Although gold was first discovered at Gold Hill in 1858, settlement didn't begin until the 1870s, after a smelter was built here in 1871. As other nearby mines started to fail, Gold Hill began to grow famous in the mining industry. Its ore was among the richest known at the time. After the rich copper and gold mines were worked out, the area enjoyed a resurgence when World War I created a demand for arsenic. A smaller period of growth occurred during World War II, after which mining was discontinued. Gold Hill is now nearly a ghost town, with only a handful of remaining residents.
Jack Dempsey mined there before beginning his boxing career.