Ronald James

Egyptian Revival Style Architecture in Nevada

Internationally, the first period of Egyptian Revival architecture sprang from Napoleon's Egyptian campaign of 1798-1799. During the early nineteenth century, there was widespread fascination with all things Egyptian. Motifs from that culture occasionally figured into building design, but the style remained an oddity until it fell out of fashion in the 1840s.

Early Lumber Industry

Wood was essential to development in the nineteenth-century Great Basin. Unfortunately, forests were scarce, particularly when construction needed straight grained pines. Mines required wood for building, to fuel furnaces, and to assemble support systems underground.

Douglas County Courthouse

Created in 1861, Douglas County was named after failed presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas, chairman of the Senate Committee of Territories at the time. The state legislature selected Genoa as the location for the county seat.


Dayton is at the western end of the Twenty-Six Mile Desert at a bend in the Carson River. Immigrants stopping there for water would consider whether to follow the river south or continue west, giving the location its first name, Ponderers Rest. In 1849, Abner Blackburn, while heading for California, discovered a gold nugget in nearby Gold Creek, one of the tributaries of the Carson River.

Cornish Immigrants

Cornwall, England's western-most county, is one of six Celtic nations that include Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and France's Brittany, each sources of immigrants to Nevada. As early as the Bronze Age, Cornwall's tin mines won fame, but failure of Cornish mining in the 1830s inspired immigration to other centers of mineral production. About 100,000 Cornish left a county that had a population of almost 370,000 in 1861.


Many public buildings in the United States have cornerstones featuring the date as well as an "AL" followed by a number. The AL is the abbreviation of the Latin words anno Lucis, meaning "in the year of light." It is similar to the AD, which means anno Domini or "in the year of the Lord."

Comstock Mining Folklore

Miners possess their own oral traditions, beliefs, jargon, and customs. Mineral wealth also inspired folklore outside the occupation. Legends of lost mines, for example, belong to the general population. In contrast, only miners normally shared concerns about whistling underground or harming rats in mines. While many have studied western mining folklore, little has been done in Nevada.

Comstock Mining District

In 1849 while passing through the Great Basin to California, Abner Blackburn discovered gold at the junction of Gold Canyon and the Carson River, a place eventually called Dayton. He continued on his way, but his find marked the area for future exploration. The next year, placer miners began working gold-bearing sands in Gold Canyon.

Clark County Courthouse

Organized in 1905, Las Vegas has remained the county seat of Clark County since its creation. Before the county was organized, civic leaders collected $1,800 and built the first courthouse in Las Vegas in 1909. The simple square structure was made of concrete and included a Mission Revival style parapet similar to that of Esmeralda County's courthouse. The first county meeting was held in the building in 1909.

Churchill County Courthouse

In Churchill County's early years, the location of the courthouse moved several times due to an unstable economy. Originally located in La Plata in 1864, it was moved to Stillwater in 1868. The Newlands Project and agricultural growth at the turn of the century prompted a final move to Fallon.


Subscribe to Ronald James