Favorite historic mining towns are presented in alphabetical order after the top three, which are immediately below. The list does not include historic mining towns that are now ghost towns. Here are the favorites to date:
- Marquette, Michigan (iron ore)
- Leadville, Colorado (gold, silver, and lead) – added 7/23/21
- Bisbee, Arizona (copper, gold, and silver)
- Trinidad, Colorado (coal) – added 10/16/21
- Los Cerrillos, New Mexico (gold, silver, lead, and turquoise)
- Nevada City, California (gold)
Due to the initial wealth created by the mines, historic mining towns often contain a wonderful variety of impressive historic structures, including bank buildings, courthouses, industrial buildings, and theaters. Many of these structures have been lovingly preserved, restored, or adapted for new uses.
In addition, as many of these communities have been discovered by artists, they are now home to thriving art colonies. Madrid, New Mexico is a particularly successful example of a former mining town that has become an art haven.
Between the archaeology, architecture, history, surrounding landscapes, art, and culture; historic mining towns are very intriguing and interesting places to visit, provided you are careful, particularly about old abandoned mine shafts. Always, always heed warning signs and regulations.
The towns that appear to have the most long-term success are those that have diversified their economy beyond mining or are situated at an important transportation crossroads/ shipping points – Marquette and Houghton are both university towns and Marquette is the business, banking, health care, and transportation hub for the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A few others have been fortunate enough to be situated close to larger cities and have become suburbs. Newburgh, Madrid, Los Cerrillos, and Wallace are four such examples.
- Baker City, Oregon (gold)
- Calumet, Michigan (copper)
- Copper Harbor, Michigan (copper)
- Eagle Harbor, Michigan (copper)
- Eagle River, Michigan (copper)
- Eveleth, Minnesota (iron ore)
- Galena, Illinois (lead)
- Goderich, Ontario (salt)
- Grass Valley, California (gold)
- Hancock, Michigan (copper)
- Houghton, Michigan (copper)
- Ishpeming, Michigan (iron ore)
- Madrid, New Mexico (coal)
- Negaunee, Michigan (iron ore)
- Newburgh, Indiana (coal)
- Skagway, Alaska (gold)
- Virginia City, Montana (gold)
- Wallace, Idaho (silver)
Over time, as more mining towns are visited, additional historic mining communities will be added to this list. Enjoy!