Nevada is rich in historic sites and landmarks. Scattered across the state are gold and silver mining ghost towns, pony express ranches, Indian dwellings, forts, saloons, railroad depots and historic buildings. Take a break from the casino and head out into the desert. Nevada’s historic sites are just as remarkable as the modern monuments of Las Vegas.
Beehive-shaped historic charcoal ovens located in North East Nevada. The ovens are made of stone that was quarried from the nearby hills and stand nearly 30 feet high. Charcoal was only made here for a few years. After silver smelters were shut down in nearby Ward there was no need for the charcoal and the ovens were abandoned. Through the years, the beehive ovens have been used as a hideout for stagecoach bandits and a shelter for stockmen and prospectors.
Ely has a long history of rail dating back to the early 1900s. Both freight and passenger trains served the area. Like many other areas, rail service declined and finally petered out. A typical visit to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum includes exploring the grounds of the museum and checking out the shops and taking and taking a ride on a historic steam train.
Fort Churchill Nevada was built in to provide protection to the early settlers. Construction on the fort began in July 1860 and was completed the following year. Fort Churchill was a supply depot for the Union Army during the American Civil War with as many as 200 soldiers stationed at the fort. Fort Churchill State Historic Park is located at 1000 Highway 95A Silver Springs, Nevada. Fort Churchill is 50 miles North East of Carson City NV.
The town of Rhyolite began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. During an ensuing gold rush, thousands of gold seekers flocked to the Bullfrog Mining District. The Rhyolite historic townsite is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and is “one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West”.
Only a short drive from Las Vegas. Goodsprings Nevada was once a bustling gold mining town 25 miles southwest of Las Vegas. Today the main attraction is the Pioneer Saloon the last remaining bar of a town that had seven during the booming mining days. There are several other historic sites in town, however, most of them are on private property.
The nation’s largest Historic Landmark. At its peak, Virginia City had gold in every hill and the men who came from everywhere made their homes in the shadow of Sun Mountain. Mark Twain served as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise and began his career in the town.
The reconstructed pueblo on the grounds of the museum is designed to look like the original pueblo that was situated here hundreds of years ago. In 1935, the waters of the newly formed Lake Mead were slowing covering up the ruins of the Indian pueblos and a team of archaeologists set out to save the artifacts. The Lost City Museum was built to preserve the remains of this great civilization which once inhabited the valley.
Mormon Station State Park is located in Genoa, Nevada. The township was founded in 1850 as the first settlement of the Nevada Territory. First settled by Mormon pioneers, the area acted as a trading post called Mormon Station for travelers on the California trail. Genoa Bar, still open today, was patronized by Teddy Roosevelt and Johnny Cash and was used in John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies.
Remains of a 1870s silver mining boomtown. Although the silver mining town of Belmont only prospered for about 20 years there are still a few notable points of interest including the best-preserved building, the courthouse. At one time this high desert town had two saloons, restaurants, a post office, bank, school and had enough residents to support two newspaper
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
Ghost towns and million-year-old fossils. The state park is divided into three main sections. A ghost town, fossil quarry, and campground. Each about mile apart, and can be visited by car or by hiking trails, which offer picturesque shortcuts. Near the park entrance is the site of Berlin and the Berlin Mill, complete with restored buildings and original artifacts, and a self-guided walking trail.
Eldorado Canyon in Southern Nevada was a rough and tumble place in the mid-1880s. At least 12 mining camps were established in the canyon. The mining era lasted about 30 years. Some prospectors found gold. Many found nothing. Today most visitors to Eldorado Canyon come to take the Techatticup Mine Tour, take a cool dip in Lake Mojave or jump off cliffs. Eldorado Canyon is an easy day trip from Las Vegas that can be made in about one hour.
Bonnie Springs Ranch started out as a stopover for the wagon trains traveling the Old Spanish Trail to California. Since the 1950s, the ranch has been used as a roadside tourist attraction. Bonnie Springs Ranch will remind you of the Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm except this town is located in the middle of Red Rock Canyon and the burros and cowboys are real not statues.
Two thousand people once thronged the streets, which provided the usual saloons, hotels, and stores. Over $1’000’000 in gold and silver was extracted from the mines. Today the population is only about a dozen folks but does reach as high as 400 for special events, such as the Memorial Day Weekend Chili Cook-Off or the annual Day after Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.
Stokes Castle in Austin Nevada is actually a tower built out of huge granite rock blocks. The Castle was built by mining baron Anson Phelps Stokes in 1986. Designed as a summer residence the castle was only used for a few months. Soon after completion of the tower Anson Stokes sold the nearby mine along the surrounding property and the castle.
Thunder Mountain Monument is the creation of by Frank Van Zant AKA Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder. The chief used objects he found at a nearby junkyard or picked up discarded objects along the highway to create his monument in the desert. Thunder Mountain is designated a Nevada State Historic Site and a National Monument and is an interesting side trip while traveling along Interstate 80 in Nevada.
Caliente Railroad Depot
Caliente Railroad Depot is located in southeastern Nevada. Freight trains still pass by the historic mission style station but since Amtrak pulled out years ago there is no more passenger service. There is a small box car museum next to the station. Caliente was at one time a Union Pacific hub. Its location halfway between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City made it an ideal stopover for trains. Union Pacific had a roundhouse and repair facilities for steam locomotives at the east edge town. When steam locomotives were replaced with diesel in the 1940’s operations moved to Las Vegas.
Tonopah Mining Park
Tonopah Queen of the Silver Camps is home to the Tonopah Mining Museum. The 100-acre mining park and museum is dedicated to preserving Nevada’s rich mining history. Visitors are free to roam around and explore the many historic buildings and artifacts. An underground tunnel has been restored where you can look down the shaft into the richest mine in the Tonopah District. The park also contains the last remaining structure, a trestle, from the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad. Tonopah Historic Mining Park 110 Burro Ave, Tonopah, NV 89049