%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads

Miners, Rich and Poor

Mining is an important part of Nevada's history.  Virginia City and the Comstock lode have often been at the center of attention, but people have searched for valuable minerals in all parts of the state.  Pioche was the richest southern Nevada mining area in the latter part of the 19th century.  Ore was first discovered in the area in 1863, but because of the area's remote location and the complexity of the ore, serious mining did not begin until the late 1860s.  Production reached its peak in the early 1870s then fell off rapidly.

El Dorado Canyon, on the Colorado River below Black Canyon, was another significant southern Nevada mining district in the 19th century.  Ore was first mined in 1861 and a large mill was soon in operation by the river.  Mining has continued off and on in the canyon to the present day.

Elsewhere in southern Nevada, mining was relatively unimportant in the 19th century.  The old Mormon lead mine, later called the Potosi, was worked briefly for silver in 1861, and mines of the Yellow Pine District around Goodsprings produced small amounts of gold and silver.  Some of these mines became important producers of lead, zinc, and other metals in the 20th century.

The mining discoveries, the towns that quickly bloomed in the desert, and the people who prospected and mined in Nevada have inspired stories about mining.  There are tall tales and there are true tales, and there are miners rich and poor.

Reader: Terry Sullivan

Photo Credit:
Special Collections, University of Nevada Las Vegas Library