Nevada December 09, 2016
These 9 Rare Photos Show Nevada’s Mining History Like Never Before
Mining played a huge role in the growth of Nevada as a state. These photos give a glimpse into Nevada’s mining legacy and the rugged individuals who helped to shape the state to be what it is today.
Mining first developed in earnest in Nevada in the 1849s. Gold was discovered by miners who were headed west for the California Gold Rush. They decided to stay in Nevada and mine here instead.
The "Comstock Lode" was a silver ore deposit discovered in the Virginia City area in 1859. As news of the Comstock Lode spread, cities sprang up around the area to meet the living needs of miners. In addition to Virginia City, Aurora, Unionville and Austin were some of the cities that came to be due to the Comstock boom.
Miners in many cities in Nevada in the late 1800's/early 1900's lived in cheap homes like this bottle house. The walls are made of glass bottles surrounded by cement.
Pack animals like mules and burros were used often in mining. As the demand for supplies and mineral shipments spread, this led to the growth of the railroads in Nevada in the early 1900's.
Gold was discovered in 1902 near the Tonopah hills. This quickly led to the development of the town of Goldfield, which started with 36 people in 1903 and had over 25,000 in 1908.
Miners in Goldfield filled the high-grade ore into sacks and deposited them into the bank for safe-keeping.
Mining in Nevada became particularly important during World War I. The economy swelled as millions were made from gold, silver and copper mining which fed into the production of weapons for the war.
Mining was typically a dirty and often dangerous business. The men in this gold mine near Goldfield sit or stand with their tools in hand, covered with dust and dirt from the mine shaft. Several are holding candles to provide light.
Mining played a significant role in Nevada's entry into the Union in 1864. The natural resources (particularly silver) and money provided by mining coupled with the effects of the American Civil War, made bringing Nevada into the Union a wise strategic move for President Lincoln.
Mining continues to be an important part of Nevada’s economy to this day. Much of the difficult work done by the miners of the past is now done by drones and heavy machinery. These photos illustrate the rapid changes experienced in Nevada over the course of the state’s entrance into the Union 152 years ago!