In 1865, a Native American discovered a quartz vein of silver in Nye County's Toquima range at 8,000 feet. Miners, many from Austin, then settled the area and christened their new town Belmont, the center of the Philadelphia Mining District. The legislature moved the seat of county government from declining Ione to Belmont in 1867.
Belmont enjoyed prosperity from 1866 to 1867 and 1873 to 1875, when the town's population may have reached four thousand. In response to better times, the county commission paid for the construction of a monumental courthouse in 1875. Meager mine productivity after 1887 caused most residents to leave the town, which then relied on county government as its sole industry.
A turn-of-the-century strike at Tonopah to the southwest initiated a new mining boom for Nevada. In 1905, the seat of county government moved to Tonopah, leaving Belmont with virtually no means of support. Belmont's mines enjoyed a limited revival between 1914 and 1922, but prosperity was short-lived. Throughout the twentieth century, Belmont dwindled to near abandonment.
Today, the town survives as a historic district with a few residents. Its courthouse is a state park that features one of Nevada's finest Italianate style public buildings.
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