Latitude / Longitude:
42°31′58″N 108°40′48″W / 42.53278°N 108.68000°W / 42.53278
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Hamilton City, or Miner’s Delight as it was commonly known, was a town in Fremont County, Wyoming, United States, on the southeastern tip of the Wind River Range, that prospered during the mining boom in the American West in the second half of the 19th century. It was a “sister city” of Atlantic City and South Pass City.
Today, through historic preservation by the Bureau of Land Management and various university programs and courses, the ghost town at Miner’s Delight stands as a testament to the passage of time, and provides historians with a peek at early Wyoming life and the gold mining culture. On the townsite are seventeen structures, including: seven cabins, one saloon, one meat house, one shop or barn, one shaft house, one pantry, one cellar, three privies, and a corral. All of the buildings are constructed of logs or unfinished lumber.
Today a few buildings still stand as a reminder of an era in Wyoming’s past history. Miner’s Delight was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 1980. The road west out of Miner’s Delight intersects with WYO 28 four miles west of town; Wyo. 28 intersects with US 287 thirty miles north of that intersection.
The town’s nomenclature, and how it ended up being called “Miner’s Delight” instead of “Hamilton City”, is a topic of historical debate. There are generally two stories associated with the changing of the town’s name. Both stories involve the discovery of a golden lode, a miner’s delight, on the ridge above town. The first story holds that in 1869, a man named William Jones, while chasing his cows about a pasture, stumbled across some quartz with gold flecks dotting it. The site was so remote and so far above town, that he erroneously assumed no one else would ever find it. Contented, he continued on his way, gathering his stray cattle. When he returned later to the site of the gold lode, however, he found others working the claim. He tried to relate his tale of the discovery to the other miners, but they would have none of it, and ran him off. The other story does not have quite the same Old West flair as the tale of Jones’ would-be discovery. A man named Johnathan Pugh, who incidentally is listed as one of the original founders of the lode, claimed to have discovered the gold. He even described the quartz ridge above town, down to the gold nuggets embedded in it.