Located on a sloping hillside Alleghany developed from several mining settlements that were begun in the early 1850’s. Alleghany became a town in 1853 when some of the people of these earlier mining settlements gravitated to a location better fitted for a larger community. These early settlements included Smith’s Flat ; north of the site of the Sixteen to One Mine, Kanaka Flat; two miles southwest of Alleghany, Cumberland; northeast of Alleghany and Kanaka City; a mile and a half northeast of Alleghany. Before “Alleghany” became the name of the town the settlement was called Jericho and Alleghanytown. The first miners to settle at the location of the town were from the Allegheny region of Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1853 several of these miners began the running of a drift tunnel which they named the Alleghany Tunnel, spelling the name with an “a” instead of an “e” to distinguish it from the region in Pennsylvania. This being one of the first and most important tunnel workings the town dropped its earlier names and adopted the name Alleghany.
Early advertisers often embellished the size of a client’s establishment.
Alleghany doesn’t have a large enough piece of flat ground to accommodate this structure.
Smith’s Flat; later to become part of the town of Alleghany, was quite possibly the earliest area mined at Alleghany. Starting sometime in 1851 the hydraulic and ground sluicing workings were yielding gold and quartz nuggets ranging in value from $1000 to $5000. Drift tunnels were run from Smith’s Flat underneath the ridge between Alleghany and Forest City during 1853 to reach the ancient river channel to further exploit this gold bearing region. From the mid 1850’s to the beginning of the 1860’s the placer deposits around Alleghany were becoming worked out and attention turned to the discovery and development of lode mines.
By the late 1850s’ Alleghany had become a full fledged town with all number of business houses. Hotels, general merchandise stores, saloons, a bank, attorneys and an express office
run by Langton & Company were but a few of the commercial enterprises in this gold rush town. The late 1850’s and through the 1860’s was a time of limited production from the mines of the
Alleghany area. Discovery and development of the areas hard rock mines was underway and large amounts of capital was being invested in the various mining ventures but gold production declined during this period.
Beginning in 1870 and continuing well into the 1930’s mining activity “took off” with one discovery after another of important mining properties. The Oriental, Kenton, Plumbago, Rainbow, Osceola, Dreadnaught and Red Ledge were but a few of the mines producing large amounts of gold. Then in 1907 the greatest of all mines in Sierra County, The Sixteen-to-One, was discovered. The Sixteen-To-One has over the years produced a conservatively estimated thirty six million dollars in gold, over twice the production of The Sierra Buttes Mine, Sierra County’s second greatest producer of gold.
Alleghany today has a population of about one hundred and twenty permanent residents and only one operating business, a saloon. The Sixteen-To-One Mine, in continuous operation since 1907, is still producing gold today.
Gold rush settlements of the Alleghany - Lafayette Ridge area