Latitude / Longitude:
7,470 ft (2,277 m)
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
La Plata is a ghost town on the southern end of Cache County, Utah, United States. Located in the Bear River Mountains on a small tributary of the east fork of the Little Bear River, La Plata was a short-lived silver mining boomtown in the 1890s.
The first ore in the area was discovered in July 1891 by a mountain shepherd, who brought a curiously dense rock to show his foreman. The foreman recognized it as silver-bearing galena and took it to be assayed in Ogden. The sample was 45% lead, with a silver concentration of 400 ounces per ton. The two quietly registered a mining claim, but the secret got out. Several more high-grade ore pockets were found, and a silver rush began. This was the first major Utah mining claim ever found north of Salt Lake City, and many northern Utahns became interested. By August 1891 more than 1000 miners had arrived, and the number soon reached 1500. Lines of cabins and stores stretched along either side of the creek, forming a town called La Plata (Spanish for “silver”). There were 60–70 buildings in all, including two stores, saloons, a bank, and a post office.
Today the site of La Plata is surrounded by private land, which has helped preserve a few old cabins here. Mining machinery and collapsing shafts also remain as traces of the old silver mines.
La Plata’s high elevation made for harsh winters, and few people stayed after the 1891 season. Only 150 inhabitants were still found in January 1892. By then the richest ore had started to run out; the highest concentrations of silver were found on or close to the surface. The return of warmer weather brought a second, smaller rush; the population was back up to 600 by July 1892.