, near the Chisos and Christmas mountains in Texas’ Big Bend region, owes its existence to the blood-red ore cinnabar, from which quicksilver, or mercury, is extracted. But its character stems equally from one overbearing Yankee...