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 never occurred.
The 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.
By 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 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.
By 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.
With 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.
In 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.
During 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.
There 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.
Be sure to stop
in Mountain City and discover this part of Nevada.