The mines of the White Pine district were first established in 1865. Between 1868 and 1875, they supported many thriving towns including Hamilton, Eberhardt, Treasure City, and Shermantown.  These communities, now all ghost towns, are clustered eleven miles south of this point.

Hamilton and its neighbors thrived as a result of large-scale silver discoveries in 1868.  Experiencing one of the most intense, but shortest-lived silver stampedes ever recorded, the years 1868-1869 saw some 10,000 people living in huts and caves on Treasure Hill at Mount Hamilton, at an elevation of 8,000 to 10,500 feet above sea level.

Hamilton was incorporated in 1869 and became the first county seat of White Pine County that same year. It was disincorporated in 1875.  In this brief span of time, a full-sized town came into bloom with a main street and all the usual businesses.  A fine brick courthouse was constructed in 1870.

On June 27, 1873, the main portion of the town was destroyed by fire.  The town never fully recovered.  In 1885, another fire burned the courthouse and caused the removal of the White Pine County seat to Ely.