Lake Valley was a place for the record books.
In 1878 prospectors George Lufkin and Chris Watson found the original samples that led to the excitement seventeen miles south of the town that had recently been named Hillsboro.
Eventually a syndicate headed by George Daly bought all claims in the area for a reported $225,000.
In 1881, blacksmith John Leavitt leased a claim that Lufkin and Watson had begun from the Sierra Grande Mining Company.
After two days and ten feet of digging, Leavitt came upon the most wonderful cavern ever discovered in the history of mining: it was a vault the size of a living room that was virtually solid silver!
Miners could actually saw chunks of the precious metal into blocks.
One piece was so large that it had to be broken up before it could be hauled out. A lighted candle could be held to the ceiling of the vault, which grateful miners named the Bridal Chamber, and silver would melt right off.
One piece of silver valued at $7,000 (when silver sold for a mere $1.11 per ounce) was featured at the Denver Exposition of 1882.
And the largest chunk ever taken from the Bridal Chamber was valued at an astonishing $80,000; that's over forty-five hundred pounds of silver at $ 1.11 per ounce.
The Bridal Chamber was the richest concentration of silver ever found: 2.5 million ounces were removed - and removed so easily that a railroad spur was backed into the chamber and solid silver loaded directly onto ore cars.
Total production of all mines in Lake Valley between 1881 and 1893 was 5.78 million ounces.