William Tecumseh Barbee was one of the earliest people to prospect for silver in southwest Utah and made one of the most significant discoveries. His initial claims in Silver Reef were staked in 1875, and with a large rush of prospectors and miners brought in, the mine and mill were in full operation by 1878.
At its height, Silver Reef had a population of 2,000. There were hotels, 9 stores, 6 saloons, a bank, several restaurants, a hospital, 2 dance halls, 2 news papers, a china town and 3 cemeteries.
As the price of silver dropped, mines gradually began to close. By 1884, most were closed and by 1901, most buildings had been demolished. The old Wells Fargo bank still stands today and now houses a small museum and gift shop of the once bustling mining town.
Model of the town in its hey-day.
The original Wells Fargo bank (now a museum / gift shop).
Original vault and safe.
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