In 1889, prospectors John Ferguson and Joseph Sharp discovered gold around Monkeywrench, Washington. A mining camp was then born west of the Monkeywrench Mine. It was called Ferguson.
In April 1894, Captain Joseph Rafael De Lamar of Montana bought most of the important mines in the area and renamed the Ferguson camp as Delamar. In the same year, a newspaper called the Delamar Lode began publication and a post office was opened.
Soon, the new settlement boasted more than 1,500 residents, a hospital, an opera house, churches, a school, several businesses and saloons. Most buildings were made of native rock.
By 1896, the Delamar mill was handling up to 260 tons of ore daily. Water for the camp was pumped from a well in Meadow Valley Wash, some twelve miles away. Supplies and materials traveled even further, by mule team over mountainous terrain from the railroad head at Milford, Utah, which was 150 miles from Delamar.
The gold in the Delamar mines was embedded in quartzite. The process to remove the gold from the quartzite resulted in large quantities of dust containing sharp-edged rock particles. This extremely hazardous material (called Dagger Dust) resulted in a debilitating and often fatal lung disease silicosis. Dagger Dust caused microscopic tears in the alveoli of the lungs, and did so very rapidly. In mere months, victims died of suffocation from an emphysema-like scarring.
Because of the dry-mining process and its resulting fatalities, at one time there were over 400 widows living in Delamar. The town thus earned its nickname The Widowmaker.
After the turn of the century, gold production slowed and by 1902 many of the town’s residents had moved on to the new boom town of Tonopah, Nevada. Not long after, Delamar died for good.
Many ruins now stand semi-intact in the Delamar ghost town region. Foundations can easily be seen from adjacent hills. There are two graveyards, which have been vandalized. The area is honeycombed with mines and mineshafts, but in recent years the main shaft has been blasted closed.
Wild horses roam the area.