In 1861, the Ophir Mining Company erected a $500,000 36-stamp mill in Washoe Valley to process ore from the rich Ophir Mine at Virginia City. By 1863, the mill was enlarged to 64 stamps, and by 1866 it had 72 stamps and a capacity of 50-tons per day. Meanwhile, a camp developed, initially called Washoe, then Ophir. It had a population of nearly 300 by 1863, and plans were made for a railroad connection to Virginia City. These plans never materialized, but a successful wagon road operated and an abundance of timber allowed Ophir to provide lumber to the booming city.

Unfortunately, milling and the demand for lumber both languished during the later half of the 1860s, and Ophir declined. The mill closed in 1866, and by 1871 only 41 people remained. In 1872, the mill was dismantled, and today only a few rock walls remain.