City is located on State Hwy 225 just 16 miles south of the Idaho
border. Originally named Cope, this peaceful town is 130 years
old. In April 1869 Jesse Cope's discoveries of gold led to the
Cope boom. Cope's main attractions were the Pioneer and Argenta
mines. Within months of their discovery a few hundred people had
already come to the area. During those early days, a small fort,
called McGinnis, provided protection against Indian attacks that
Cope Mining District organized on May 22, and soon afterwards
many new mines opened. By June Cope's population stood at 300,
and on July 13 the booming camp was officially renamed Mountain
City, although many continued to call it Cope.
the end of summer Mountain City's population had grown to 700,
the town had twenty saloons, a dozen hotels, six restaurants,
and two breweries had opened.
had begun on a $10,000.00 water ditch from the Owyhee River. The
ditch was built to help work placer gold deposits. By October
the initial excitement had died down, and around two hundred people
left the district. The completion of the Elko and Idaho toll road
in October made travel to and from Mountain City much easier.
the end of 1870 Mountain City contained more than 200 buildings
and had a population of 1,000. Mining, both gold and copper, continued
to flourish until 1871. Many homesteaders came into the area,
and a large ranching industry developed.
the great copper discovery at Rio Tinto, Mountain City saw a rise
in growth and new businesses. The Mountain City Messenger Began
publication on June 30, 1933.
1945, after owing their store for twenty six years, the Davidsons
brothers sold their store to H.C. Read, who renamed it the Golden
Rule. The Golden Rule chain grew and eventually became the forerunner
of the J.C.Penney Company. When the Rio Tinto boom died out in
the late 1940's, Mountain City slowly shrank.
the 1950's the discovery of uranium on nearby Granite Ridge stirred
up some excitement in Mountain City. But despite all the interest,
very little uranium ore was ever shipped.
is much to see in Mountain City and much history to be discovered.
Our thanks to Shawn Hall for this portion of Mountain City history.
At the older Cope townsite, many foundations and pieces of debris
are left. The Chinese camp of Placerville has only a few depressions
and dugouts. During the summer of 1992 the U.S. Forest Service
extensively excavated two Chinese dugouts in Placerville.
sure to stop in Mountain City and discover this part of Nevada.
in and visit our local sponsors for more information on Mountain
Return to Elko County Main