Historical Maps Online
Historical Maps Online

Did You Know?

While the stereotype of a solitary prospector is common, many mining claims were owned and worked by groups sharing the cost, labor, risk and reward of their venture. The Gold Rush saw an explosion of everyday people coming west to try their luck, and many needed partners to just survive the harsh conditions.
Thousands of ghost towns, large and small, are scattered around the American west. Each had its reason for being, whether as a mining town, cattle town, crossroads, or gathering place for settlers. Many are closer than you might think.
Mining operations range from individuals panning for gold on the weekend, to large scale hard rock mines. The former can be in ruggedly beautiful mountains with rushing rivers and creeks, while the latter may use 11,000 foot mineshafts such as California’s Empire mine.
Not all ghost towns are from the 1800s, some hail from the 1920’s – 40’s and offer a glimpse of life before the Depression or WWII changed their fortunes. If you love old cars or early 20th century memorabilia, these are a ton of fun to find.
Unlike the Gold Rush, many subsequent small scale mining claims have been – and are – worked by families as a side business or for fun. Even today it’s not uncommon to find an entire family camping out on their claim in the mountains, enjoying the summer.
One of the easiest ways to pan for gold or gems in the old days was to set up an elevated sluice box on a riverfront beach. Whether it was lucrative or not, it was certainly a scenic and low cost method of finding treasure!

We’ve researched Western pioneers and miners for decades, compiling maps of long lost ghost towns, and areas of gold and gem deposits. Because we love discovering our history and treasures and hope you will too!