Markers Found Along US 50

61 Mound House

on U.S. Highway 50 six miles east of Carson City, Nevada

Mound House was located one-half mile north of this point. Originally constructed in 1871 as a station and siding on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, it served for some time simply as a wood and water stop. In 1877, a post office was established. Mound House came into its own in 1880, when the V & T began construction of a narrow-gauge railroad from here to the mining camps of western Nevada and the Owens Valley region of California. Named the Carson & Colorado, it turned Mound House into a booming shipping point.

The Southern Pacific Railroad purchased the C & C from the V & T in 1900, just prior to the Tonopah silver strike. In 1905, the Southern Pacific built a short line from its new station at Hazen, on the main line, to intersect the C & C at Fort Churchill. The Hazen cutoff took most of the booming Tonopah-Goldfield business away from the V & T.

From 1900 to 1920, extensive gypsum mining and milling operations, to produce plaster, were carried on immediately northwest of Mound House.

The narrow-gauge line was abandoned from Mound House to Fort Churchill in 1934 and the V & T track from Carson City to Virginia City in 1938. Within a few years, Mound House had disappeared.

59 Stokes Castle

at Stokes Castle, one mile west of Austin, Nevada

Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family, built Stokes Castle as a summer home for his sons. After the castle (or the tower, as the Stokes family always referred to it) was completed, in June 1867, the Stokes family used it for two months. Since then, with one possible exception, the structure has remained unoccupied.

Stokes castle is made of granite. The huge stones, raised with a hand winch and held in position by rock wedging and clay mortar. The architectural model for the castle was a medieval tower Anson Stokes had seen and admired near Rome. This building originally had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass view windows, balconies on the second and third floors, and a battlemented terrace on the roof. It had plumbing and sumptuously furnishings.

The structure stands as an abiding monument to the men who built it and to those who helped develop Austin.

53 Hamilton

on U.S. Highway 50, thirty-sevem miles west of Ely

The mines of the White Pine district were first established in 1865. Between 1868 and 1875, they supported many thriving towns including Hamilton, Eberhardt, Treasure City, and Shermantown. These communities, now all ghost towns, are clustered eleven miles south of this point.

Hamilton and its neighbors thrived as a result of large-scale silver discoveries in 1868. Experiencing one of the most intense, but shortest-lived silver stampedes ever recorded, the years 1868-1869 saw some 10,000 people living in huts and caves on Treasure Hill at Mount Hamilton, at an elevation of 8,000 to 10,500 feet above sea level.

Hamilton was incorporated in 1869 and became the first county seat of White Pine County that same year. It was disincorporated in 1875. In this brief span of time, a full-sized town came into bloom with a main street and all the usual businesses. A fine brick courthouse was constructed in 1870.

On June 27, 1873, the main portion of the town was destroyed by fire. The town never fully recovered. In 1885, another fire burned the courthouse and caused the removal of the White Pine County seat to Ely.

44 Carson City

on the Capitol Grounds in downtown Carson City

In 1851, Frank and Warren L. Hall, George Follensbee, Joe and Frank Barnard and A.J. Rollins established one of the state’s oldest communities, Eagle Station, a trading post and ranch on the Carson Branch of the California Emigrant Trail. The station and surrounding valley took their name from an eagle skin stretched on the wall of the trading post.

In 1858, Abraham Curry purchased much of the Eagle Ranch after finding that lots in Genoa were too expensive. Together with his friends, Jon Musser, Frank Proctor and Ben Green, Curry platted a town he called Carson City. Curry left a plaza in the center of the planned community for a capitol building should a territorial state seat of government eventually be located in his town.

In March 1861, Congress created the Nevada Territory. Seven months later in November, Carson City became the capital of the territory due to the efforts of Curry and William M. Stewart, a prominent lawyer. When Nevada became a state three years later, Carson City was selected as the state capital, and by 1871, the present capitol building was completed in the plaza Curry had reserved for it.

25 Nevada’s Capital

at 101 North Carson Street, Carson City

Completed in 1871, Nevada’s splendid Victorian-era Capitol was built of sandstone from the quarry of the town’s founder, Abe Curry. The octagon annex was added in 1907, the north and south wings in 1915. Notable features are its Alaskan marble walls, French crystal windows, and elegant interior.

19 Ragtown

along U.S. Highway 95 Alternate, one mile east of junction with U.S. Highway 50

Ragtown was never a town. Instead, it was the name of a most welcome oasis and gathering point. This mecca on the banks of nearby Carson River received its name from the appearance of pioneer laundry spread on every handy bush around.

The Forty Mile Desert, immediately to the north, was the most dreaded portion of the California Emigrant Trail. Ragtown was the first water stop after the desert. To the thirst- crazed emigrants and their animals, no sight was more welcome than the trees lining the Carson River.

Accounts tell of the moment when the animals first picked up the scent of water—the lifted head, the quickened pace, and finally the mad, frenzied dash to the water’s edge. Then, emigrants rested for the arduous crossing of the Sierra Nevada that lay ahead.

In 1854, Asa Kenyon located a trading post near Ragtown, offering goods and supplies to travelers during the 1850s and 1860s. Ragtown was one of the most important sites on the Carson branch of the California trail.

11 Eureka

“Eureka!” a miner is said to have exclaimed in September 1864 when he discovered rich ore here – and thus the town was named. Eureka soon developed the first important lead-silver deposits in the nation, and during the furious boom of the 1880s, it had 16 smelters, over 100 saloons, a population of 10,000 and a railroad – the colorful Eureka and Palisade – that connected with the transcontinental line 90 miles to the north.

Production began to fall off in 1883, and by 1891, the smelters closed, their sites marked by the huge slag piles at both ends of Main Street.

10 Sand Mountain

along U.S. Highway 50, twenty miles east of Fallon, Nevada

Sand Mountain dominates the Salt Wells Basin and is visible from Mt. Rose peak in the Carson Range 82 miles to the west. The dune is important to off highway vehicle enthusiasts, biologists, Native Americans, and geologists. Sand Mountain is a sinuous transverse dune derived from Ice Age Lake Lahontan beach sands piled here by southwesterly-trending winds. The dune is the Stillwater Northern Paiutes’ Panitogogwa, a giant rattlesnake traveling to the northeast with the wind to its back. The snake can be heard as it moves toward its hole, a phenomenon geologists associate with “singing” sand dunes. The Sand Mountain blue butterfly is only found here where it is depends on the Kearney buckwheat plant. The dunes clearly marked the location of nearby Sand Springs, improved and mapped in 1859 as a potential emigrant stop by Army Lieutenant James H. Simpson. Sand Springs later served as the location of the Sand Springs Pony Express Station in 1860 and the terminus of the 1866 Fort Churchill and Sand Springs Toll Road.

9 Copper Country

on U.S. Highway 50 west of Ely

The famed open-pit copper mines of eastern Nevada, including the Liberty Pit, largest in the state, are located two miles south of this point. Through the first half of the twentieth century, this area produced nearly a billion dollars in copper, gold, and silver. The huge mounds visible from here are waste rock, which was removed to uncover the ore.

Two miles east of here, near Lane City, was the Elijah, the first mine discovered in the Robinson Mining District. Lane City, originally called Mineral City, was settled in 1869 and had a population of 400. At Mineral City was the Ragsdale Station, one hotel, and a stage station.