Tybo

Dr. Galley and M.V. Gillett made the first silver-lead discoveries at Tybo in 1870 and that discovery became the Two-G mine. The camp didn't form, however, until 1874 when a small lead smelter was constructed. The Tybo post office, owing its name to a corruption of the Shoshone word for 'white man's district,' opened on September 3rd of that year with Charles Barrett as postmaster. The next year, the Tybo Consolidated Mining Company was formed and began construction of another smelter and 20-stamp mill, which were completed and set into operation before the end of 1875.

By Summer 1876, Tybo was home to almost 1,000 residents. The town was divided into three sections - Central European, Irish, and Cornish - due to constant problems arising as a result of cultures clashing. Tybo had a Wells Fargo office, two general stores (Trowbridge and Rosenthal), and the W.F. Mills and Co. Bank, among other businesses. The Tybo Sun began publication in May 1877, and lasted until March 1880. Tybo became essentially a company town for the Tybo Consolidated Company, and in 1877 grew to include a schoolhouse, jail, and a stage that ran twice a week to Eureka. In May 1877, fifteen new kilns using over 500,000 bricks were constructed in the canyon above Tybo by Henry Allen. Near the end of the year, Tybo Co. cut back operation, but new discoveries in early 1878 prompted an increase in the work force. That February alone, more than $100,000 worth of ore was recovered, and from 1877 until 1880, Tybo was the second highest producer of lead ore in the nation, only behind Eureka.

In 1879, the two smelters operated by the Tybo Co. were closed in favor of a new 80-ton crushing and roasting mill. The new mill required less workers, and Tybo's population dropped. Nevertheless, new businesses continued to open in 1880. In early 1881, however, quality of ore dropped and the Tybo Co. closed its mill. The company finally folded in November. By the end of that year, only about 100 people were left in Tybo. Tybo remained relatively quiet for the next several decades. A fire in July 1884 destroyed part of the town. There were small mining ventures over the years, but nothing amounted to very much. The post office finally closed on July 14, 1906.

Tybo's first notable revival began in 1916, and by now less than a handful of residents still lived in the canyon. That year the Louisiana Consolidated Mining Company began working in the district, and soon a ten truck fleet was hauling ore to Tonopah. In 1917, a 100-ton concentration mill was built and operated until late 1918. In 1919, a flotation plant and lead smelter were installed, which operated until 1921. In March 1920, the Louisiana Co. brought electricity, telegraph, and telephone service to Tybo, and by July there were eighty men at work. By 1922, the mines stopped producing and the Louisiana Co. left to focus on other properties. In December 1924, electrical service was discontinued.

Tybo's final revival began in 1926, the year that the Keystone-Hot Creek Mining Company purchased property in the canyon. They leased this property to the Treadwell-Yukon Company, which erected a 350-ton concentration mill and smelter in 1929. More than 300 tons of lead ore was being processed daily, and around seventy-five people returned to the district. A new post office opened on February 11, 1929 with Willard Hales as postmaster. Treadwell-Yukon was the new core of Tybo's existance, and constructed two-story boardinghouses for the miners. By the end of the year, 180 men were employed, and the population had grown to 228. During the next eight years, more than 500,000 tons of lead was processed in Tybo and a 1,500-foot shaft was sunk.

The Treadwell-Yukon Company finally closed the mill in 1937, after producing $6.8 million since 1929. The post office closed on October 15 that year, and Tybo became quiet. The mill was dismantled, and Tybo's last production was from 1942-45 when eighteen men hauled old tailings to Tonopah. Tybo's total production stands at a staggering $9.8 million, which is remarkable because during Tybo's best years, lead and silver prices were very low and would be almost triple that number today.

I Visited Tybo
7.1.2006

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