Silver was discovered in the Richmond lode of the Empire mining district in the eastern Empire Mountains in 1879. John L. Dillon, the owner of the claims, named the town site Total Wreck, because he thought that the mine was on a ledge that looked like "a Total Wreck" because it was below a quartzite ledge with large boulders of quartzite strewn all over.
A post office was established on August 12, 1881, and was discontinued on November 1, 1890. The population was around 200 residents in 1883, at which time its structures included five saloons, three general stores, a butcher shop, a shoemaker shop and a half dozen Chinese laundries. By 1884 mines of the area had produced some $500,000 in silver bullion. Mining declined through the 1890s and early 1900s.
I don't know if it's true or not, but legend has it that there was a shooting at the Total Wreck Mine and a man was shot in the chest. He survived due to the large stack of love letters he had in a pocket there which caught the bullet. He was rumored to have married the woman who had written the love letters.