Lyon County

Keeping Nevada Wild

The Markers Statistics Related Links

There's a piece of ground wedged between historic Carson City and Churchill County that even some lifelong Nevadans tend to forget. The people of Lyon County make due just fine without the rest of Nevada butting into their business. Here's a county with just the right mix that's helped it make its name here in western Nevada. No spendy real estate of Douglas County. No challenging tax hikes of Washoe and Carson City. No flamboyant touristy boom that floods Storey County. Lyon County sits alone placidly in its facile and great open spaces! Its unique fuse of urban closeness and rural remoteness seam it strangely together in mostly urbanized western Nevada.

No Lyin' Commonwealth Here
Whether it be its largest center, or its smallest outposts, Lyon's sense of community is perhaps its greatest trail and something quite demonstrative of the state's people. Take Dayton. Even the county's largest populace center (of some seven thousand) manages to retain its original small-town charm that originated in 1849 despite its recent infection of suburbia. The same can be said of Fernley on the county's northern tip. In a way, Fernley's reliable income from Interstate 80's dependable stream of traffic has become a saving grace of sorts for Lyon's relatively-poor economy. It almost seems that Lyon even enjoys proving Nevada wrong. Then, there is Yerington set well away from the main crowd and perhaps the only county seat in Nevada that people have to "find." Let's just say when Dayton and Fernley convert to the hovercar Yerington will always stay Yerington -- four hooves or four wheels.

In between what I call "The Big Three" the real heart of Lyon is revealed. Small outcroppings of community: Stagecoach, Silver Springs, Wellington, Smith, and Silver City prove that this place stands alone as a true outback in a portion of the state where ruralty is challenged. New transplants to Nevada find it shocking when they marvel at wild mustangs cantering past their backyards or just how much open space is really "open!" The distribution of population and its closeness to urban Washoe and Carson City makes the perfect real estate for another industry to set up shop: legal prostitution. Lyon is among six counties in Nevada that allows it within state-approved brothels. Do we sense a high complex - a sort of "I can do what you can't" demeanor? Or maybe Lyon simply needs the money. In both instances, rebellion is felt ... and Lyon couldn't be prouder!

The Markers
Look on any map of Nevada and Lyon County's hodgepodge shape will be one thing you can't help but notice. Lyon's borders make graphing the land difficult, but geographically lets it creep into many nooks of varied landscape. Lyon's borders stretch from the snowy scenes of the Eastern Sierra (near Bridgeport, California) far north to the hellish Forty Mile Desert near Fernley. Think about this: you can even cross all three Sierra-born rivers - the Truckee, Carson, and Walker River systems, climb a few "thirteeners" in Lyon's southern portion, cruise through agriculture valleys, and embrace the old route of "the Pony." In combination with the county's historic markers, Lyon is a grab-bag of Nevada goodness!

Just as varied as Lyon's terrain are its nineteen markers; the basis for many being with the "transition" of Nevada - a time when the Nevada outback was trodded by some of the state's first progressors. Since many of its markers are situated in the north end of the county, Dayton is the obvious choice to work from, considering a good portion of markers are located here. Carson City, only six miles from the action or even Virginia City, twelve miles to the north, are other great bases if you plan to tackle both two to three counties in one trip. Before venturing away, don't forget about the two markers on the Comstock. Yes, Silver City is technically (and as one local put it "proudly") in Lyon County. As you head east on US 50, prepare to experience Lyon County's unique outback and the county's few renegade markers. Head south on US 95 ALT toward Yerington and the often-forgotten south end of Lyon for Markers 74 and 255. In renegade fashion, Lyon welcome the oddball, the promiscuous, and those who tread a different path. This one's an ambiguous, irregular and unsealed box full of surprises

Markers of Lyon 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 Lyon focus on some of the state's oldest and earliest settlements. Others outline tests of trial and patience and early lawlessness in an unsettled land.

[7] -- Dayton

39.236432, -119.58941

"Dayton, one of the earliest settlements in Nevada was first known as a stopping place on the river for California-bound pioneers."

[61] -- Mound House

39.21409, -119.66963

"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."

[74] -- Wellington

38.75185, -119.37021

"Following the mining boom in the Aurora District in 1860, Jack Wright and Leonard Hamilton put up a bridge across the West Walker River and established a stage station at this location."

[85] -- Sutro

39.27438, -119.56452

"Sutro was a town, a tunnel and a man. The orderly town was headquarters for the Sutro drainage tunnel."

[113] -- Wabuska

39.14393, -119.18182

"In 1881, the town served as the principal Mason Valley supply and distribution center on the newly-constructed narrow-gauge Carson and Colorado Railroad."

[127] -- Courthouse Site (1865-1907)

39.23812, -119.59121

"When the courthouse burned in 1907, the seat was moved to Yerington."

[163] -- Chinatown (Early Name of Dayton)

39.23627, -119.5894

"The first Chinese were brought to this site in 1856 to build the "Reese" ditch from the Carson River to the entrance of Gold Canyon."

[177] -- Desert Well Station (Overland Mail and Stage Station)

39.36406, -119.36549

"Desert Well Station, which was later known as Nelsons, achieved a measure of fame when Mark Twain wrote of his experience there in Roughing It"

[185] -- McCone's Foundries

39.29923, -119.65462

"Messers, Mead, McCone and Tascar first established a foundry in this area in 1862 at Johntown two miles southeast of here in Gold Canyon."

[186] -- Union Hotel & Post Office

39.23613, -119.59052

"The free-standing rock wall is the original wall of the Overland Stage Station and Pony Express Stop."

[192] -- Buckland's Station

39.29382, -119.2515

"He also constructed the first bridge across the Carson River downstream from Genoa."

[199] -- Camels in Dayton

39.23878, -119.59127

"Camels were imported into the United States for military purposes in the mid-1850's."

[200] -- Hall's Station

39.23579, -119.59249

"Spafford Hall built a station and trading post in the early 1850's to accommodate emigrants bound for California."

[223] -- Devil's Gate

39.26657, -119.64295

"This rugged reef of metamorphic rock was once one of the famous landmarks of the Nevada Territory."

[233] -- Dayton Cemetery

39.23437, -119.59821

"Founded in 1851, this is one of the oldest constantly maintained cemeteries in the State of Nevada."

[255] -- Wilson Canyon

38.80969, -119.22015

"A Northern Paiute named Wovoka was raised with the Wilson boys and took the name Jack Wilson."

[257] -- Nevada's First Gold Discovery

39.23586, -119.59181

"In July 1849, Abner Blackburn, a former member of the Mormon Battalion, made the first gold discovery in what is now Nevada near this site (see the canyon to the right)."

[262] -- Dayton School House - 1865

39.23788, -119.59257

"In 1865, Lyon County built this imposing school building for the residents of Dayton, then the county seat."

[264] -- Silver City School House

39.26438, -119.63945

"Children were educated here for nearly a century until the school closed in 1958."