John Reese

Mormons and Genoa

What some consider Nevada's first Euro-American town appeared in the Carson Valley in 1850. Gold Rush fever had swept the nation, sending fortune-seekers streaming into California. The Humboldt Trail, one route west, crossed Northern Nevada and deposited prospectors at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. At this point a handful of Mormons established a trading post to provision road-weary travelers. Their success and the Comstock Lode's discovery soon attracted others, but Genoa and Dayton now competed for the title of the first American settlement in the western Great Basin.

Captain James Hervey Simpson and Highway 50

Captain James Hervey Simpson of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers laid out the Great Basin portion of modern U.S. 50 as part of a wagon road. Simpson, a West Point graduate (1832), became the Army's chief topographical engineer in Utah in 1858. He came to the assignment with experience in surveying and constructing roads in the West. Simpson was certain that a shorter route through the Great Basin to California was possible.

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