History

The Comstock Lode was the first and the biggest silver strike in the United States. Since that time, the term Comstock has become synonymous with silver mines.

Conconully and the surrounding areas are rich in history, and Silver mining was a major player in the shaping of that history. But that almost didn’t happen.

In 1879, a proclamation was issued that the area of what is now Okanogan County west of the Okanogan River would be the Columbia Reservation, for Chief Moses and his tribe, the Columbias.

There were already miners in the area, and some had formed a Mining District with similar boundaries as the reservation. This district was formed under the Mining Act of 1872.

The early settlers immediately protested the formation of the reservation, as this was in conflict with the previous law. The law declared that mineral deposits were free and open to exploration, occupation and purchase.

President Rutherford B. Hayes, accompanied by General W.T. Sherman, visited the Northwest. After learning of the error, He ordered a review, with information to be presented to Congress. The miners asked that the lands be restored, and President Hayes agreed that it was a good idea.

Negotiations were held with Chief Moses to purchase the land back from the Columbia Tribe. By an act of Congress on July 4, 1884, the entire Columbia Reservation was restored to public domain. On May 1, 1886, the area was officially reopened for white entry and settlement.

Miners flocked to the area and began filing claims. One of the first claims filed was the Lady of the Lake, staked on May 10, 1886, on the north shore of Conconully Lake. A mile north, the John Arthur, Lone Star, Tough Nut, and others were claimed.

At present day Conconully, the mining camp of Salmon City was established. In the fall of 1886, rich deposits of silver were found near Ruby. The area boomed, and Salmon City was renamed Conconully.

The rest is more history, just waiting for you to discover!