Peter Marschall

White Pine County Company Towns

When mining partners Edwin Gray and Dave Bartley discovered copper deep within a mountainside in central White Pine County between 1900 and 1902, they sparked a mining boom that would soon become one of the richest in the state. By 1910, four communities called "company towns" were established by businesses that aimed to exploit the deposits.


In 1860, the discovery of gold and silver about eighty miles southeast of Virginia City led to the creation of the boomtown Aurora. E. R. Hicks, J. M. Corey, and James Braley made the find while on a hunting and prospecting expedition. On August 30, 1860, they established the Esmeralda Mining District. A town site quickly emerged, and was later named Aurora after the Roman goddess of the dawn.


The site of modern-day Winnemucca has been important to Nevada since the first explorers traversed the region in the late 1820s. It later became a critical place for early settlers, and marked the point at which the immigrant trail headed south toward the Sierra Nevada passes. Winnemucca became a major distribution point for the Central Pacific Railroad, established itself as the center of commerce in north-central Nevada, and was the site of a major bank robbery that remains controversial to this day.


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