Between 1875 and the end of 1876, Silver Reef boomed with development, going from a boulder-strewn flat to a town of 1,500 people, one of the largest in Washington county.
Silver Reef soon became the center of permanent development, and many stone and wooden buildings were erected along a mile-long Main Street. Among the many businesses and buildings were six saloons, nine grocery stores, two dance halls, a brewery, billiard hall, the Wells Fargo Express Office, post office undertaker, citizens hall, jail, Masonic and Oddfellows halls, telegraph office, barber shop, physicians office, Chinese laundries (the walls are standing today), and a Catholic church with a hospital included. The Wells Fargo building, which you stand before, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bringing Silver Reef Back to Life
While many of the original buildings in silver Reef are gone, starting in the 1980s area residents organized an effort to restore existing buildings and structures and reconstruct some of them. The Wells Fargo Express Office has been restored and turned into a museum, along with the 1877 stone Powder House (worth a visit). The Rice Bank building was reconstructed and restored, and a replica of The Cosmopolitan Restaurant was built. Through their efforts, local residents succeeded in the Wells Fargo Express Office being added to the National Register of Historic Places.