The discovery of silver-lead ore in this area in 1881 proved to be one of the richest strikes in the Little Belt Mountains. James L. Neihart was one of a group of prospectors who first discovered the ore and the town was named for him. The town was built with exceptionally wide streets.
The main street was eighty feet wide and all cross streets were 60 feet. One of the buildings still standing in the town has a sign over it reading:
Wu Tang Laundry
Sapphire mining also proved to be a profitable enterprise here. An estimated $3 million worth of sapphires ranging in color from pale to royal blue has been extracted from these mines.