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McGill was another town that grew from a ranching community and from that became the smelting center for White Pine County. The ranch was first established in 1872 and soon had extensive grain fields. Neil McGill and his partner, William Lyons, purchased the ranch in 1886 and soon the ranch was one of the most prosperous in the county. A post office opened in 1891. While the McGill-Adams partnership was important to the town’s development, the real force was the McGill smelter. Built in 1908, the $10 million smelter was a joint venture of Cumberland and Ely and the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company. By 1909, McGill employed 2,200 men. The Steptoe Valley smelting and Mining Company, operator of the smelter, built large and modern facilities for its employees and to serve as the official company headquarters. The company also opened several businesses, and McGill became a company town. McGill’s population peaked at around 3,000 during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The population declined after the Depression, and by the time the smelter closed in the late 1970s only about 1,000 residents were left. Today, the plant has been dismantled. The tall smokestack was taken down in 1993.

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