mining was done all over the place as evidenced by all the mines, tailings, and indentations scattered in just about every
ridge around Silver City.
The Unknown Land
A fascinating story is that of what in the early on called "The Unknown Land". It was accessible only through a foot trail
(today's nugget). It was large area bounded roughly by today's Hwy 385, Rapid Creek, Mickelson Trail, and Hwy 16.
An early 1900's account describes the whole region as "practically inaccessible except to hikers and horseback rides, and in
many places it is hard for a horse to find footing. High mountains, deep canyons, and tall timber are the principal features.
The region abounds in game, being the home of most of the blacktail deer, outside the Game Preserve, in the Hills.
Sometimes elk may be found hiding in some dark gulch. There are no streams of any size, so there is no fishing; but springs
of pure sparkling water are found in all the gulches. The hiker or hunter who penetrates these hills and valleys to make his
camp finds himself in woods and mountains much as they were in the days of '76."
In 1876-79, many prospectors located mining claims along the bars of Rapid Creek from Pactola westward. They found
gold, but no very rich strikes were made, and they concluded that the "mother lode" must be somewhere in the hills to the
South and West, along the course of the stream. Some of the miners, more hardy than the rest, set out to prospect the
hills, and penetrated into the wilderness seeking the source of the placer gold. They failed to find mines of any great value,
although a number of quartz veins were discovered that yielded low grade ore.
About this time three brothers, named Scruton, built a cabin near the foot of the highest peak in this section which called
Scruton Mountain (today's Seth Bullock). They had a mine somewhere in the vicinity and from time to time brought out
gold, but they never told where the mine was located, nor did any one else ever discover it. They died without disclosing its
location. It was this lost mine that gave the territory its name "The Unknown Land"
1916 Rapid City Journal headline "Silver City Bursts into Limelight as Big Mining Camp"
1962 - Mine up Gorman Gulch - Courtesy Rich Larson