Silver was first discovered near Ione in 1863. By 1864, Ione was a booming district. It was named the county seat of newly formed Nye County. Knickerbocker Canyon (originally named Veach Canyon) was located a few miles south of Ione. Legal problems occurred for the nearby Pioneer Mill in 1865. Later that year, eastern money interests spent $130,000 to build the Knickerbocker Mill. An article from the "Nye County News" section of the Gold Hill Daily News on August 24, 1865 read: "More Machinery- Three more large teams, loaded with machinery for the Knickerbocker Nevada Mill, arrived in town Thursday last. We are informed by Mr. Morgan, who recently arrived from Virginia, that he passed on the road a large quantity of mill machinery for Ione..." Knickerbocker never really served as a true mining camp, but more as a milling camp. However, The Knickerbocker Nevada Mill and Mining Company did own the Phoenix, Olive and Lockward mines in the area. The Knickerbocker Mill operated continuously from 1866 to 1875. On July 11, 1866, the Gold Hill Daily News reported on the first bullion shipment leaving the Knickerbocker. It read "One hundred and sixty-six pounds of bullion constituted the first shipment from Knickerbocker Mill, Ione City, Nye county, on last Friday." By the Fall of 1866, the Knickerbocker ran into problems with its furnaces. They were soon rebuilt by McGinnis and Cronin. The mill contained 20 stamps, 6 furnaces and an amalgamation department. By November, it was processing $60 a ton ore from the Great Eastern Mine. By September of 1867, it appears that the mill went idle, but with plans to re-start. The Belmont Silver Bend Reporter wrote: "Many of the miners there are now taking out ore for the Knickerbocker mill, which will be started immediately, the claim owners agreeing to furnish at least ten tons of ore per day for reduction. With both the Knickerbocker and Pioneer mills running, that section will produce an amount of bullion that will attract attention and stimulate enterprise there." This prediction appears to have held true. At least through the end of 1867. The Silver Bend Reporter published multiple articles regarding big bullion shipments that were sent to Austin. Grantsville ore was also processed at Knickerbocker until 1869 when Grantsville built its own mill. Knickerbocker again processed Grantsville ore in 1877 and 1878, until the Alexander Mill was completed at that town. From 1887 to 1889, the mill was used to process ore from the Berlin Mine. The last attempt at revival occurred very briefly in 1896- 1897. A man named W.S. Gage purchased the mill for use in his mining ventures. However, he died in 1897. All of the machinery and equipment was then purchased by J. Phelps Stokes for $23,000 and moved to the town of Berlin. Stokes was involved in many mining ventures in Nevada. To include camps like Downeyville. You may recognize his name from the Stokes Castle located in Austin, Nevada... Check out the pages for all of the places listed above, like Ione, Grantsville, Downeyville, Berlin and Stokes Castle.
Post Office: None. Mail went to Ione City AKA: Midas starting September 2, 1865 to April 8, 1882
Last Trip/ Road Conditions: May 2018. The road was rough and rocky, but we didn’t need four-wheel drive.
Sources: Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (By: Stanley W. Paher); Preserving the Glory Days- Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nye County, Nevada (By: Shawn Hall); Gold Hill Daily News (Newspaper); Belmont Silver Bend Reporter (Newspaper).