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Mining

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Tuscarora, Nevada

    In 1867 a prospecting party including brothers Steve and John Beard discovered gold 6,200 feet above sea level in the Goose Creek range of northeastern Nevada. Placer mining for gold on Beard Hill—to the tune of $12 per miner per...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: South Pass City, Wyoming

    Prospectors were panning gold from the Sweetwater near South Pass (in present-day Wyoming) as early as 1842, but the first real rush came in 1865 when a detachment from Fort Bridger discovered gold in the Wind River Range. One soldier...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Ironton, Colorado

    In August 1882, prospector John Robinson was hunting game on Red Mountain, Colo., to feed his partners when he found a large chunk of lead and silver ore. The partners’ subsequent Yankee Girl, Orphan Boy and Robinson claims, coupled with...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Olmsted Was a Design Genius, But As a Mine Manager He Was...

    He was unable to head off a miners’ strike or bankruptcy. Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. He defended California’s redwoods and Yosemite, prompted Abraham Lincoln to the early...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Tinton, South Dakota

    Tinton is tucked in the rugged recesses of Spearfish Canyon, 13 miles due east of Deadwood. Its crumbling edifices belie a remarkably resilient mining town. Edgar St. John discovered ore there during the mid-1870s Black Hills Gold Rush....

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Dirty Work at Petersburg

    Confederate engineers schemed to blow a section of Yankee earthworks sky-high. The Army of the Potomac started it all. About 4:44 a.m. on July 30, 1864, a sputtering Union fuse ignited 8,000 pounds of gunpowder packed in a mine underneath...

  • 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...