Though gold was found earlier by Indians and Mexicans, prospectors arrived in Lida Valley in 1867 and organized a mining district. In March 1872, the town of Lida Valley, soon shortened to just Lida, was laid out (in its infancy, Lida was regarded as being in Inyo County, California). The town soon had stores, livery and feed stables, a post office, and roads to Silver Peak and Wadsworth. Mills were constructed nearby to process lower grade ore, but high grade ore was transported to Austin and Belmont. Mining declined by the end of the decade, and by 1880 only ten businesses remained.

A revival began in 1905 during the boom at Goldfield. Soon stage service was established to that city, and Lida gained both a chamber of commerce and the weekly Lida Enterprise. In addition, water from springs near Lida was transported to Goldfield by a large pipeline. By 1907, due to litigation at its most prominent properties, Lida again began to decline. Another short revival began shortly before World War I, when a hotel, school, and stores were built.

Through the remainder of the twentieth century, lessees worked the area but little major work was done. About $1 million was produced during Lida's life. Ranching, which has occurred in the valley for years, continues today but little remains of the actual town.