In 1866, three prospectors discovered silver nearby and organized a district and camp called Palmetto, after their (incorrect) belief that the joshua trees growing around the area were a relative of palm trees. A 12-stamp mill was erected before the end of the year, but a lack of ore kept it from running successfully and Palmetto was soon abandoned. A brief revival occurred in the late 1880s following another discovery.

Palmetto's third revival was its largest, when new and old mines were reopened beginning in 1903. By 1906, over 200 tents had appeared at a new townsite, and a commercial street a mile long was home to a wide variety of businesses. A weekly newspaper, the Palmetto Herald, began publication in February of that year but died before the year's end. Unfortunately, during 1907 many moved on to other camps and Palmetto was again a ghost. Stone ruins remain at the camp from the late 1800s, but little remains of the newer tent camp as no permanent buildings ever existed.