Nevada Quicksilver Mine in Lovelock, Nevada

Old shack by Nevada Quicksilver Mine, with pronghorn antelope.

In the 1920s, the Juniper Mine, or Nevada Quicksilver Mine, was one of the top producers of mercury in the United States, and certainly had the most spectacular setting.

Quicksilver is the traditional name for mercury, and the word is still commonly used in industry. Through the first part of the 20th century, the Antelope Springs Mining District in the southern Humboldt Range east of Lovelock, Nevada, was noted for its production of what was considered at the time a precious metal: mercury. Even as late as the 1980s, there were earnest predictions that mercury shortages might occur by the end of the 20th century. 

Production waxed and waned with mercury prices over the years, only finally shutting down around 1970. This occurred around the time mercury was transitioning from “valuable strategic metal” to “horrendous environmental toxin.”

For decades, Nevada Quicksilver’s tall headframe loomed high in the foothills, at an elevation of 5,200 feet (1,585 meters). The headframe collapsed over the winter of 2018-19, though other structures from the old mine remain.

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