The History of Nevada - Dates and Events
1844 Explorer John C. Fremont travels through Western Nevada,
including the future site of Carson City. He names the river flowing through
the valley, the Carson River, after his scout, Kit Carson.
1851 Frank and Joseph Barnard, George Follensbee, Frank and
W.L. Hall, and A.J. Rollins open a trading post at what today is the intersection
of Thompson and Fifth streets. It is called “Eagle Station.”
1854 Admitted as part of Utah Territory.
1858 Abraham Curry, John J. Musser, Franklin Proctor, and
Benjamin F. Green purchase 865 acres in Eagle Valley for $500 and a herd of horses.
The four soon begin laying out a community, which Proctor names Carson City.
1861 Nevada Territory is created and Carson City is designated
the territorial capital.
1864 Nevada gains statehood on October 31 and Carson City
is selected as the state capital. Now a state holiday.
1871 The State Capitol building is completed.
1875 Carson City, Nevada is formally incorporated.
1897 World heavyweight championship fight between James “Gentleman
Jim” Corbett and Australian Robert Fitzsimmons held in Carson City.
1909 The Governor’s Mansion, located on the corner
of Mountain and Caroline Streets, was completed.
1910 The first air flight in Nevada took place in Carson
City on June 23, 1910. A Curtis biplane climbed 50 feet and traveled a distance
of about a half mile in a field about three miles north of Carson City.
1911 A several-mile stretch of Carson Street is surfaced
making it Carson City’s first paved road.
1919 The first trans-Sierra airplane flight landed in Carson
City, Nevada on March 22, 1919. Three DeHavilands and a Curtis trainer landed in a field
three miles east of Carson City. The flyers, who started at Mather Field in Sacramento,
were welcomed by Governor Emmet Boyle, who flew with them on their return flight—making
him the first civilian to cross the Sierra by airplane.
1941 C.B. Austin became the first elected mayor of Carson
1950 The last train of the original Virginia & Truckee
Railroad completes its run from Reno to Minden.
1969 The Nevada State Legislature approved the consolidation
of Ormsby County and Carson City into the state's only combined city-county government.
1971 The 96,000 square-foot State Legislative Building was
completed. It was expanded in 1997.
1986 Great Basin National Park, the only national park
in the state, was created. It includes the area around Wheeler Peak and Lehman
Caves in eastern Nevada.
First Settlement | A friendly debate exists between the towns
of Dayton and Genoa, both near Carson City, and both settled in 1851. Dayton
is the site of the first gold discovery in 1849.
Name | Adopted in 1861 when territory was established; from
Spanish meaning “snow-capped.”
State Capital | Carson City, selected 1864.
State Flag | On a cobalt blue background; in the upper left
quarter is a five-pointed silver star between two sprays of sagebrush crossed
to form a half wreath; across the top of the wreath is a golden scroll with the
words, in black letters, “Battle Born.” The name “Nevada” is
beneath the star in gold letters. Design adopted March 26, 1929, revised in 1991.
State Seal | Adopted February 24, 1886. The seal has the
Great Seal of the State of Nevada” around the outer edge. Within this,
is a composite picture showing the mining, agriculture, industry and scenery
of Nevada, under which is the state motto, “All For Our Country.”
State Animal | The Desert Bighorn (or Nelson) Sheep (Ovis
canadensis nelsoni) is smaller than its Rocky Mountain cousin but has a
wider spread of horns. The bighorn is well-suited for Nevada's mountainous desert
country because it can survive for long periods without water. The large rams
stand about 4-1/2 feet tall and can weigh as much as 175 pounds.
State Artifact | The Tule Duck was created by early Nevadans
almost 2,000 years ago. Discovered by archeologists in 1924 during an excavation
at Lovelock Cave, the 11 decoys are each formed of a bundle of bullrush (tule)
stems, bound together and shaped to resemble a canvasback duck.
State Bird | The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) lives
in the Nevada high country and destroys many harmful insects. It is a member
of the thrush family and its song is a clear, short warble like the caroling
of a robin. The male is azure blue with a white belly, while the female is brown
with a bluish rump, tail, and wings.
Colors | Silver and Blue
State Fish | The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (Salmo clarki
henshawi), a native trout found in 14 of the state's 17 counties, is adapted
to habitats ranging from high mountain creeks and alpine lakes to warm, intermittent
lowland streams and alkaline lakes where no other trout can live.
State Flower | Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) grows
abundantly in the deserts of the Western United States. A member of the wormwood
family, sagebrush is a branching bush (1 to 12 feet high) and grows in regions
where other kinds of vegetation cannot subsist. Known for its pleasant aroma,
its gray-green twigs, and pale yellow flowers, sagebrush is an important winter
food for sheep and cattle.
State Fossil | The Ichthyosaur (Shonisaurus) fossil
was found in Berlin, east of Gabbs. Nevada is the only state to possess a complete
skeleton (approximately 55 feet long) of this extinct marine reptile.
State Grass | Indian Ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides),
once a staple food source for Nevada Indians, now provides valuable feed for
wildlife and range livestock. This tough native grass, which is found throughout
the state, is known for its ability to reseed and establish itself on sites damaged
by fire or over grazing.
State Metal | Silver
State Motto | “All For Our Country”
State Precious Gemstone | Among the many gemstones found
in Nevada, the Virgin Valley Black Fire Opal is one of the most beautiful. The
Virgin Valley in northern Nevada is the only place in North America where the
Black Fire Opal is found in any significant quantity.
State Semi-precious Gemstone | Nevada Turquoise, sometimes
called the “Jewel of the Desert,” is found in many parts of the state.
State Reptile | The Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii),
the largest reptile in the Southwestern United States, lives in the extreme southern
parts of Nevada. Its hard, dome-shaped shell ranges from tan to black in color.
This reptile spends much of its life in underground burrows to escape the harsh
summer heat and winter cold. The desert tortoise can live to be more than 70
State Rock | Sandstone, in its more traditionally recognized
form or as quartzite, is found throughout the state. In areas such as the Valley
of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon Recreational Lands, both near Las Vegas,
it provides some of Nevada’s most spectacular scenery. The State Capitol,
and the former United States Mint, are built of sandstone.
State Song | “Home Means Nevada,” by Mrs. Bertha
Raffetto of Reno, adopted February 6, 1933.
“Home” means Nevada,
“Home” means the hills,
“Home” means the sage and the pines.
Out by the Truckee's silvery rills.
Out where the sun always shines.
There is a land that l love the best, Fairer than all I can see.
Right in the heart of the golden west,
“Home” means Nevada to me.
State Trees | The Single-Leaf Piñon (Pinus monophylla) is
an aromatic pine tree with short, stiff needles and gnarled branches. The tree
grows in coarse, rocky soils and rock crevices. Though its normal height is about
15 feet, the single-leaf piñon can grow as high as 50 feet under ideal
The Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) shares the state tree designation.
The bristlecone pine is the oldest living thing on Earth, with some specimens
in Nevada more than 4,000 years of age. The tree can be found at high elevations.
Normal height for older trees is about 15 to 30 feet, although some have attained
a height of 60 feet. Diameter growth continues throughout the long life of the
tree, resulting in massive trunks with a few contorted limbs.
Did You Know?
• The combined city/county of Carson City is 146.9 square miles.
• The elevation of Carson City is 4,697 feet above sea level.
• Carson City is the only combined city-county government in Nevada.
• The population of Carson City is 56,146 (2004 estimate, State of Nevada
• The tallest point in Carson City limits is Snow Peak in the Sierra Nevada
range, which rises 9,274 feet.
• Carson City’s first newspaper was the Territorial Enterprise,
which had been started in 1858 in Genoa, then moved to Carson City a year later.
In 1860, it moved to Virginia City, where it gained its greatest fame.
• Carson City’s first telephone line was strung in 1888.
• Carson City has an average yearly rainfall of 11.8 inches.
• Carson City has an average of 266 days of sunshine each year.
• The highest recorded temperature in Carson City was 103 degrees, reached
on August 8, 1972.
• The lowest recorded temperature in Carson City was minus 18 degrees, reached
on December 11, 1972.
• Major William Ormsby opened Carson City’s first commercial store
Movies Made in Carson City
Historians believe that the first film shot in Carson City was footage of
the “Gentleman” Jim Corbett vs. Bob Fitzsimmons prizefight in March
1897. During the next century, more than a dozen other movies have been at least
partially filmed in the Capital City, including the following:
- A Little Journey Through Nevada (1918)—Silent movie
documentary includes a tour of historic sites in Carson City. The movie was made
to promote Reno and Northern Nevada.
- Desperate Trails (1921)—Silent movie about an innocent
convict who seeks revenge on those who sent him to jail starred Harry Carey.
Exteriors of the Nevada State Prison appeared in the film.
- Pioneer Days of the West (1921)—Documentary about
Northern Nevada included a historic tour of Virginia City and Carson City with
a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
- The Remarkable Andrew (1942)—Comedy about an accountant
accused of embezzling who is aided by the ghost of Andrew Jackson starred William
Holden. Filming took place in the Laxalt Building (Old Federal Building), the
Rinckle House at 102 Curry St., and many other Carson City homes and businesses.
- Chicken Every Sunday (1949)—This comedy about a woman
looking back on her 20 years of marriage to an inept but loveable husband starred
Celeste Holm and Dan Dailey. The south entrance to the State Capitol was used
in the film.
- Roar of the Iron Horse (1950)—Western about sabotage
during the construction of a rail line through the west starred Jock Mahoney.
The Virginia and Truckee Railroad’s routes in Carson City and Brunswick
Canyon appeared in the movie.
- State Penitentiary (1950)—Drama about a businessman
mistakingly accused of embezzling starred Warner Baxter. Filmed at the Nevada
- Train to Tombstone (1950)—Western about a train robbery
starred Don Barry and Robert Lowery. The Virginia and Truckee Railroad line in
Carson City was used during filming.
- Deathwatch (1966)—Historical film about a 1930s French
prison starred Leonard Nimoy. The Nevada State Prison doubled as the French prison.
- A Howling in the Woods (1971)—This made-for-television
mystery about a woman haunted by strange noises was filmed in Genoa, Dayton,
Glenbrook, and Carson City and starred Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.
- The Shootist (1976)—Classic western that was John
Wayne’s last movie was filmed in Carson City’s historic district.
- Flesh and Blood (1979)—Film about an ex-con who becomes
a professional boxer starred Tom Berenger. Exteriors of the Nevada State Prison
were used in the movie.
- Honkytonk Man (1982)—This drama about an aging country
singer dying of TB starred Clint Eastwood and his son, Kyle. The Brewery Arts
Center was transformed into a nightclub for the film.
- An Innocent Man (1989)—This drama about an innocent
man framed by corrupt cops who seeks revenue when he is paroled from prison starred
Tom Selleck. The Nevada State Prison was used extensively in the filming.
- Pink Cadillac (1989)—This action/comedy about a good-hearted
bounty hunter starred Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters. Fuji Park in Carson
City was used for some of the filming.
- Misery (1990)—This horror film about an obsessed fan
that kidnaps a famous writer starred James Caan and Kathy Bates. Portions of
the picture were filmed on Old U.S. 50 (Clear Creek Road) in Carson City.
- Sworn to Vengeance (1993)—Drama about a policeman
seeking vengeance for the murder of three teens starred Robert Conrad. Parts
of the movie were filmed at the State Capitol and other sites in Carson City.
- Cobb (1994)—This biopic about Baseball Hall of Famer
Ty Cobb, who once lived at Lake Tahoe, starred Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Wuhl.
- Showgirls (1995)—Drama about an ambitious exotic dancer
determined to succeed as a Las Vegas showgirl starred Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle
MacLachlan. Several scenes were filmed in Carson City.
- Trail of Tears (1995)—Drama about two women seeking
the return of their kidnapped children starred Katy Sagal and Pam Dawber. Much
of the film was shot in Northern Nevada including Carson City.