In 1863, a prospecting party led by Charles C. Breyfogle located rich silver ore along Birch Creek, and within a couple months a small settlement emerged. In November, the Geneva townsite was laid out, and by 1864 had a population of 500 along with businesses including a blacksmith shop, stores, and a hotel built and operated by Breyfogle himself (though he would soon move on to Death Valley, where the "Lost Breyfogle" mine legend originated). In 1865, a 20-stamp mill was erected by the Big Smoky Mining Company, but it only operated a few days due to low ore values. Nevertheless, Geneva continued to prosper until late 1867, when ore depleted and the town was abandoned.