Land and Water

Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire is located approximately 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, in an awe-inspiring landscape of flaming red sandstone. The area was utilized by Basketmaker peoples and later by Ancestral Puebloan peoples between approximately 300 B.C. and 1150 A.D. Bright red sandstone carved into intricate shapes by the wind provides the backdrop for a rich concentration of archaeological sites, including rock art.

Virginia City and Early Nevada Mining

Virginia City and the Comstock Lode played a crucial role in the development of the region and the nation. The news of its importance has reverberated throughout the world for nearly 150 years. The wealth of the Comstock's fabulously rich mines affected presidential politics and gave Nevada international fame. Immigrants arrived from every continent, attracted by legendary amounts of gold and silver, which poured into the economy during the crisis of the Civil War.

Virginia City and Gold Hill

Virginia City was known as the Queen of the Comstock, the internationally famous mining district. Founded in 1859, the settlement was the focus of a gold rush and within a year, it became the region's largest community, a status it maintained in Nevada into the 1890s. Virginia City was incorporated under the Utah Territory in 1861.

Virginia Street Bridge

The Virginia Street Bridge gained its fame during Reno's heyday as the divorce capital of the nation. Lore had it that immediately after receiving their decree, women would march to the center of the bridge and, in an emphatic good-riddance, throw their wedding rings into the Truckee River (less satisfying but safer than tossing the ex-husband over the rail).

Wabuska Hot Springs

The Wabuska geothermal area is located at the margin of Mason Valley, in Lyon County, Nevada, where both the valley margin and the thermal springs coincide with a northeast-trending zone of faults referred to as the Wabuska lineament. Hot springs, about 1.6 km north of Wabuska, range in temperature from 59 to 72°C and occur over a large area. Gas bubbles issue from the pools with a faint odor of H2S. The springs occur along an east-west line that coincides with the course of a post-Lahontan fault, which is plainly shown by an irregular scarp, in some places 6 m high.

Waddie Mitchell

Waddie Mitchell has become an icon of Nevada, of buckaroo culture (cowboys of the Great Basin), and of cowboy poetry. Born in 1950 on a ranch in Elko County, he grew up to be a working cowboy. After the popularity of the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985—of which he was one of the founders—he realized the impact he had on audiences. He also saw that making day wages as a cowboy, he would never buy the ranch he dreamed of owning. So Mitchell became a professional cowboy poet and entertainer with worldwide tours, logging over 200 days on the road in 2006.

Ward Charcoal Ovens

The Ward Charcoal Ovens are the main attraction of a state park in White Pine County fifteen miles south of Ely. The ovens take their name from Thomas Ward who founded a local mining district in 1872. The local gold and silver ore required the high burning temperature of charcoal for milling, inspiring the construction of the ovens in the mid 1870s. The design of the beehive ovens caused heat to be reflected back on the wood as it slowly burned to produce charcoal. Each of the six ovens stood thirty feet tall and was twenty-seven feet in diameter at the base.

Washoe Basket Weavers

The people of the Washoe tribe of Nevada and California have long practiced the art of weaving. Both men and women created the tools and products necessary to make a living in a land that required seasonal movements. Heavy pottery or bulky wooden items were not suited to this environment nor to the mobile lifestyle of the indigenous people.

Washoe County Courthouse

Established in 1861, Washoe County's original seat of government was in Washoe City, the location of its first courthouse. In 1871, the county government transferred to Reno where the commissioners built a simple brick Italianate courthouse. Shortly after the move, a contractor demolished the Washoe City courthouse for the brick.

Washoe Winter Village Archaeology

Washoe Indian people regard Western Nevada along the central Sierra Nevada as an important part of their original homeland. Today many Washoe tribal members still live in Western Nevada's valleys adjacent to the Sierra in cities and towns, and on reserved lands—at places such as Coleville, Markleeville, Woodfords, Dresslerville, Carson City, Reno, Doyle, and Susanville.


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