"The Town That Refused to Die"

Ione was formed in 1863, following silver discoveries by P.A. Havens. Although small at first, after a few months Ione would have over fifty buildings and even more people. By January 1864, the town demanded that a county be formed for its rich resources, and the Territorial Government created Nye County on April 26 with Ione as the county seat. The town was given $800 to build a courthouse, which amounted to a small wooden cabin.

By Spring 1864, Ione had over 100 buildings and a population of around 600. That same year, Henry DeGrout and Joseph Eckley began publishing two newspapers. The first, the Nye County News, printed its first issue on June 25, but would fold after a month. The second, the Advertiser, ran from September 17 until October 29. The Nye County News began printing again July 1, 1865, and on September 2, 1865, the Ione City post office opened.

The Pioneer Mill, a 5-stamp, opened in 1865 in Ione. Unfortunately, due to a lack of profit, it only lasted about a year and all ore processing moved to Knickerbocker. By 1867, newer strikes at Belmont and a lessening of ore caused some of Ione's population to leave. In February, the county seat was moved from Ione to Belmont, and the town quickly dwindled. By 1868, less than 200 people remained.

Through the 1870s, Ione's production experienced a few ups and downs, although the population continued to shrink in favor of Belmont. Only 25 people remained in 1880. April 8, 1882, the post office changed its name to Midas. A severe fire in 1887 caused about $10,000 in damage.

In 1896, Ione experienced a small boost when the Ione Gold Mining Company erected a 10-stamp mill to process ore from the Berlin mine, and the town's population raised to 70. In 1897, the Nevada Company, run by J.G. Phelps Stokes, purchased most of the mines and mills in the area. Unfortunately, a drop in silver prices forced the company to stop operations in July 1898. Ione's boost had ended, and it lost its post office on January 15, 1903.

From 1912 until 1914, Ione experienced another small boom, with a population of 100 and a new telephone line to Austin. A post office, now known as only Ione, operated from July 16, 1912 until April 30, 1914 before moving operations to Berlin. When Berlin's post office closed in 1918, Ione's reopened on December 18.

Ione's final revival was in response to mercury mining in the area. The Mercury Mining Company had operations at nearby Shamrock, and produced 11,000 flasks of mercury. A large mill operated inconsistently at Ione during this time. These mercury operations lasted until 1932, and the mill was torn down in 1950. On April 30, 1959, Ione's post office closed for the final time. Today a small handful of residents still call the little town home.

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