Palmetto dates back to the 1860s, coming into existence after the discovery of a rich vein of silver ore by H.W. Bunyard, Thomas Israel and T.W. McNutt in 1866. Unfortunately, the vein played out within two months and the miners moved on to the next boom town.
Fast forward to 1906, when for some reason the mines were reopened and things got busy. Reports (which are often exaggerated) claim that within a short time a 200 count tent city had sprung into existence. Restaurants, saloons, shops, a bakery, bank, doctor's office, even a post office were all open for business. The prospects must have seemed great, as a large, 12-stamp-mill was erected on a small hill, along with several other stone buildings.
Within a year, most of the town had been abandoned, as the prospects didn't live up to expectations. A tale is told of a gigantic flash flood that later wiped out what was left of the town. Today, only a few stone ruins remain. But they're pretty cool looking ruins, so I stopped and spent about an hour wandering about. This is my story.
What's left of the stone foundations that once supported the 12-stamp-mill. There are several levels here.
A closer look at a portion of the foundation.
And looking down from on high.
To the east of the mill foundations are the ruins of what once was a two-story boarding house. Let's go take a closer look.
And slightly to the west of the mill foundations, right near the road, are the ruins of what might have been a toll office building.
Part of today's highway 266 follows along an old toll road, built by Sam Piper of Fish Lake Valley in the 1870s. This could have been a toll station or roadhouse.
One last closeup of part of the mill foundations.
How did the place come to be named Palmetto? I thought I heard someone asking. Well, the miners back in 1866 thought that the Joshua Trees in the area were part of the Palm family, so they named the place Palmetto.
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