The mining camp of Frisco was located in Beaver County, Utah, some seventeen miles west of Milford and fifty miles northwest of Beaver, in the San Francisco Mining District. This district, organized on 12 August 1871, embraced approximately seven square miles on both flanks of the San Francisco Mountains. It became an important producer of silver and lead beginning in the mid-1870s.
Frisco developed as the post office and commercial center for the district, as well as the terminus of the Utah Southern Railroad extension from Milford. In 1880 Frisco’s population numbered some 800 people.
The Horn Silver Mining Company, incorporated on 17 February 1879 (the mine had been discovered in 1875), was the main mining enterprise in Frisco. While there were a large number of other mines in the district, the Horn became the largest producer. From 1875 to 1910 the mine produced ore having a value of $20,267,078.
With the success of the Horn Silver mine in the mid-1870s, the Frisco Mining and Smelting Company expanded its workings in July 1877 by constructing a smelter that included five beehive charcoal kilns– the only substantial remnants of Frisco’s glory years. Other mines located in the district included the Blackbird, Cactus, Carbonate, Comet, Imperial, King David, Rattler, and Yellow Jacket.
The ores of the Frisco District contained lead, copper, silver, gold, and zinc, with some arsenic and antimony. With the coming of the railroad, local smelters and concentrators gave way to those of the Salt Lake Valley. Milford was on the main line of the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad (later the Union Pacific).
Frisco was an active camp from 1879 to 1929, with most of the activity occurring up to the year 1910. An 1879-80 directory lists thirty-three businesses and services available, including eight saloons. Fluctuations occurred as mining activity increased or waned. In 1900 fourteen establishments and services were listed, and Frisco’s population had declined to approximately 500 people. By 1903 there were some twenty listings; and in 1912 there were only twelve listings, with a population estimated at 150. The number increased to sixteen in 1918, as the population rose to 300. Six listings marked the directory of 1922-23, and the population dropped back to 100. By 1927-28 there were but two entries, the Horn Silver mine and its manager, who also acted as the postmaster. The population was still listed at 100.
Frisco remained but a mining camp or village, never attaining the status of an incorporated town. By 1933 a major part of the district, including Frisco, was controlled and owned by the Tintic Lead Company. The Great Depression essentially put an end to the area, but some sporadic development work continued into the 1940s and 1950s. While the camp is now all but gone, the remaining Frisco charcoal kilns were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Philip F. Notarianni