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
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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