Churchill County Seats

Courtesy of the Churchill County Museum.

The Churchill County Courthouse in Stillwater dated to 1885. With the Newlands Project and the rise of Fallon, tiny Stillwater lost the seat of local government in 1903. The public building in Stillwater no longer exists.

Churchill County was an original county formed when the Nevada Territory was established in 1861. The population at that time was small, and, for governing purposes, Churchill was attached to Lyon County, with the county seat being established at Buckland's Station. From 1861 to 1865 the county seat remained there.

When Nevada became a state in 1864, county lines were redrawn in some areas. Buckland's Station was annexed into Lyon County and relinquished the county seat to the mining town of La Plata—sometimes called La Platte. For a period of three years, La Plata was the seat of government for Churchill; then, in 1868, the government offices were moved to Stillwater, an important stage stop on the Wadsworth to Nye County mail run.

From 1868 to 1903, Stillwater held the governmental reins for the county. Then, state senator Warren Williams put forward a legislative act to have the county seat moved from Stillwater to a more central location between Stillwater and the community of St. Clair, along the south branch of the Carson River. The location chosen was at the crossroads ranch of Mike Fallon, which had been purchased the year before by Senator Williams. Christened Fallon for its previous owner, the site was midway between the two agricultural areas and would serve all the Churchill County communities well.

Funds for a courthouse were acquired in 1903 and the building was erected. By 1904, the county records had been moved from Stillwater into the new location—some sources, like Sam P. Davis's History of Nevada, contend that the move was made without contention, while local Fallon lore tells of a midnight raid on the Stillwater courthouse made by Fallonites, and of a wagon chase over the seventeen or so miles between the communities. Either way, Fallon did obtain the county records and has been the governmental seat of power since that date.

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