Nye Group

58 Old Boundary (Nevada’s Southern Boundary 1861-1867)

on U.S. Highway 95, six miles north of Beatty, Nevada

The 37th degree north latitude is marked at this point as the dividing line between the territories of Utah and New Mexico under the provisions of the compromise of 1850 which originally organized the land ceded by Mexico in 1848.

When the territory of Nevada was carved from western Utah in 1861, this line became the southern boundary of the new territory and continued to serve as such when the territory and state were enlarged by extensions to the east in 1862 and 1866 respectively.

In 1867, the Nevada legislature approved the action of Congress to add that portion of the territory of Arizona which lay to the south of this line, west of the 114 west longitude and the Colorado River, and to the east of the boundary of California. This action taken on January 18, 1867, gave to the state of Nevada the permanent boundaries as they are today.

42 Big Smoky Valley

on State Route 376 at Carver’s Rest Area

Named for its hazy distances, this valley has witnessed a parade of famous men and stirring events. The valley and its bordering Toiyabe and Toquima ranges are Shoshone territory.

Jedediah Smith, intrepid trapper and trail-blazer, was the first European American in the area, crossing the valley’s southern end from the west in 1827. In 1845, John C. Frémont passed through the valley, accompanied by such figures of the American West as Kit Carson and Basil LaJeunesse.

In 1859, Captain James Simpson located the “central route” across the valley’s northern end. Thus began the historic decade 1859-1869, which saw Chorpenning’s Jackass Mail, the Pony Express, the Overland Telegraph, and the Concord Coaches of the Overland Mail and Stage Co. crossing the valley.

Silver strikes at Austin (1862-1863) initiated the valley’s first mining boom. Numerous bustling mining camps sprang up, including Bunker Hill, Kingston, Geneva, Santa Fe, Ophir Canyon, and Jefferson.

Following the 1900 Tonopah silver strike, mining surged again. Two new towns, Manhattan and Round Mountain, started with a brief revival of many earlier camps.

15 Tonopah

on U.S. Highway 95 in Tonopah, Nevada

Jim Butler, District Attorney of Nye County, is credited with the turn-of-century discovery, which ended a twenty-year slump in Nevada’s economy. American Indians originally used the name Tonopah for a small spring in the nearby San Antonio Mountains, long before Butler camped in this area in May 1900. Tonopah became the richest silver producer in the nation and replaced Belmont as the Nye County county seat in 1905. The mines spawned a railroad, several huge mills, and a bustling population of approximately 10,000.

The mines faltered in the 1920s, but Tonopah achieved long-lasting fame because of the prominent financial and political leaders it produced. Many camps and communities followed in the wake of Tonopah’s boom, most of which have become ghost towns.