History of Nevada Diversity

Chinese in Nineteenth-Century Nevada

A mere twenty-one Chinese men lived in the western Great Basin in 1860. It was a humble beginning for immigrants who would compete for the title of largest immigrant group in nineteenth-century Nevada. One of the earliest descriptions of Chinese in the region places them in 1856 digging a ditch along the Carson River. Some of the immigrants remained in the area, working gold-bearing placer deposits. They became such a fixture there that people called the nearby community Chinatown before it officially took the name Dayton in 1861.

Chinese and Mining

Shortly after the news of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Fort in 1849 reached South China, Chinese gold seekers flocked to the Mother Lode in California. These men eventually migrated to the area now known as western Nevada. Present-day Dayton was originally called "Chinatown" because the Chinese had settled there in the 1850s in considerable numbers.

Charles I. West

Nothing better describes Dr. Charles I. West's influence on Nevada and myriad accomplishments than the first line of Hank Greenspun's Where I Stand column in the Las Vegas Sun on October 10, 1984. Greenspun, in devoting his column to Dr. West upon his death, began the tribute by saying, "The freedom fighter has lost a true champion."

Cattail

Cattails were important to Indians in Nevada, most especially the Paiute. Cattails exist in several species. However, the most common species in Nevada seems to be the Typha latifolia, also known as the broadleaf cattail.

Bow Stave Trees

Approximately 1,500 years ago, a new technology swept across Nevada. The bow and arrow allowed Native Americans to kill animals from farther away with more precision than they could previously achieve with weapons such as the atlatl and spear. These improvements may have resulted in more successful hunts that yielded greater supplies of meat for Native families, especially from large game such as deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep.

Bob Bailey

Dr. William H. "Bob" Bailey came to Las Vegas as an entertainer at a historic hotel-casino, and stayed to make history as a civil rights pioneer and contributor to Las Vegas' transformation from a small, segregated gambling town to an integrated metropolis.

Bitterbrush

Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) is found throughout the Nevada deserts, and has several other common names, including Antelope Bush, Antelope Bitterbrush, Buckbrush, and Quininebrush. It is a hearty plant, but quite flammable. Following wildfires, however, the plant is able to regenerate from the roots, a great benefit in environmental restoration.

Bertha Ronzone

Bertha Bishop Ronzone presided over what was once the largest, privately-owned chain of department stores in Nevada. Born in Iowa on April 16, 1885, Bishop moved with her family to California when she was a child. In 1901, at age sixteen, she married Attilio "Ben" Ronzone, a gold prospector. The Ronzones relocated to Alaska where they spent two years. By 1903, the news of mineral strikes in Nevada reached the couple.

Bert Goldwater

Bertram Mortimer (Bert) Goldwater lived most of his life in Reno as a criminal and civil lawyer. He was a passionate defender of civil liberties and served as first chairman of Nevada's Equal Rights Commission. For many years he was a United States bankruptcy judge–a position held until his death at the age of 91.

Basque Folklife

Many of the Basque folkways that we see today in Nevada formed part of the cultural baggage of Basque immigrants, and first found collective expression here within the context of ostatuak, or Basque boarding houses. These establishments, which began to open their doors as early as the 1860s, served Basques who were engaged primarily in the sheep industry and in mining.

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