Although originally known as Poverty Hill, the name must have come from a miner with a sense of humor, as the area was extremely rich, eventually producing over $15 million in gold. Founded as a placer camp in the early 1850’s, Stent later turned into a prosperous hardrock mining center, competing with its twin camp to the north which was known variously as Quartz, Quartzburg, or Quartz Mountain.
The history of this area is entwined between these two mining camps. The post office was first located at Stent, later moving to Quartz when the former’s gold began to give out. It was finally discontinued in 1925.
Stent also served as a busy supply center for the many mines in the area. John App located the very productive App Mine in 1856 in rival Quartz. He later achieved an additional measure of fame when he married Leanna Donner, one of the six Donner girls orphaned by the Donner Pass tragedy in 1847. The area’s quartz mines fared very well: The App Mine yielded $6.5 million; the nearby Jumper produced $5 million; and the Dutch Sweeney, $3 million. But eventually the gold gave out and many of the town’s inhabitants moved on. A fire in 1906 wiped out more than one hundred houses, most were not rebuilt.
Along the road between Stent and Hwy 49 are numerous abandoned mines, identifiable by the distinctive gray tailings pouring down the hillsides. Hydraulic mining remains and sections of old pipe, which may have once carried water to “dry diggins,” are visible along the canyon walls, following the course of the river.
Stent is located eight miles off Hwy 49 via the Jacksonville Road.
The Poverty Hill School was established in 1857. This attractive wood-frame building is kept in an excellent state of repair and is used for local community events.
The Pioneer Cemetery with several old tombstones, adjoins the schoolhouse property. A strange, brick monument is the main item of interest among the trees and weeds.