1904 was a banner year for the Webb City-Carterville Mining District. The mines in this district were the leading producers for lead and zinc with 186,754,420 pounds of zinc and 33,016,406 pounds of lead recovered.
The zinc was valued at $3,510,969, and the lead was valued at $915,879 for a total revenue of $4,426,848.
That would equal $135 million in today’s dollars, according to the US Inflation Calculator, which only goes back to 1913.
The Joplin district came in second place with 144,856,830 pounds of zinc mined and 17,464,959 pounds of lead mined. The combined total was valued at $3,280,752.
In the past, newspapers had reported that Webb City was located only a few miles from Joplin. But at the peak of the mining here, Joplin was said to be near Webb City, indicating how the prominence of Webb City had increased.
It was reported that the Webb City-Carterville mining fields were the richest mining lands found in the United States and were more valuable than the gold mines in the Klondike or the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Webb City-Carterville district included only mines located 3½ miles within the limits of the “Twin Cities.” One of the advantages this district possessed was that all of the major mills had at least one rail line running to them.
During this mining boom, the greatest need was housing for would-be residents. Many had to live in Joplin and ride the streetcar to work in the mines or the businesses. Mechanics and laborers were in high demand, an advertisement in the newspaper stated that all Americans were welcome. Mine superintendents would be paid $25 to $50 weekly, engineers from $3.00 to $4.00 a day, foremen $3.50 to $4.00 per day, mine bosses $3.00 to $3.50 per day, ground-men $2.25-$3.00 per day, top-men and laborers $2.00 to $2.50 per day.