Community and Society

Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain owes its early existence to railroads and mining. When the Central Pacific Railroad came to the area in 1868, it encountered a loose community of mining camps inspired by the boomtown of Austin, ninety miles to the south. Mining activity increased with the coming of the railroad, and a post office was established in 1870.

Western Air Express

The first and, for many years, the largest commercial airline to serve Las Vegas, Western Air Express was instrumental in putting Las Vegas on the commercial airlines map. Las Vegas had the good fortune to lie on a natural air route between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

In 1925, the federal Kelly Act spurred the growth of U.S. air travel by creating a national network of airmail routes to be operated by private couriers.

Western Folklife Center

In 1980, the Utah Folklife Center, under the direction of Utah State Folk Arts Coordinator Hal Cannon, expanded its focus beyond the Beehive State's borders and became the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. Cannon remains the Founding Director. The Western Folklife Center's mission is to study, preserve, and perpetuate the rural culture of the West.

White River Narrows

The White River Narrows Archeological District, approximately 90 miles south of Ely, Nevada, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The area is especially scenic because of its rhyolite cliffs on which much of the Archaeological District's rock art is situated.


In 1860, the discovery of gold and silver about eighty miles southeast of Virginia City led to the creation of the boomtown Aurora. E. R. Hicks, J. M. Corey, and James Braley made the find while on a hunting and prospecting expedition. On August 30, 1860, they established the Esmeralda Mining District. A town site quickly emerged, and was later named Aurora after the Roman goddess of the dawn.

Will Bruder

The architect for the 2003 Nevada Museum of Art building in Reno is Phoenix-based Will Bruder.

Will James

Artist and author Will James is beloved by readers for his life-like drawings and illustrated stories of horses in the American West and the cowboys who work them. His books are comprised of story and essay collections, novels, an autobiography, and children's books. All depict aspects of the cowboy life, including detailed descriptions of the people, places, animals, equipment, and work involved in cattle operations.


Artown is an annual monthlong festival of the arts held in Reno every July. The celebration includes hundreds of performances of music, dance, and theater, visual arts exhibitions, films, and activities for children and families. The Artown organization, a nonprofit entity, books most of the larger national touring acts, but over 90 percent of the presenters are local organizations using local artists.

Will James: The Artist

Will James lived like a character in one of his own novels. The Canadian-born cowboy, writer, and artist came to Nevada in 1914. Soon after, he got caught in a rustling scheme and spent time in prison; he used the solitude of jail to sharpen his skills at drawing scenes depicting life on the ranch.

William Nellis

Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico, in 1916, William H. Nellis moved to the town of Searchlight as a child. His father was a miner, and his grandmother ran a boarding house. He moved to Las Vegas as a teenager, attending Las Vegas High School. Later he went to work for the railroad, as many local boys did in the years before World War II.


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