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An Englishman named Harry Pye, a mule skinner and prospector, was delivering freight for the U.S. Army from Hillsboro to Camp Ojo Caliente in 1879 when he discovered silver in the canyon where Chloride is now located. After completing his freighting contract, he and two others returned to the area in 1881 and staked a claim. A tent city grew up nearby and then a town, originally called Pyetown, then Bromide.
The name “Chloride” was finally selected, after the high-grade silver ore found there. It became the center for all mining activity in the area, known as the Apache Mining District. During the 1880s, Chloride had 100 homes, 1,000-2,000 people, eight saloons, three general stores, restaurants, butcher shops, a candy store, a lawyer’s office, a doctor, boarding houses, an assay office, a stage line, a Chinese laundry and a hotel. Residents even hoped the town would become the county seat. The “Black Range” newspaper operated from 1883 until 1897. (Apaches attacked the Chloride store on Jan. 18, 1881, killing two and injuring one. Harry Pye was killed by Apaches a few months later, apparently because his gun jammed.)
Area mines continued producing ore mostly copper, lead and zinc — from the turn of the century until about 1931. The post office was open until 1956. About 20 people still live in Chloride, including Mr. and Mrs. Don Edmund. They own a number of the old homes and buildings in town and are restoring the Pioneer Store to open as a museum.
About $500,000 in silver and other ore was taken out of the mining district. There was a total of 480 prospector holes, including at least The richest mine Apache Mining District, was the Silver Monument, about 10 miles west of town at the head of Chloride Creek. It produced about $100,000 by 1893. Other mines in the area included the Grey Eagle, the White Eagle, the U.S. Treasury, the Mayflower, the St. Cloud, the Colossal, the Midnight, the Mountain King, the Wall Street, the White Mountain and the New Era. Chloride and the surrounding area began to decline with the silver panic of 1893, when the country went on the gold standard and silver prices dropped about 90 percent.