First, an overview from the inimitable Mr. Stanley Paher:
Silver was discovered here in 1863 and by 1866 the camp of Galena was formed- complete with a park and water system. Wide streets, a large public hall, school, and post office graced the town, along with wide streets and wooden buildings. By 1870 the district was growing, with daily stages from Battle Mountain. Many mines, two smelters, and a mill get folks busy. It even came close to becoming a county seat until it "moved" from Humboldt to Lander County in 1874. Things slowed down after that, and in 1886 development pretty much came to a halt. Active during World War 1 and through most of the 1920's, it got a boost again with World War II and into the 1960's.
-Stanley Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps
Common at the time, a "correspondent" writes a letter to local papers describing the wonderful features of the camp and/or mines.
LETTER FROM NEVADA.
CORRESPONDENCE OF THE UNION. Galena, Humboldt County, Nevada, May 8th, 1871. Thinking a few items from this far-off mining camp would be interesting to the many readers of your valuable paper, I would respectfully ask a small space in its columns.
Galena and its Surroundings.
Galena is situated in the Battle mountains, southwest of the Station of Battle Mountain, about sixteen miles. The road to this place is a good natural one, running for a distance of twelve miles up the Reese River valley before entering the canyon in which Galena is situated. There is at the present time a daily stage running to and from this place. The staging is done by that go-ahead gentleman, J. A. Blossom. The fare to this place is $3. The location of Galena is a good one, at the head of Goose Creek canyon, about 7,000 feet above the level of the sea. We have here something that is seldom found in this barren country —a living spring of pure cold water. If it were not for this spring, whose volume of water does not diminish, we would not have a very large town. There have been several wells sunk, but with little success. The population of Galena and its immediate vicinity ia about 400, the male portion being principally engaged in mining and wildcat prospecting. The business comprise three grocery and provision stores, one general variety, one boot and shoe store, one hotel, several boarding houses; four saloons, one express and post office, two blacksmith shops, two livery stables, etc. The town is slowly though improving. Robert McBeth has just completed a very handsome family residence at this place, that is an honor to the county; he is said to be the father of Galena, and I think his hopes of seeing the town a large place and taking its rank among the cities of Nevada, are or will shortly be realized, Strangers are constantly coming in. A physician and surgeon has recently come here, and is about opening a well assorted stock of drugs and medicines; but this place being so healthy we are fearful that his stay will be limited; we have been hoping to wake up and find ourselves sick, but 'tis "no go." Galena at the present time is rather quiet, and has been (or some time, since those "remonstrance fellows" "squashed" our anticipations of a new county; but "so mote it be." I must close. -Valley Tan.
-Sacramento Daily Union, May 11,1871
From the Reese River Reveille of the 12th instant, we copy the following description of the town of Galena and the mines in its vicinity:
The town of Galena is situated in Battle Mountain Mining district, about sixteen miles southwest of Battle Mountain Station, and is in the territory ceded at the last legislature by Humboldt to Lander County. The population of Galena and its immediate vicinity is about 200, which number will undoubtedly be more than trebled during the coming season, if the mines turn out as present appearances and prospects indicate. The ore taken out in that vicinity is principally copper and argentiferous galena, large quantities of which are shipped every month to Swansea for reduction.
The Virgin and Lake Superior mines, situated to Copper Cañon, and belonging to the Battle Mountain Mining Company, incorporated in England, ship monthly over 200 tons of high grade copper ore.
The shaft on the White and Shiloh Consolidated is down 300 feet, at the bottom of which is a ledge 45 feet in width, containing a vein of between three and four feet in width of galena and silver ore, carrying a large amount of ruby and wire silver. These mines belong to Harry Knowles, who ships from them about 100 tons of pre per month. The last shipment averaged $550 per ton in silver besides the lead. Mr. Knowles is erecting extensive hoisting works over the shaft.
The Trinity Mine, in Galena Cañon, belonging to Messrs. Thompson and Blossom, is down 175 feet. The proprietors are shipping 175 tons per month of the same kind of ore as that taken from the White and Shiloh, which locations are probably on the same ledge as the Trinity. At the depth attained the ore vein is nearly three feet wide.
The Bueana Vista and Battle Mountain mines belong to Robert McBeth & Co. About five tons of fine ore is being taken out daily from the Battle Mountain, about 200 feet from the surface. This mine adjoins the White and Shiloh, and although not so fully developed as that property, bids fair to prove as valuable. The shaft on the Antimony mine, in Cottonwood Cañon, belonging to Messrs. Starr and Grove, is down 225 feet, at which depth is a six foot ledge of pure antimony. Messrs. S. & G. shipped last Fall 330 tons to Swansea, the working process at Battle Mountain proving a failure. We understand, however, that the ore pays a fair profit over the expense of mining and transportation.
There is considerable prospecting going on in the vicinity of Galena, and appearances indicate that the coming season will develop most favorable results for the district. There are also other mines there besides those mentioned above, that have been developed sufficiently to establish their claims to a favorable notice, but we have extended this article longer than we intended, and will have to defer mention of them until another day.
-Daily Alta California, March 19, 1873
Will Revive Galena
The old mining camp of Galena, midway between Battle Mountain and Bannock, is to be revived by a French syndicate which has taken over the White and Shiloh mines, according to the Battle Mountain Herald. The White and Shiloh produced some millions of high-grade silver-lead ores in the early days. Application of modern methods of mining and treatment to the large bodies of ore of lower grade which was left untouched by the early operators will, it is believed, bring profitable results.
-Los Angeles Herald, December 22, 1909