Big Bonanza

The Spanish term "bonanza" means prosperity and also a rich vein of ore. Mines or communities were said to be in bonanza when profits ran high. The contrasting Spanish word "borrasca" refers to times of depression. Together, bonanza and borrasca hint at the importance of Spanish speakers to western mining history.


While the Cincinnati Mining Company discovered silver in the Shoshone Mountains of Nye County as early as 1887, Berlin did not form until 1897. A thirty-stamp mill was built and Berlin steadily grew until it had a population of 300 by 1905. However, a miner's strike in 1907 ended the boom. A new operation from 1910 to 1914 kept a few people in the largely abandoned town. After that, Berlin was empty except for the mine superintendent who remained on duty until 1947.

Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain owes its early existence to railroads and mining. When the Central Pacific Railroad came to the area in 1868, it encountered a loose community of mining camps inspired by the boomtown of Austin, ninety miles to the south. Mining activity increased with the coming of the railroad, and a post office was established in 1870.

Bank Crowd

"The Bank Crowd" refers to the group of entrepreneurs who dominated the economic life of the Comstock from 1867 to 1875. The name refers to the Bank of California, which was opened in San Francisco, on June 5, 1864, by William C. Ralston and Darius Ogden Mills. Ralston and Mills in November 1864 established a branch in Virginia City, with William Sharon named as manager.

White Pine County

White Pine County embraces 8,877 square miles in eastern Nevada, in the White Pine Range adjacent to the Utah border. The state legislature established the county in 1869 as a result of the mining boom at Hamilton, its first county seat. The boom ended after less than three years, but the community continued to serve as the center of government until the courthouse burned. Ely became the county seat in 1887.

White Pine County Company Towns

When mining partners Edwin Gray and Dave Bartley discovered copper deep within a mountainside in central White Pine County between 1900 and 1902, they sparked a mining boom that would soon become one of the richest in the state. By 1910, four communities called "company towns" were established by businesses that aimed to exploit the deposits.

White Pine County Courthouse

Created in 1869, White Pine County's government seat was originally located in Hamilton. A 40-by-60-foot brick courthouse was built in 1870 for $55,000. The building served the county until it burned down in 1885. Previous quarrels over relocation of the county seat raised suspicions of arson.

Austin and the Reese River Mining District

In 1862, William Talcott discovered silver ore in Pony Canyon, a pass through central Nevada's Toiyabe Mountains. The strike attracted newcomers who founded Clifton below the new claims. David Buel then platted Austin up the canyon, naming his town for his partner Alvah Austin. Because of the rush, legislators created Lander County in December 1862.


In 1860, the discovery of gold and silver about eighty miles southeast of Virginia City led to the creation of the boomtown Aurora. E. R. Hicks, J. M. Corey, and James Braley made the find while on a hunting and prospecting expedition. On August 30, 1860, they established the Esmeralda Mining District. A town site quickly emerged, and was later named Aurora after the Roman goddess of the dawn.

William A. Clark

William Andrews Clark, a one-time United States senator and railroad magnate, is the namesake for Clark County in recognition of the rail line he owned and built that extended through the Las Vegas Valley, and the 1905 land auction that is considered the birth of Las Vegas.


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