View of the Panamint Range Mountains, Mines, Mills and Town Site, 1875


In the early 1870s, prospectors made a large silver strike in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley, California. It proved to be a substantial regional mother lode, and brought many stampeders streaming into the region. Sherman Town (also known as Panamint City), a classic boomtown of the era, sprang up overnight at the foot of the Panamint range and had a population of 2,000 people in 1874. The Panamint Mining and Concentration Works owned the town and the many mining sites throughout the neighboring mountains. This 1875 map shows a cross-section of the Panamint Mountains and the various mills and mines owned by the company, as well as the location of the town in relation to the railroad line to Los Angeles. It also shows the road between the mines and concentration works, where large ingots of silver were prepared from melted ore deposits and processed for shipment. The large area marked “Stewart & Jones Property” belonged to Senators John P. Jones and William M. Stewart of Nevada, who bought out the bandits who had made the original strike and became the main organizers and investors in the Panamint Mining Company. While significant, the Panamint silver strike was not of the same magnitude as the more famous strike at the Comstock Lode in Nevada in the late 1850s or contemporaneous silver strikes in Idaho and Montana. The boom was declining already by the fall of 1875, and the Panamint operations were crippled by a flash flood in 1876 that ended the Panamint silver rush. Sherman Town soon became a ghost town.

Last updated: October 30, 2015