After the discovery of rich
silver lodes high up on Treasure Hill in 1867, a settlement came to life
below Treasure Hill dubbed Cave City. Because of the lack of building
materials, miners lived in the numerous caves within the area. With the formation
of the White Pine Mining District in 1869, the need for a hospitable town site was
needed. Five months after a Indian led miners to the site of what would
later become the Hidden Treasure mine, a promoter W.H. Hamilton and 2
friends laid out what would become the townsite of Hamilton.
The town boomed quickly with a population of around 20,000 people.
By July 1869 there were 300 children in town, later that year the first
schoolhouse was built at a cost of $4000.00. In 1869 Hamilton became the
county seat and a courthouse was built at a cost of $55.000. By now
Hamilton was booming and the town featured a opera house, two newspapers,
59 general merchandise stores, churches, banks, Miner's union, fraternal
order, dance halls, gunsmiths, breweries, a soda factory, skating rinks,
and 101 establishments selling liquor.
There were over 195 White Pine mining companies. Daily stagecoaches
left town loaded with bullion for Elko, the nearest town with a railroad,
for a while these stages were robbed twice a week.
The mines of Treasure Hill turned out to be just float and the the
mines played out a short distance underground. As the mines started to
fail, people began to leave Hamilton and Treasure City. Another blow came
to the area when in 1873 the congress demonetized silver.
In 1873 another disaster
came to Hamilton when a local cigar shop owner set fire to his shop in
order to collect insurance. He had tuned off the valves to the city water
supply and the fire spread and destroyed a good part of the town. The shop
owner was caught, tried and sent to prison.
Hamilton's final death blow came in 1885 when another fire roared
though the town, destroying the many wooden buildings on the main streets.
The town was just barely hanging on at this point and could not survive
the damage of this fire. After this fire, Hamilton lost the county seat to