Located 1 mile northwest of Keystone in Buckeye Gulch, the area was first inhabited by Fred Cross as early as the 1870's.
The Vulcan Mining Group, of which Holy Smoke is part, originally occupied 102 acres of gold, silver and copper deposits and was founded by the colorful Col. James A. (Big Hat) Clark. Clark was so intrigued with the naming of Keystone's notorious "Holy Terror" mine, that he named his property "The Holy Smoke." Ore was located in this area in Pre-Cambrian Schist and Quartzite and two shafts were sunk at the 85' and 106' foot levels. Ore from the mine was taken to Keystone's custom mill for processing.
Popular author Stewart Edward White came to the Holy Smoke in the late 1800's dressed like a miner and leading a pack mule. Here he stayed in a log cabin and wrote three best selling novels - "The Westerners," "The High Graders," and "The Claim Jumpers." Working as paymaster in one of the local mines, White was almost hung by mistake over a wage dispute. He left the Holy Smoke and went to Arizona and became a well-known author of Western semi-fiction.