Monday, February 13, 2012

The Story of Mining in Gold Butte

Gold Butte offers a variety of sights and features that appeal to a wide and diverse audience. There are the geologic features that are as impressive and magnificent as anywhere and cultural resources that will get any history enthusiast out of the library and ready to exploration. There are early Native American sites scattered throughout this rough country, remnants of the early Spanish explorers hidden amongst the hills and traces of the early pioneer settlement in this rough and colorful country. There is appeal for every visitor.

One of the biggest chapters in the story of Gold Butte is where the stories of the Cultural and geologic lines intersect to tell the story of mining in Gold Butte.

Mining has played an important role in the history and development of the area now known as Gold Butte. For the early inhabitants it was a source of goods to trade amongst other tribes throughout the west. Turquoise, obsidian and other metals have been found in the Lost City dwellings and other sites throughout the area which were used to barter for other goods. The salt deposits along the Virgin River, now covered by Lake Mead, also provided salt for the local people as well as another resource for trade.

As Time moved forward other explorers came into this area in their quest for treasure. The signs of the Spanish Explorers and their new mining practices can still be seen throughout the Gold Butte country. The Spanish arista were an early mining technique to spate the rock and the ore to get the precious metals hidden within. The circular relics etched into the rock are evidence of the early explorers and their determination.

The pioneer settlement of this area began in the mid-19th century. Early Mormon settlers came to the confluence of the Virgin and Muddy Rivers to build the town of St. Thomas. The early life of these Mormon settlers was that of hardship but after a few hiccups and a resettlement after a dispute over which state the town actually resided in for taxation, the area began to flourish.   St. Thomas soon became the hub of the area. Settlement expanded and the business enterprises that follow soon began to spread over this country. The proximity to the Colorado River, Spanish Trail and the eventual spur off the Los Angles & Salt Lake Railroad contributed to this little town’s development.

With the ability to transport commodities through a variety of ways mining, farming and ranching soon began to spread over this promising desert. The growth and development of Gold Butte during this time was directly tied with the early pioneer settlements of St. Thomas and the services it provided. The railroad provided the ability to transport ore, equipment and other necessities to the growing mining camps and emerging ranches.

The rich historical landscape that persists in the Gold Butte country today is inextricably tied with this history of mining throughout the stage of development. Each period has brought its own character, stories and left its legends. One is not more important than the other and all have contributed to the rich history that makes Gold Butte the place we all love.

Please join us on March 3rd, 2012 at St. Thomas for a community celebration as we bring this historic town alive for a day. We will have many of the descendants of those early pioneers as well as those who remember visiting St. Thomas there to reconnect. There will be music and dramatizations of the early days being performed live, where they would have been performed then, at the old St. Thomas School. There will be maps and historical displays as well as pictures taken in the early days displayed where they were taken to help visualize the then, now. If you have history or stories please contact me so we can share and make the most of your stories to help bring St. Thomas alive and reconnect his landscape to its history.

As parking space is limited, and a four-wheel drive is required, if you plan to attend please carpool with your neighbors so we can have room for as many as want to attend. We are hoping to have at least 6 to a vehicle.

Please visit for more information