Politics and Government

Patrick Anthony McCarran

Patrick Anthony McCarran was a notable United States senator who was active in Nevada's political life for over a half century. He was born in Reno on August 8, 1876, the son of Irish immigrants. When he was two, his parents moved to a sheep ranch bordering the Truckee River some fourteen miles east of Reno. Because of the ranch's isolation he was unable to start his schooling until the age of ten when he could ride horseback to school. He was always four years older than anyone else in his class.

Patrick A. McCarran and National Issues

United States Senator Patrick McCarran represented the least populated state in the Union from 1933 to 1954. Despite Nevada's small size, McCarran was determined to make a significant mark for himself by expressing an opinion on major national and international issues. During his senatorial career, he had a considerable impact on the formation of many diverse issues affecting American policy.

Ormsby County Courthouse

Carson City has served simultaneously as the county seat of Ormsby County, and the state capital. The county was established in 1861, and named after Major William M. Ormsby, who is known for his prominent role in the Pyramid Lake War. In 1862, commissioners purchased the Great Basin Hotel from Abraham Curry for $42,500 to use as the county courthouse. Despite criticism from locals about its lack of monumental appearance, the courthouse remained in use for almost sixty years.

Nye County Courthouse

Organized in 1864, Nye County was named in honor of Nevada Territory's governor, and first senator, James Warren Nye. Originally the seat of government was situated in Ione, but the state legislature moved it to Belmont in 1867. The county did not approve plans for a permanent courthouse until 1875, when commissioners accepted the design of J. K. Winchell.

None of These Candidates

In 1975, Nevada launched an innovation in elections when it became the first state to offer a "none of these candidates" line on the ballot, popularly known as "none of the above." Assemblyman Don Mello of Washoe County sponsored the legislation to create the ballot option. As it was approved, it was nonbinding, and it carefully excluded legislative candidates by applying only to statewide races.

Newton Crumley Jr.

Newton Crumley, Jr., is known as the innovator who brought big name entertainment to Nevada long before he wielded power at the state legislature. Born in 1911, Crumley was the son of a hotelier of the same name who owned hotels in Goldfield, Jarbidge, and Elko. The younger Newton also entered the hotel business in Elko at the Commercial Hotel and the Ranch Inn.

Nevada Statehood

The first push to make Nevada Territory a state originated from within the territory, without prior authorization from Congress. On September 2, 1863 the voters of the territory approved of the concept of statehood by the overwhelming margin of 6,660 votes to only 1,502. To implement this, on November 2, 1863, thirty-nine delegates met to draft a state constitution. Since the great majority of the delegates had come to Nevada by way of California, they used the California state constitution as a first draft in formulating their own document.

Nevada State Treasurers

The Nevada Constitution provides for six elected offices, including the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, controller, and treasurer. The treasurer is elected statewide for a four-year term and is an integral part of the checks and balances in the state's accounting system. As custodian of the state's money, he or she is responsible for banking the money and investing the "idle cash," or the money that does not have to be spent that day on the state's behalf.

Nevada State Government: An Overview

On March 2, 1861, United States President James Buchanan signed into law a bill passed earlier by Congress to establish the Territory of Nevada from a portion of the Utah Territory. Carson City was selected to be the seat of government of the new territory and has served as Nevada's state capital ever since.

Nevada was rushed into statehood earlier than other states because of issues involving the Civil War and the commitment of President Abraham Lincoln to preserve the union. On October 31, 1864, Lincoln signed the act to make Nevada the thirty-sixth state.

Nevada State Capitol Building

Construction on the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City began on April 21, 1870. Joseph Gosling, formerly a carpenter working in Virginia City, submitted the plans from his new home in San Francisco. Irish-born Peter Cavanaugh served as general contractor, supervising the work of prisoners who quarried the sandstone and Scottish masons who worked on site. The building cost was nearly double the original bid of $84,000. Furnishings added $20,000.


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