Markers Found Along SR 376

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.