The first people in White Pine County were the Shoshone Indians. In 1860, the Pony Express Telegraph and the Overland Stage brought explorers and prospectors into the county. Between 1860 – 1900, gold silver and lead discoveries were quickly followed by dozens of boomtowns, each with their brief time in the sun.
The rush to White Pine County in 1867 was the biggest and brightest of them all. By 1869, 30,000 souls had made the trek to the slopes of Mt. Hamilton, and the county was officially formed. However, the ore played out just as quickly. By 1875, mining had all but ceased.
In 1887, the State Legislature designated Ely as the new County Seat after a disastrous fire destroyed much of Hamilton. Ely had been a quiet state stop and post office before then but the new growth developments spurred growth along the banks of Murry Creek. A Wells Fargo office, newspaper, some saloons and a few modest homes and other businesses soon joined the new County Seat.
The year of 1906 marked the arrival of the Nevada Northern Railway. This made possible the development of the copper industry and was instrumental in the economic growth of Ely, McGill, Ruth, and the many other towns of the copper period.
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