Peter Marschall


Hawthorne was established in 1881 as a freight depot and repair station for the Carson and Colorado Railroad, which was in the process of extending its track to the boomtown of Candelaria. The town got off to a slow start because no mines of significant value were discovered in the area. Its economy experienced a small boost in 1883, when the seat of Esmeralda County was moved from Aurora to Hawthorne.


Although some mining existed in the Golconda area as early as 1866, its most important years came between 1898 and 1910 when it served as a copper processing center for the Adelaide mine. In 1907, a gold discovery just two miles away contributed to its status as a mining town, although the total amount produced from this discovery was small. Golconda's heyday lasted only twelve years, but it gave birth to a ranching community and supported a number of mining operations later in the twentieth century.


As World War II raged in Europe in 1941, the British government found itself short of magnesium alloy. The metal—a third lighter than aluminum—was an important component in effective aircraft and weapons construction. One American company, Basic Refractories, Inc. (BRI), of Cleveland Ohio, felt it was in a position to help. BRI was already exploiting raw components of magnesium in Brucite, a small mining camp in northwestern Nye County, Nevada.


Located in Elko County, Wells became a natural rest area for emigrants heading west because of its open meadows and natural well water. The first written report of the area came from a pioneer's journal in 1845. Because the springs, (or "wells") are the source of the Humboldt River, the area was originally dubbed Humboldt Wells. By the 1850s and 1860s, hundreds of covered wagons passed through Humboldt Wells every year.


The city of Fernley owes its existence to the Newlands Project, which began irrigating a small number of farms in an arid region of western Nevada in 1905. The project, which diverted water from the Truckee River, was the first of its kind to be federally funded. The overall success of the endeavor is debatable to this day, but there is no doubt that it gave birth to the town of Fernley.

West Wendover

West Wendover, which sits on the eastern edge of Nevada, is a flourishing community, and a testament to the powerful lure of the gaming industry. The city is an offshoot of Wendover, Utah, which was established by officials of the Western Pacific Railroad as a watering station in 1907.


Soon after its founding in 1868, Elko became a critical distribution point for the Central Pacific Railroad in northeastern Nevada, and quickly established itself as the central business hub for desolate Elko County. By February 1869, the budding town supported a rough and rowdy population with over sixty canvas tents. Later that year, Elko was selected as the seat of the county that bears its name. The town grew over time, with shipping, livestock, gaming, and mining as central to its economy. These remain important industries in Elko today.

Cherry Creek

Like many mining towns in Nevada, the story of Cherry Creek in White Pine County is one of boom and bust. It sprang up shortly after Peter Corning and John Carpenter located the nearby Tea Cup claim in 1872. Many mining companies flocked to the area, and the town grew until it busted just three years later because of dwindling ore supplies.


The town of Carlin emerged soon after the Central Pacific Railroad established the eastern terminus of its Humboldt Division in 1868. Even before the town was platted, a small group of Chinese railroad workers occupied the area on what is now the western border of Elko County.

Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain owes its early existence to railroads and mining. When the Central Pacific Railroad came to the area in 1868, it encountered a loose community of mining camps inspired by the boomtown of Austin, ninety miles to the south. Mining activity increased with the coming of the railroad, and a post office was established in 1870.


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