Successive discoveries of mineral deposits (gold, silver, lead, copper, cobalt, and tungsten, among others) enabled the development and persistence of community in this region. Big strikes were few, but long-term mining opportunities fed the early expansion and diversification of the local economy.

Lying within the Eldorado Mining District, prospectors discovered Bohannon Bar’s mineral riches in the 1870s. Early placer miners, including a number of Chinese, managed to produce more than $500,000 of gold (at $18.00/ounce) in just over twenty years. Better equipment enabled large-scale hydraulic mining from 1895. Investors placed their hopes for greater riches in surveyors’ plans for a forty-mile “Lemhi Ditch” that would provide three flumes. They were, however, saved the time and expense of the excavation when dredge mining became a more practical solution. By 1910, placers had produced approximately an additional $200,000.