In 1851 John Hilt made his way to California from Illinois, landing in Hangtown. Hearing of rich diggins made his way north to Yreka by 1852. Finding way to the Cottonwood area (Hornbrook) where he worked mining, ranching, farming and saw milling. In 1877 Hilt bought a mill from his son in law Bill Smith, worked it for a few years. Then the mill was sold to a group of men which formed the Hilt Sugar Pine Co. Hilt Sugar Pine Co. then started a town, naming it after the previous mill owner. Later the Northern Ca. Lumber Company bought the mill. Then in 1920 Fruit Growers Supply Co. took over operations at the mill in Hilt, utilizing it as a box factory supplying fruit boxes to growers for Sunkist and others in the Southwest region. The company town thrived, consisting of various businesses including the Sunkist Hotel, the Diamond Club Saloon, the Hilt Store, The Baily Hill School, the Colestine Resort among others. On October 5, 1972 F.G.S. announced the outcome of a vote, resulting in the cease of operations of the mill in HIlt. In 1974 the town of Hilt was vacant, and as it was known, has disappeared into the past, though it will remain in the memories of those who once called Hilt home.