Grand Encampment Mining District : a case study of the life cycle of a typical western frontier mining district

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dc.contributor.advisor Schreiber, Joan E. en_US Windham, Joey Samuel en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us-wy en_US 2011-06-03T19:32:35Z 2011-06-03T19:32:35Z 1981 en_US 1981
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1981 .W56 en_US
dc.description.abstract Western mining towns and mining districts during the frontier period were rarely stable. This unstable nature was the result of unreplenishable natural resources being removed. Thus, mining districts constantly worked toward the exhaustion of mineral deposits that formed their economic foundation. This nature of mining led to a cycle consisting of six different stages that western mining communities passed through during the frontier era. The main purpose of this study was to examine the Grand Encampment Mining District and contrast its development with the life cycle of typical frontier western mining districts.The parameters of this case study are bound by the following assumptions:Since mining districts played a key role in the settlement of the far west, individual case studies are significant and worthwhile.The Grand Encampment Region was a retarded subregion of the Rocky Mountain West and still in its frontier days at the turn of the twentieth century.The Grand Encampment copper development passed through all stages and experienced the same problems of other developing copper fields during the same period.The life cycle of the Grand Encampment Mining District passed through identifiable stages: the discovery stage, the boom stage, the transition stage, the mature stage, the decline stage, and the ghost town stage.The nature of mining resulted in most western mining districts historically passing through this life cycle. However, districts coming into existence under false pretenses or changing their situation from mineral recourses are exceptions.The Grand Encampment Mining District entered the discovery stage advertised as a gold region by Willis George Emerson and Grant Jones. However, the Ferris-Haggarty copper mine, discovered in 1898 by Edward Haggarty, soon became 'the mineral property that carried the district into the boom stage. During this stage, mines sprang up everywhere and mining property rapidly changed hands. The region was flooded with miners and prospectors. Merchants, teamsters, gamblers, promoters, prostitutes and saloon keepers moved into the district to service the miners. The developing mining camps became lawless and chaotic places.Slowly the mining camps evolved from the riotous boom stage to maturity. During this transition, Encampment became the financial, cultural, and commercial center for the district. The people of the emerging town organized governments and began offering a variety of services. This transition brought about an increasingly effective system of law and order as the population became less transitory.Throughout the maturity stage, the backbone of the Grand Encampment Mining District's economic structure was the Ferris-Haggarty Mine and the modern, efficient smelter at Encampment. This stage was characterized by permanent settlers, a stable government, and a steady economy with city services and cultural events similar to non-mining cities of comparable size.The decline stage formally began when the Ferris Haggarty mine and smelter failed to open for the 1909 mining season. By the end of the year, a large number of merchants and miners had drifted away. The main reasons for sudden collapse were over-capitalization, the lack of a railroad system into the district, and questionable financial practices. Two destructive fires added to the company's financial problems. Finally, the stockholders sued the company which resulted in drawn-out litigation and bankruptcy proceedings. After these legal proceedings were over, copper prices were low and the district's financial reputation was irreparable. As a result, developmental capital could not be raised to open the mine and smelter.The towns of Pearl, Elwood, Battle, Copperton, Carbondale, Rambler, Dillon, and Rudefeha all became ghost towns. Encampment and Riverside survived by changing their economic focus from mining to recreation and cattle service centers. Thus, the Grand Encampment Mining District completed the "life cycle of western frontier mining districts." en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of History
dc.format.extent 3, x, 281 leaves : ill., maps ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Mines and mineral resources -- Wyoming. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Frontier and pioneer life -- Wyoming. en_US
dc.title Grand Encampment Mining District : a case study of the life cycle of a typical western frontier mining district en_US Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3121]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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