Community and Society


When the first Euro-Americans passed through in the 1840s, Washoe and Paiute peoples inhabited the land along the Truckee River.


Along U.S. Highway 50 west of Fallon, a historical marker designates the site of old Ragtown/Leeteville. Although neither survives today, they were of paramount importance to early-day Nevada travelers. At the end of America's westward push, Ragtown was little more than a seasonal tent city, born each spring and torn down each fall by enterprising men hoping to profit from the transcontinental wagon-train trade. California-bound emigrants, weary from their crossing of the dreaded Forty-Mile Desert, found their first water, grass, shade, and rest along the banks of the Carson River.

Preston and Lund

Preston and Lund are small communities in southwestern White Pine County established by Latter-day Saints in 1897 and 1898, respectively. Situated west of the Egan Range in the White River Valley, they are relatively isolated from other communities in White Pine, Lincoln, and Nye counties. Ranching and livestock raising have been the traditional economic activities. 


Pioche, the county seat of Lincoln County, is a twice-active, now-dormant mining camp near the Highland Range of eastern Nevada. Located about one hundred and seventy-five miles north of Las Vegas near the Utah border, it is one of the Silver State's more remote communities.


Founded in 1864, the town of Panaca in Meadow Valley, Lincoln County, is the oldest Anglo-American community in eastern Nevada. Latter-day Saints laid out the town in the grid pattern of a typical Mormon frontier settlement in Utah. A large artesian spring emerges at the north end of the town, supplying a generous quantity of water. As Panaca was dedicated to farming and community cooperation, the irrigation ditches ran parallel to the wide, poplar-lined streets.


Located in northeastern Nevada near the Idaho border, Owyhee slowly emerged after the establishment of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in 1877. The town got its name from the Owyhee River, which flows through the reservation. Original housing was made of sagebrush and willow structures called wikiups, but permanent structures eventually followed. A small school was erected in 1881.

Nevada Magazine

In January 1936, Nevada Highways and Parks—known today as Nevada Magazine—was introduced by the state highway department. The Silver State was hardly the tourist magnet it is now. Legalized gambling in Nevada was five years old, the population of Las Vegas was less than 8,000, and Hoover Dam was less than a year old. State highway publicist and Nevada Highways and Parks editor Fred Greulich wrote a majority of the articles and collected photos that promoted Nevada's open roads—albeit in black and white.

Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical Overview

In many ways, the Mormon Church is similar to other Protestant denominations world-wide. The church does not support a professional clergy, it encourages members to read and interpret the Bible, and it promotes establishing a personal relationship with God. Yet in other respects, Mormonism is uniquely American. It proclaims the United States as the Promised Land, Utah as the new Zion, and calls for devotion to a sacred text of American prehistory. Among American-born religions, this last characteristic stands out.

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.


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