Boomtowns USA Late 1800's

A Boomtown is a town undergoing rapid growth due to sudden prosperity

What are boomtowns?

Towns from the time of the Gold Rush 1848-1855, not permanent towns. They were called boomtowns because there was so much settlement to the towns and many people living there at once.

These towns were located mainly in the Western parts of the United States, mostly near mining centers and railroads.

Virginia City Boomtown
Francisco City Boomtown

Who & why

About half of the miners were foreign-born. There were immigrants from Hawaii, China, Japan , Italy, Germany, Mexico, and more.

These people came for a variety of reasons, such as, to start a new life, to get land to farm, or to simply mine or try to find gold. The large amounts of immigration during this time period have impacted the diversity of today’s American population.

Boomtown life

Once a transcontinental railroad was built, many more people started traveling accross the country, and the population rapidly increased. Boomtowns first started as tent cities, which over time, became actual hotels, stores, and other wood framed buildings. There were several mining camps near to whrere these towns were typically located.

Nevada, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming became states between the years 1864-1890.

For the citizens of boomtowns, there were many occupations one could hold. There were plenty of jobs in mines, of course. People opened businesses, and offered more jobs to the unemployed. Merchants sold high priced tools, food, and clothing.

Women of Boomtowns

In many towns, the ratio of women to men was about 1 to 9. Although, women often made decent livings. They typically opened businesses, washed clothes, cooked and baked, and sometimes, even helped in the mines.


About everything in Boomtowns were expensive. There was not much fresh drinking water because most was polluted with chemicals. People would pay a lot of money on bottled water. These issues along with others are the reasons boomtowns did not last long.

Boomtowns to ghosttowns

What Happened to Boomtowns


Created with images by Renodesertfoxstill - "Yellow Jacket Mine"

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