Lake Tahoe History & Museums: Comstock Lode, Nevada Silver Mining

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Comstock Lode

The Comstock Lode was the first major US load of silver ore discovered and yielded $400 million in wealth. Located in the Virginia Range in Nevada, these mines were notable for the huge fortunes they generated for those who had a role in the mining of this silver and gold claim. Read More

Although the credit for the original discovery of the Comstock Lode is disputed, it is thought to have been found by the sons of a Pennsylvania minister, Ethan Allen and Hosea Ballou Grosh in 1857. But there is no doubt that there on the eastern slope of the Virginia Range in Nevada, giant loads of silver and gold were discovered.

H. P. Comstock entered the picture when he discovered that the Grosh brothers were no longer around, one dead and the other having moved out of the country. The site was still officially unclaimed, so he took it upon himself to lay claim to this exciting find, particularly when he learned that some bluish rock was located on Gold Hill. This was the silver load that became so famous.

In 1859, when the discovery was made public, hundreds upon hundreds of prospectors came rushing in to stake their own claims. With mining camps abound, the region became a bustling metropolis.

The mines of silver and gold in this area yielded an immense amount of wealth that amounted to approximately the equivalent to $550 billion in 2005. The fortunes made contributed to the growth of Nevada and the San Francisco areas.