Favorite historic mining towns visited to date

Former Marquette, MI City Hall – now used for offices

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:

  1. Bisbee, Arizona (copper, gold, and silver)
  2. Marquette, Michigan (iron ore)
  3. Leadville, Colorado  (gold, silver, and lead) – added 7/23/21
  4. Trinidad, Colorado (coal) – added 10/16/21
  5. Los Cerrillos, New Mexico (gold, silver, lead, and turquoise)
  6. Nevada City, California (gold)

Bisbee, AZ library and post office

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.

Beautiful stone work in this restored building located in Calumet, MI and which is part of Keweenaw National Historical Park

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.

Exterior art display in Madrid, NM

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.

Downtown Nevada City, CA

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.

Former Calumet, MI fire station – now a Firefighter’s Museum

Other favorites

  • 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)
  • Silver City, New Mexico (silver and copper) – added 2/6/23
  • 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!

Negaunee, MI City Hall

Del Oro Theater in Grass Valley, CA

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, archaeology, architecture, art, branding, business, cities, culture, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, entertainment, environment, fun, geography, Geology, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, marketing, Mining, placemaking, planning, recreation, revitalization, spatial design, third places, topography, tourism, trails, Travel, urban planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Favorite historic mining towns visited to date

  1. Ernest Everett Blevins says:

    Nice towns, many of the former towns rich from coal mining in in West Virginia are not as nice as their former wealth. Although some nice individual houses and commercial buildings depending on where.


  2. KDB-TC says:

    I like the pictures in this post too!


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