In 1865, a Native American discovered a quartz vein of silver in Nye County's
Toquima range at 8,000 feet. Miners, many from Austin, then settled the area
and christened their new town Belmont, the center of the Philadelphia Mining
District. The legislature moved the seat of county government from declining
Ione to Belmont in 1867.
Belmont enjoyed prosperity from 1866 to 1867 and 1873 to 1875, when the
town's population may have reached four thousand. In response to better
times, the county commission paid for the construction of a monumental
courthouse in 1875.
Meager mine productivity after 1887 caused most residents to leave the
town, which then relied on county government as its sole industry.
A turn-of-the-century strike at Tonopah to the southwest initiated a new
mining boom for Nevada. In 1905, the seat of county government moved to
Tonopah, leaving Belmont with virtually no means of support.
Belmont's mines enjoyed a limited revival between 1914 and 1922, but
prosperity was short-lived. Throughout the twentieth century, Belmont
dwindled to near abandonment.
Today, the town survives as a historic district with a few residents. Its
courthouse is a state park that features one of Nevada's finest Italianate style
Turn of the Century Boom Town
from Online Nevada
Once the seat of government for Nye County, Belmont had thriving
mines in the 1870s. It lingers today with a few residents and the
Belmont Courthouse State Historic Park.
Photograph by S. Martin Shelton, courtesy of the Nevada State
Historic Preservation Office
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