Douglas County

Birthplace of Nevada

The Markers Statistics

Let us head west onto the foot of the mighty mountains and set the stage a few miles west of Minden. Rather than fortunes found from gold, it was farming that kickstarted this old girl named "Nevada," Mormon farmers who migrated a long way west from Salt Lake City. During 1850, Mormon followers, once seeking the guidance of a determined Brigham Young sought a refuge away from the Mormon Temple and with it, a new beginning in an undiscovered region of Utah. In 1851 they founded "Mormon's Station," a true haven nestled at the foot of the Carson Range and seemingly worlds away from Mormon doctrine. The community soon became a trading post for passers-by when a hotel was built just south of town far from the confines of Mormon rule. The settlers chose the name Genoa, in honor of a city in Italy -- a location that could have very well been the envy of Utah itself thanks to the runoff from the well-watered Carson Range.

Genoa has refused to change much in the past 160 years. Although Genoa claims to be "Nevada's Oldest Settlement," the debate for the "oldest community" sparks some notoriety with nearby Dayton, some thirty miles to the east. Many historians believe Dayton is Nevada's earliest settlement. The earliest permanent residents settled at the mouth of Gold Canyon from the spring of 1851 at least two weeks earlier than Mormon Station, even though "Day-Town" was more or less a conglomeration of tents and makeshift shelters. This competes with Genoa's brick and wooden structures along its well-defined main street. The debate is so touch-and-go that even life-long Nevadans cannot quite settle on an answer. So then the question should not lie in which town is older, but rather ... "What should define a true community?" Should a community be based solely as structures built from wood or stone, or can the definition be loosened by adding in a town comprised of pitched canvas tents? Heads: a green, bucolic farming community or tails: a dusty, gold mining outpost along the Carson River? Whatever the case, why not battle it inside Nevada's oldest watering hole. The Genoa Bar has been serving drinks since 1851. Why waste any more time? Bottoms up.

The Markers
Prepare for some great hunting here in Douglas County. Although most of the markers here are found in Carson Valley, we invite you to begin your journey in Genoa, "Nevada's Oldest Community." Although the Preservation Office failed to erect a single historic marker here history is nevertheless interwoven into the town's fabric. Start at the Genoa Park and take an hour's stroll past the Masonic Lodge, the Genoa Bar, the original county courthouse, or even a pleasant walk through the cemetery for sweet reminders of days not quite past. By tackling Genoa first, you can work south along SR 206 to conquer the half-dozen or so historic markers along the base of the mountains. From here, consider circling back to Gardnerville for the main Carson Valley markers, or turn west up (SR 207) - the Kingsbury Grade for conquering of Douglas's mountain markers. After stopping in Stateline for a break or two three more markers await conquering along the east shore of Lake Tahoe. US 50 makes a swift turn eastward at Glenbrook to head over the summit and back down onto the valley floor in Carson City. Here's to decision making!

Markers of Douglas County

Perhaps more interesting than the conquering of the markers here is the blessed variety given to marker hunters! Half of the markers here in Douglas focus on some of the state's oldest and earliest settlements particularly in Carson Valley. Others outline tests of trial and patience and early lawlessness in an unsettled land. Even these mountains are rich in history such as ... a timber industry to feed another hungry industry, and the importance of one particular mountain pass. Such is the spice of life in the every day ramblings of a marker hunter in Douglas County.

[12] -- Nevada's Birthplace

39.00384, -119.76043

Carson Valley is the birthplace of Nevada. In 1850 a first settlement was made at Mormon Station, renamed Genoa in 1856."

[12] -- Nevada's Birthplace (Replacement)

38.996183, -119.779777

"Carson Valley is the birthplace of Nevada. In 1850 a first settlement was made at Mormon Station, renamed Genoa in 1856"

[117] -- Kingsbury Grade

38.96549, -119.83961

"Dagget Pass Trail, named for C.D. Dagget, who acquired land at its foot in 1854, was earlier called Georgetown Trail."

[118] -- Luther Canyon (Fay Canyon)

39.16723, -119.77209

  Superlative: Westernmost in Nevada

"After 1865, the canyon came to be known as Horse Thief Canyon ..."

[120] -- Walley's Hot Springs

38.98072, -119.83349

"In 1862, along this Carson branch of the Emigrant Trail, David and Harriet Walley developed a $100,000 spa ..."

[121] -- Mottsville

39.16001, -119.76439

"Their homestead was the scene of an impressive number of firsts in Carson County, Utah Territory."

[122] -- Sheridan

38.90127, -119.8259

"In 1861, a blacksmith shop, a store, a boarding house, and two saloons comprised the village of Sheridan."

[123] -- Cradlebaugh Bridge

39.04626, -119.78027 Missing

"The remains of Cradlebraugh Bridge stand 1/4 mile westward. This bridge shortened the distance from Carson City to Aurora."

[124] -- Boyd Toll Road

38.98838, -119.77917

"William H. Boyd was granted a Utah Territory Franchise December 19, 1861, to provide a road to join Genoa to the Cradlebaugh Toll Road."

[125] -- Twelve Mile House

38.90562, -119.70672 Missing

"Twelve Mile House was an important stop on the road to the Esmeralda mining camp of Aurora."

[126] -- Double Springs

38.79409, -119.59965

"This was also the place where the Washo Indian tribe, assisted by their neighbors, the Paiutes, held round dances in the spring ..."

[129] -- Gardnerville

38.94075, -119.74884

"Starting in 1898, Spanish and French Basque shepherds tended some 13,000 sheep in Carson Valley, increasing to 25,000 by 1925."

[130] -- Minden

38.95275, -119.76188

"Minden, the seat of Douglas County since 1916, was named for a town in Westphalia, Germany."

[131] -- Dresslerville

38.90415, -119.70593

"In 1917 State Senator William F. Dressler gave this 40-acre tract to Washo Indians, then living on ranches in Carson Valley."

[207] -- Carson Valley

38.97431, -119.87599

"... Settlers extended the natural meadows by irrigation to provide hay, meat and butter for the miners in Virginia City and neighboring towns."

[219] -- Glenbrook

39.0811, -119.94264

"Timber depletion had taken 750,000,000 board feet of lumber and 500,000 cords of wood from Tahoe Basin forests during its lifetime."

[225] -- Spooner Area (Logging and Lumber Period: 1868-1895)

39.10642, -119.91878

"This area bears the name of Michele E. Spooner ... instrumental in establishing the wood and lumber industry which supplied the needs of the Comstock mines."

[226] -- Cave Rock

39.04419, -119.94872 Missing

"Romanticized in Indian lore as a sacred place, Cave Rock is the subject of many legends."

[261] -- Spooner Summit

39.10435, -119.89571

"Spooner Summit is in the midst of a former logging landscape. In 1873, logging in the area was consolidated by the Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Company."