Silver discoveries at Union Canyon in the Shoshone Mountains by P. A. Havens in 1863 led to the formation of Ione. In 1864, Ione was named the first county seat for Nye County. At that time, the town had a population of 600 and more than one hundred buildings. The combination of low mine production and the emergence of Belmont forced Ione to relinquish the county seat in 1867.

Ione experienced numerous swings in fortune over the years, but never reclaimed its early prominence. Mercury mining sustained the town during the 1930s. Since that time, little activity has occurred. Ione has never been completely abandoned, and a handful of hardy people still live there amid the many remnants of its interesting past.

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