Ronald James

Gender in Nevada: A Comstock Case Study

Indisputably, women were in the minority in nineteenth-century Nevada. Mining boomtowns attracted single men more quickly than women; nevertheless, both genders were present during the earliest period of settlement, and women played a significant role in the building of the territory and state.

Geiger Grade

An early wagon road dating to the 1850s ascended north from Dayton along Gold Canyon, eventually reaching Virginia City. After 1859, another road descended east from Virginia City along Six Mile Canyon to the Carson Valley. Because teamsters used it to haul ore to the Carson River for processing, the road was named Mill Street. To the west, Jumbo Grade and Ophir Grade gave access to mills along the shore of Washoe Lake.

Fred Hart

Fred H. Hart is an excellent but lesser-known practitioner of the western journalistic tradition of the humorous literary hoax perfected by Dan De Quille and Mark Twain.

Fort Churchill

Lyon County’s Fort Churchill was founded in July 1860 during the critical period of conflict between Native Americans and newly arrived settlers. Captain Joseph Stewart, recently of Fort Alcatraz, had led forces from California to fight in the second phase of the Pyramid Lake War. He then received orders to establish a fort to protect transcontinental trade and transportation routes as they extended through the western Great Basin.

Welsh: Nineteenth-Century Immigrants from Wales

For centuries, the Welsh gained international fame as miners. Nevertheless, they were slow to come to Nevada's mines. This was largely due to the fact that coal dominates Wales's industry, giving its workers experience more useful in the coal fields of the eastern United States than in western hard rock mines.

Eureka County Courthouse

The Nevada legislature created Eureka County in 1873. Officials renovated a former ice rink donated by Judge John O'Darrow to serve as the first county courthouse. A fortified jail and fireproof vault were added to the 40-by-100-foot wooden building located on Main and Bateman Streets. The jail remained in use through the 1980s.


The Eureka Mining District began with a few claims staked in 1864. Initially, miners sent limited silver ore to Austin mills. By 1866, new discoveries attracted more attention, but the presence of lead made milling the silver ore difficult.

Esmeralda County Courthouse

When the seat of government moved from Hawthorne to Goldfield in 1907, county commissioners authorized the construction of a new county facility. The first courthouse still stands in Hawthorne where it later served Mineral County.

English Immigrants

English immigrants, particularly men, came to Nevada in large numbers during the nineteenth century and frequently occupied significant social and economic positions, often becoming community leaders who helped shape the state. English immigrants were active in the western Great Basin prior to the establishment of Nevada Territory, and they were among the earliest settlers to arrive in the 1850s.

Elko County Courthouse

The Nevada legislature created Elko County in 1869, and chose the town of Elko as the county seat. Commissioners selected a site for their courthouse a block from the central business district. They hired Walter Moberly, the county surveyor, to design the courthouse, and granted a $17,444 construction contract to Colonel W.P. Monroe. Dan P. Bell was appointed to supervise the project.


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