Thinking that local Joshua trees were related to palm trees, the 1866 prospectors named the mining camp Palmetto. Although a local 12-stamp mill worked the silver ore, the town died for lack of profitable material. New discoveries in the late 1860s brought Palmetto back to life, but once again meager deposits caused its demise.
New prospecting in 1903 caused Palmetto to grow to a town of 200 tents on a platted town site. At its peak in 1906, the commercial street contained all the necessary mining camp businesses.
Local miners drifted away in autumn, 1906. Mining, on a lease basis, has been minimal since that time. An important talc deposit lies nearby.