The town was located at the former interchange point between the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Nevada Northern Railway, and came into being when construction of the Nevada Northern began in 1905. The Nevada Northern was constructed primarily to serve the copper mines and smelter near Ely, Nevada, and cobre is the Spanish word for "copper." In 1910, Cobre reached its peak population with a total of 60 residents. Over the next few decades Cobre's population would slowly declined due to travelers' preference to the automobile over the train. This led to the Southern Pacific Railroad abandoning the Cobre station in November 1948.
A post office was established at Cobre in 1906, and it was discontinued in 1956.