Tucked amidst the high desert landscape of southwest Wyoming, the small town of Diamondville (population 500) owes its existence to the once-abundant “diamond coal” found in the surrounding hills.
The superior-grade coal first discovered in 1868 by Harrison Church was said to shimmer like black diamonds. Financial backers soon formed the Diamond Coal & Coke Company to mine this lucrative resource, and the town of Diamondville was incorporated around 1896 with Thomas Sneddon as the first mayor.
Most early settlers were miners who lived in primitive shelters by the mines. By 1899, businesses like the 3-story Daly Hotel started sprouting up along a thriving main street, and the town would eventually be dotted with shops, boarding houses, and over 10 saloons.
Immigrants from across Europe were drawn by mining jobs, establishing ethnic enclaves like Finn Hall and the Slovenski Dome for gatherings. While the underground mines eventually closed in 1930, remnants of Diamondville’s frontier era remain in vacant mine tunnels, ghost town ruins, and historic buildings around town.