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Potosi  -  First Abandoned Mine in Nevada


Mining at Potosi began in 1856 by Mormon settlers. Their leader was Nathaniel V. Jones who named this area Potosi after his Wisconsin boyhood home. They goals were to obtain lead from the Nevada mountains. Called the "Mountain of Lead" they built the mining operation 30 miles southwest of the mission at Las Vegas Springs.

They recovered an approximate 9,000 pounds of Lead before abandoning the mining operations. They ceased all smelting and mining operations in 1857. Potosi was famous for many reasons, including becoming the first abandoned mine in Nevada.

Four years later, 1861, California miners reopened the mining and smelter operation, Colorado Mining Company. The reopened mining camp consisted of approximately 100 miners. Captain J. E. Stevens platted the Potosi town site approximately 700 feet below the mine.

Potosi was also known for being one of the early literary centers for the wild west. J. A. Talbott published a handwritten newspaper called "East of The Nevada; later called The Miner's Voice From The Colorado. The first issue was published February 19, 1861. In keeping with the true spirit of America, competition was only a stone throw away. Talbott had competition in the form of the strangely named "POTOSI NIX CUM ROUSCHT, which had a very short life span, only one issue.

In 1863 all mining operations ceased again. Another valiant try at reopening the mine occurred in 1870 by the Silver State Mining Company. Their reopening included building a cluster of buildings at Potosi Springs that they called Crystal City. Unfortunately this effort did not last long either. Between 1925 and 1928 productions was again running full speed ahead and Potosi produced more than $4,500,000 in lead, silver and zinc.

The Potosi mining area became important to the Salt Lake and San Pedro Railroad. (Today we call it the Union Pacific Railroad) and during World War I, Potosi was an important source of zinc.

(Nevada Historical Marker 115)

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