Phonolite

Gold and silver ore were discovered here in July 1906, and the Paymaster mine was located. Ore here assayed at more than $2,500/ton, and the subsequent rush gave birth to the townsite of Phonolite (and nearby Duluth). Phonolite's new post office opened January 26, 1907 with Henry William Bruner as postmaster. That year the Phonolite Townsite, Water & Light Company was founded and began promoting plans for a city water system and electrical plant. Unfortunately, Phonolite's mines would fail to deliver, and in 1909 the townsite's residents left. On July 23 of the same year, the post office was moved to Lodi, and only two men remained: Bruner and an old-timer named Larry Ryan.

In late 1910, Bruner discovered a new deposit and the post office, now known as Bruner, reopened on October 17, 1910. By 1911 there were over twenty people working in the district. The deposit proved to be limited and January 31, 1912 the post office once again closed.

The following year, Bruner formed two companies, the Phonolite Paymaster Mining Company and the Phonolite Silent Friend Mining Company. Both would operate until 1915, when they merged to create the Kansas City Nevada Consolidated Mines Company. Walter P. Neff was elected president, and Bruner was secretary. The Bruner post office opened yet again on December 28, 1915. The Paymaster was the chief producer at this time, and its ore was rich enough to justify construction of a 50-ton mill in 1919. The mill would only operate for a month or two. The post office closed for a final time on June 15, 1920.

In 1921, the mill was remodeled to begin custom milling and a contract was signed with the Broken Hills Silver Corporation, who shipped ore from Broken Hills, 12 miles away. In 1924, the Kansas City Nevada Company ran into financial problems and folded. Walter Neff held the mineral rights, and in 1925 founded the Golden Eagle Mining and Milling Company. The mill would begin operation again in 1926 and a camp consisted of a boarding house and seven cabins. In 1929, the mill finally ceased operation permanently, and in 1930 it burned down.

I Visited Phonolite
5.14.2013

See Also
DuluthPenelasLodiBroken Hills

Bibliography