Eureka County

"We Have Found It!"

The Markers Statistics Related Links

"It" was a rich ore comprising mainly of lead - more lead than anybody knew what to do with. Five men from nearby Austin discovered it on nearby Prospect Peak in 1864 and from there a boom was slow and steady. Men fled from the dwindling ore in nearby Lander and set up camp on the hillsides of Eureka Canyon. Most were unsure of what treasures lay beneath the surface, but within a month all uncertainty disappeared. The men christened the fabulous new find with the famous exclamation: "Eureka! I have found it."

It took only a month for Eureka to coin the nickname "Pittsburgh of the West" for its infamous black smoke produced by its sixteen smelters. Although Eurekans complained of the filthy soot most ignored the miserable air only because the mountain seemed to promise enough ore to make it all worth the sacrifice. It was not gold and it was not silver. Eureka's fortune was lead - and tons of it. The romance of finding lead compared to the finding of gold or silver may be why Eureka has stayed relatively staid throughout history nevertheless earning its status as a major player in the mining game. The nearby hillsides of Eureka were rated as the state's second-richest mineral producer behind the Comstock Lode. The town's booming population necessitated the formation of a new county in 1873 while its population swelled as high as ten thousand people by 1878. It wasn't until 1881 that Eureka's population finally began to shrink with the decrease in mine production.

As it has been for over 150 years, a very relaxed Eureka County is still a quiet place on the map. The old mining girl is a town of steady habits and things just don't seem to change here. And you guessed it: mining still plays a vital role. The massive Getchell Mine, the very same gold producer responsible for carrying Elko into the future, sits within the northern confines of Eureka County - host to two additional operations near the county's eastern border a few short miles outside of Carlin and Battle Mountain. This old mining queen's still got it going on.

Thanks to these swells of income, the town of Eureka has been able to upkeep its historic structures, many of them built at the peak of Eureka's heyday. Eureka and its county do not face the sad economic loom like many other former mining burgs across the state. It lacks the bawdy over-touristy push of Virginia City, the solemn woes of Austin, and the modernization of Round Mountain. Instead Eureka is simply a mining town restored, both old and fresh on "America's Loneliest Road." If you could find a town posterchild of a Nevada mining town arguably Eureka would be "it." A handful of historic establishments such as the Eureka Opera House still hosts concerts and music lectures from all over the country. The Owl Club is another pleasant relic of the past - a true step back in time with its authentic bar and creaky wood floorboards. Eureka's residents talk proudly of their "city" dubbing it "The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road." The locals have every right to pride their city as one of the best-preserved mining cities in America.

The Markers
As for Eureka's historic markers: well let's just say the county was shafted. Eureka is a bit of a disappointment as it is one of the easiest Nevada counties to conquer. At least five other establishments (in addition to Eureka's four fabulous historic cemeteries and a few outlying areas in the county) are deserving of at least a dozen more historic markers that were somehow missed by the SHPO. Nonetheless, the landmarks here pay great homage to the county's past. Three of Eureka's eight markers keep things interesting by forcing you off of US 50 into some lonely country near Palisade, Beowawe, and Diamond Valley. Make yourself comfortable here because Eureka County is vast but not unconquerable in a day. The town of Eureka is the only community of mentionable size in the entire county but it handles most basic needs for its visitors. The true secret here, though, is camping. The added bonus of camping in Eureka County is the joy of owning a site amidst some of the most remote acreage in the country. Roberts Mountain feeds a few year-round streams and lovely pine forests while the Fish Creek Range just south of Eureka hosts plenty of secluded canyons and some fine communion with nature. A hike to the top of 10,614 foot Diamond Peak provides a rigorous and lonely trek for the avid peak bagger without trails or signs to mark their way. This is true wilderness. The "it" factor hasn't died yet. Have you found it?

Markers of Eureka County

Eureka's markers, all eight of them, revolve around one centralized concept -- Nevada's mining legacy. These markers waste no time in diving into the average life in 19th century Nevada. At first glance, Eureka may not seem to offer much and its secrets absolutely cannot be revealed in one shot, therefore this is one county best explored on multiple visits!

[11] -- Eureka

39.50115, -115.95878

"'Eureka!' a miner is said to have exclaimed in September, 1864, when the discovery of rich ore was made here--and thus the town was named."

[65] -- Palisade

40.6001, -116.1781

"At its peak, the town boasted a population of 300. It was a self-contained community, and railroading was its business."

[80] -- Eureka County Courthouse

38.14024, -117.45391

"Built in 1879-80, of locally fired brick and of sandstone quarried nearby, the Eureka County Courthouse remains a fine example of boom town Victorian opulence."

[82] -- Diamond Valley

39.74016, -116.07479

"The first known explorer of Diamond Valley was Colonel John C. Fremont, who mapped the area to aid western migration in 1845."

[170] -- Eureka Sentinel Building

39.51244, -115.96167

"The Eureka Sentinel was published in this building from 1879 to 1960."

[187] -- The Cattle Industry

40.68023, -116.47449

"Beginning in the western part of the state, cattlemen ranged their herds throughout northern Nevada by the 1870's."

[222] -- Tannehill Cabin
One of Eureka's Oldest Houses

39.50353, -115.95952

"The Tannehill brothers built this cabin for a residence in 1864 and lived here about a year before selling their mining interest to a New York company in 1866."

[254] -- Nevada's Mining Heritage

39.55575, -115.99697

"... Whether underground or surface, mining remains an important symbol of Nevada's heritage."