#Lookback: Hamilton City or Miner’s Delight

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System
where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and
presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

The National Register of Historic Places was created by the National Historic Preservation Act, which was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15th, 1966.  The National Register of Historic Places is a list compiled by the National Park Service to help support the nation’s efforts to preserve America’s historic and archeological resources.  As of 2019, there are more than 95,000 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Almost every county in the United States has at lead one place on the list.  In Fremont County there are thirty-five locations that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  One of the thirty-five locations is Miner’s Delight, also known as Hamilton City.

In September of 1867, gold was first discovered in Spring Gulch.  Soon after miners and adventurers crowed to the mining camps for the mining season, but soon left leaving only a few of the original inhabitants.  Among the original inhabitants were Frank McGovern, Johnathan Pugh, Major P.A. Gallegher, and Jack Holbrook.  These individuals organized themselves into the California Mining District and began mining the area.  Work on the lode located near Miner’s Delight began on March 21st, 1868, according to newspapers.  Three months later Hamilton City was established to house the miners working the lode.  Later, a more productive mine was located on Peabody Hill by Johnathan Pugh that was named Miner’s Delight.  The town’s name was soon changed to Miner’s Delight after the newly discovered mine. 

In July of 1868, the first store was built in Miner’s Delight and was stocked by Frank McGovern.  In January of 1869, a ten-stamp mill was built at the Miner’s Delight.  By mid-summer of 1869, the United States Geological Survey estimated that about $60,000 to $70,000 worth of gold ore extracted from the Miner’s Delight lode had processed by the ten-stamp mill.  At its peak Miner’s Delight had about 75 residents, however, about 40 of the 75 residents were miners.  

By late 1870, the enterprise at the Miner’s Delight Mine began to demonstrate some financial difficulties.  Frank McGovern, Jack Holbrook, and Mrs. John Walsh, who were the owners of the ten-stamp mill, sued Major P.A. Gallegher and Johnathan Pugh over non-payment on their account for milling ore.  The amount of the unpaid account was $22,500.  Throughout the late 1870 and early 1871, court records indicate that many similar lawsuits and liens were filed at the Miner’s Delight.  By 1877, Dr. F.M. Endlich and his team from the United States Geological Survey reported that there was very little mining being carried out at the Miner’s Delight Mine.

In 1880, some investors from New York City, Boston, and Ogden, Utah, bought the Miner’s Delight Mine, organized the Hub Gold Mining Company, and reopened the mine.  Soon after, the mine was closed again because problems associated with working the mine efficiently and a lack of productive ore emerged.  At the time, in 1880, the population of Miner’s Delight was forty-five; nineteen of which were miners.  From March of 1882 until the early 1900s the Miner’s Delight Mine was not worked.  

In 1907, the Miner’s Delight Mining Company was organized and purchased the mine property.  The company invested about $27,000 into the mine, but the investment proved to not be a profitable venture.  So, the mine was closed again.  The final attempt to work the Miner’s Delight Mine was in 1932-1936 during the Great Depression.  During this period, a lack of jobs and the high price of gold attracted some people to squat in the abandoned cabins and try their luck panning for gold.  

Today, Miner’s Delight is a ghost town owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management.  The property is divided into three sections: the townsite, the cemetery, and the mine.  The townsite has fifteen structures including several cabins with outhouses, a Saloon, and a Meat House.  The cemetery contains two marked graves surrounded by a fence.  The mine site, which is located on Peabody Ridge about a half mile from the townsite, has the mine shaft and a hoist stationed over the shaft.  Beside the hoist there is also a short length of track for the ore carts.  Miner’s Delight was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4th, 1980.

Next up for the Fremont County Museum

June 1, 6pm “Fremont County Postal History” By Stan Groveat the Riverton MuseumWyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

June 1, 10am “Kids Corner: What About Owls” at the Dubois Museum Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

June 3, 9-5 “First Fridays” at the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum and the Riverton Museum.  State Farm Riverton/State Farm Lander

June 8, 10am “Kids Corner: Create Your Own Fossil” at the Dubois Museum Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

June 11, 9-2pm “Trails Trough Fremont County” with the Riverton Museum Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

June 15, 10am “Kids Corner: What’s Your Bug” at the Dubois Museum Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

June 16, 7pm “Snow Chi Minh Trail: The History of I-80” By John Waggoner at the Pioneer Museum Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

Thru October 2022, 9-5pm Monday-Saturday, at the Pioneer Museum, “Hurrah for The Cowboy: Men of the Open Range” Art Exhibition

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support.  In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years.  Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.  

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