Jasper
(Starr King)

Following the creation of the Spruce Mountain Mining District in 1871, the Starr King Mining Company established a company town, also called Starr King. By 1872, the population of Starr King reached around 150, and in 1873 the Company built a new smelting furnace at a cost of $24,000. Unfortunately, a miners' strike in 1875 led to a decline in mining in the district. By the end of the decade, Starr King saw only very limited production.

In July 1883, prominent rancher Jasper Harrell sold off his ranches and purchased the Starr King Co.'s holdings, and began an expansion. A new boom began, and the former Starr King camp was renamed Jasper. Soon, two saloons, a hotel, and a store owned by ranchers from nearby Clover Valley were opened in town. In 1884, a twenty-ton furnace was completed at Jasper, and by June 1885 three new mines began to produce. In 1886, the population peaked at 175 and the first school in the Spruce Mountain area was opened. Unfortunately, ore began to dwindle in 1888 and the smelter closed the next year. In 1890, the Starr King Co. finally folded.

Jasper remained idle for over ten years, until 1901 when A.J. "Copper King" Reed reopened the old Starr King mine. Also in 1901, Charles Spence started a smelter to treat ore from the Black Forest Mine. That smelter closed in July 1904 after producing 700 silver bars, but was reconfigured and enlarged by October; in 1906 it was again enlarged, this time to forty-five tons. It closed in 1908, and Jasper was once again idle.

Jasper's longest and final breath began in February 1912, when the Bullshead Mining Company was formed and began shipping ore from the old Harrell holdings to Garfield, Utah. During World War I, Jasper grew to twenty buildings and construction began on a fifty-ton smelter, placed into operation in November 1919. In addition to silver, lead, and copper, the Bullshead Co. also began shipping manganese in 1922. In 1926, the Company acquired control of the O'Neill mines, and even more growth came to Jasper. By 1937, production dwindled to only minor shipments, before finally coming to a close. Though one final attempt to reopen the Bullshead was made by the Index Daley Company in March 1956, it proved fruitless and was finally abandoned two years later.

I Visited Jasper
5.9.2020

Bibliography