Silver was discovered in the Ophir Canyon in the 1860s, but early mining efforts were defeated by very hard rock which was surprisingly expensive to drill and machine. After the discovery of a new ore body in the Murphy mine, the only significant producer, a revival followed from 1872 and well into the 1880s. However, activity had largely ceased by 1890 and the office of post closed in 1893.
You can still see the ruins of the mill and a brick and stone building that was probably the store, as well as several roofless stone huts. The Murphy Mine portal itself remains open, although it is dangerous to enter. Unfortunately, several years ago the Forest Service razed some of the remaining stone buildings as public hazards.
After the turn of the last century, there was only small-scale and intermittent activity on the extraction of precious metals. In the mid-20th century, however, deposits of tungsten were discovered and mined near the mouth of the canyon. This lasted until the mid-1960s when the tungsten market collapsed due to the removal of strategic metal subsidies.
Little remains of the tungsten operations. A tungsten mill south of the mouth of the canyon survived until the early 2010s, but has since been demolished. An early-day cemetery is preserved on the north side of the mouth of the canyon.