Potosi is the oldest load mine in Nevada and the town site is located just off highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. The site was started in 1856 by some Mormon prospectors who were lead to the location with the help of a Piute guide. The Mormons found the site in April 1856 and a month latter it was named Potosi after the boyhood home of Nathaniel Jones. They did not begin mining until August after a return trip to Utah for supplies. By September, the first wagon of ore sent back to Utah for trading and three months later three wagons returned with supplies including bellows, furnace, and hearths among other things. On Christmas day 1856, an crude adobe furnace was used to smelt ore.
In the spring of 1861, a larger smelter was setup by the Colorado Mining Company at the Potosi Spring. News of new silver mine spread all over the west in no time. The town of Potosi was setup 700 feet below of the Potosi Mine or the Las Vegas Silver Mines as they were called and was soon home to 100 miners.
The site continued to slowly grow and develop until 1906. In 1913 the Empire Zinc Company purchased the rights and was soon Potosi was Nevada’s largest producer of Zinc. After nearly 100 years of production Potosi produced about 4.5 million in lead, silver and zinc.
Potosi Mine and Townsite Trailmap