Indian legends about long-lost silver mines brought prospectors to Marion County in north central Arkansas during the 1880’s. News of shiny metallic flakes found in rocks caused a “silver rush”, bringing wealth-seekers from the nearby states of Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky and beyond, including the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama.
After a rock smelter was built in 1886 along Rush Creek the first tests conducted in early 1887 proved to be disappointing — at least for those hoping it was silver in “them thar hills”. Instead, those shiny metallic flakes were found to be another mineral when “green zinc oxide fumes were emitted in a spectacular display”1 — something akin to welding sparks perhaps. Zinc mining began soon thereafter at the Morning Star Mine.
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