Hartville
Pop. 76 Elev. 4,500

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Major Verling K. Hart, once an officer at Ft. Laramie, gave his name to this town when he opened the copper mine here. It became the first incorporated town in Wyoming in 1884. Copper mining brought Italian and Greek immigrants, and with them, a taste of southern European culture, including a Dante Alighieri Society and an opera house. The miners had homes in nearby Sunrise, which is now a ghost town. The old buildings still stand, but you need local permission to look around, as they are not officially open to the public.

By 1887, gold and silver had also been mined here in small amounts. The copper had mostly run out, but then miners discovered one of the world’s most extensive deposits of pure iron. Native Americans had used the red-pigmented mineral for war paint. The area became the first open pit mine in the world, named the Chicago Mine, or "The Glory Hole," a name that is still used for other open pit mines. The Chicago Mine went 650 feet deep, deep enough to fit the United Nations Building inside, and is still one of the largest open pit mines the world has ever seen. Production here peaked in 1942, reaching a million tons, but then tapered off. The mine officially closed in 1984. Environmental reclamation of the area has been an ongoing project.

Hartville gave its name to a geological formation. A Hartville Uplift is one that is rich in ores and semi-precious stones. Recent archeological digs have uncovered that, in addition to the metals mentioned above, Native Americans came here to find jasper, moss agate, onyx, chalcedony and flint for arrowheads. The area has been a gathering place due to its mineral treasures for nearly 11,000 years now.

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