In the interest of being organized and not cluttering up things too badly, multiple events on one day will be on one thread.
Today, after a couple of appearances in California, our very own Very Special Genius heads to the state capitol of Nevada.
The Washoe people have inhabited the valley and surrounding areas for about 6,000 years.
The first European Americans to arrive in what is now known as Eagle Valley were John C. Frémont and his exploration party in January 1843. Fremont named the river flowing through the valley Carson River in honor of Kit Carson, the mountain man and scout he had hired for his expedition. Later, settlers named the area Washoe in reference to the indigenous people.
By 1851 the Eagle Station ranch along the Carson River was a trading post and stopover for travelers on the California Trail’s Carson Branch which ran through Eagle Valley. The valley and trading post received their name from a bald eagle that was hunted and killed by one of the early settlers and was featured on a wall inside the post.
As the area was part of the Utah Territory, it was governed from Salt Lake City, where the territorial government was headquartered. Early settlers bristled at the control by Mormon-influenced officials and desired the creation of the Nevada territory. A vigilante group of influential settlers, headed by Abraham Curry, sought a site for a capital city for the envisioned territory. In 1858, Abraham Curry bought Eagle Station and the settlement was thereafter renamed Carson City. Curry and several other partners had Eagle Valley surveyed for development. Curry decided Carson City would someday serve as the capital city and left a 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot in the center of town for a capitol building.
After gold and silver were discovered in 1859 on nearby Comstock Lode, Carson City’s population began to grow. Curry built the Warm Springs Hotel a mile to the east of the city center. When territorial governor James W. Nye traveled to Nevada, he chose Carson City as the territorial capital, influenced by Carson City lawyer William Stewart, who escorted him from San Francisco to Nevada. As such, Carson City bested Virginia City and American Flat. Curry loaned the Warm Springs Hotel to the territorial Legislature as a meeting hall. The Legislature named Carson City to be the seat of Ormsby County and selected the hotel as the territorial prison with Curry serving as its first warden. Today the property is still part of the state prison.
When Nevada became a state in 1864 during the American Civil War, Carson City was confirmed as Nevada’s permanent capital. Carson City’s development was no longer dependent on the mining industry and instead became a thriving commercial center. The Virginia and Truckee Railroad was built between Virginia City and Carson City. A log flume was also built from the Sierra Nevadas into Carson City. The current capitol building was constructed from 1870 to 1871. The United States Mint operated the Carson City Mint between the years 1870 and 1893, which struck gold and silver coins. People came from China during that time, many to work on the railroad. Some of them owned businesses and taught school. By 1880, almost a thousand Chinese people, “one for every five Caucasians”, lived in Carson City.
Carson City’s population and transportation traffic decreased when the Central Pacific Railroad built a line through Donner Pass, too far to the north to benefit Carson City. The city was slightly revitalized with the mining booms in Tonopah and Goldfield. The US federal building (now renamed the Paul Laxalt Building) was completed in 1890 as was the Stewart Indian School. Even these developments could not prevent the city’s population from dropping to just over 1,500 people by 1930. Carson City resigned itself to small city status, advertising itself as “America’s smallest capital”. The city slowly grew after World War II; by 1960 it had reached its 1880 boom-time population.
I’ll add live links to this post during the late afternoon as they become available.
In the meantime, please post tweets and videos below of what’s going on in Nevada, and any travel stories you may have.