Silver City, Utah

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May 9, 2016
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May 11, 2016

SilverCityUtahThough it was known for the production of silver, this ghost town was viewed as part of Tintic Mining District and there were other minerals mined here including lead, bismuth, gold and copper. Activities within the locality of the ghost town began in 1869 when old Native American mines were discovered here.

George Rust who was a cowboy prospector was at the forefront of this discovery in the Dragon Canyon. By December the same year, a large claim set up shop at Silver City and was known as Sunbeam Mine and this led to the establishment of a mining camp within the same locality within a very short period, since mining activities here had turned out profitable.

Soon, word went round about better opportunities at the mines located in Park City and Alta. The mines in Utah lacked placer deposits and this meant that possibilities of extraction of the riches in Silver City depended on labor-intensive hard rock mining. The other challenge was lack of capital to develop the mines.

As a result, development of mines within this ghost town was quite slow as was the growth of Silver City that moved gradually from being a tent city with one blacksmith shop and a saloon, to one that had a post office, a claims recorder, a stagecoach line, assay office and telegraph branch.

The Tintic Range Railroad and Salt Lake & Western Railroad had lines accessing this town too. As the economy within the town grew, so did the population and by 1899, a total of 800 individuals were living here. All was going well at the mines as mining companies continued to strike it big by uncovering rich ore bodies. But this was until a time when the mine shafts started filling with water.

This was in the 1890s. The mines had finally hit the water underground and this posed a serious challenge to continuity of mining activities in the city. Marginal mines were flooded first and had to close down while those with rich deposits of the ore continued operating but had to contend with the challenge of having to use expensive pumps, for positive results to be realized out of the mining ventures at the time.

To this effect, the town started experiencing a downward trend and what perhaps sparked mass exodus was a fire that destroyed the town in 1902 and only 18 businesses were left operating in the town in 1904. In 1907, the town made a comeback when one who owned a successful mine in the Tintic area, established the Tintic smelter and Utah Ore Sampling Company at the once busy town. This was none other than Jesse Knight.

After this, Silver City almost became a company town but the only set back was that Mr. Knight did not own the land where the town sat. He went on to establish the Eureka Hill Railroad, a power plant and 100 new homes as part of his plan to revive the town and sure enough, he nailed it. The population by 1908 hit 1500 individuals most of these being employees who worked with him at the time.

Freight rates dropped after some time and the smelter experienced competition from those in the Salt Lake Valley. By 1930 Silver City was down and deserted turning it to a ghost town.

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