This is the story about the old mines and town of Frisco Utah. If you like stories about old towns that were really rough and tough with lots of bang bang shootem up types residents, then stick around.
It was in 1875 that two prospectors, James Ryan and Samuel Hawks, found an out crop of ore that looked like it had some silver in it. The two men got the sample assayed and found out that it was indeed silver and then proceeded to do a bit of digging around this ore body. After noticing it was quite large they decided to sell the claim for $25,000. That was a lot of money back in those days. However this deposit would later become known to produce over 25,000 tons of silver.
After buying the claim it wasn't long before the new owners of this deposit decided to build a mine and very quickly a new town was built around this mine. This town became known as Frisco because of the mountain range close by. Shortly after the Horn Silver Mine was discovered and this mine would soon become the largest producer in the area. Word got out and within a few short years there were several other small mines working in the area.
This place was unique with how the ore was being smelted. A company called the Frisco Mining and Smelting Company was started and it built bee hive style smelter charcoal kilns. There were once 36 charcoal kilns in Frisco and these kilns varied in size from 16 to 32 feet in diameter. The height of these kilns could be as high as 24 feet high. There would be a door at the bottom and another door higher up. Concentrates of ore would be put into the lower door while wood would added into the upper door. Once the owwd was on fire it would burn for upto a week then the kiln would be allowed to cool and the molten metal would be taken out through the bottom door.
By 1880, just 5 years after the town has and mines had started, there were 6,000 people living in Frisco. The Utah Southern Railroad already had tracks laid and the trains were coming into town bring in supplies. Like mentioned earlier, this was a tough town. An old history writer once described this town as Dodge City, Tombstone, Sodom, and Gomorrah all rolled into one town. This town had over 20 saloons and gambling joints with just as many brothels. Shootings were almost a daily occurance and the town actually had a wagon contracted just to pick up the dead and take them to their own version of boot hill. Finally the town got a sheriff and becaue there was no jail the new sheriff told everyone they had two choices. Either behave or leave town. It is said that on the sheriffs first night in town he shot and killed 6 outlaw men. After that the town kind of settled down and became a more civil place to live.
Then on February 13 1885, there were some ground temors at the Horn Silver mine and some tunnels had cave ins so miners stayed on surface waiting until it was safe to proceed, however later that day there was a massive cave in that collapsed all the tunnels all the way down to the seventh level of the mine. The owners of the mine were quite greedy and because wood timbers were quite expensive, they didn't want to use to much timbering in the mine, so this all helped lead to the collapse of the mine. The problem now was that miners could not get to the richest part of the mine. However after about a year the mine did start to produce more but production was way down from before and this is what started the decline to the town.
By 1885 it is said that more than 60 million dollars worth of silver, gold, and other metals had been produced from the mines in this area. By the year 1900 the population was only 500 and by 1920 the town was no more.
You can still go to this area of where the old town of Frisco was as this place is now registered with the National Register of Historic Places. There are some of the old bee hive kilns still standing and a few other old building remains.