National Register Listing in
Esmeralda County, Nevada

Nevada is the seventh-largest state in the U.S.: Despite its reputation as a small state, Nevada is actually the seventh-largest state in the U.S. by area.
Esmeralda County, located in the southwestern part of Nevada, has a rich and fascinating history. The county was first inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Paiute and Shoshone, who lived off the land and utilized the region's resources for thousands of years. However, the arrival of European settlers in the mid-19th century brought significant changes to the area.

In 1861, Esmeralda County was officially established as one of Nevada's original nine counties. The discovery of silver and gold in the area fueled a mining boom, which attracted thousands of prospectors and miners seeking their fortunes. In fact, some of the mining towns in Esmeralda County, such as Aurora and Goldfield, quickly became major centers of activity and growth.

During its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Esmeralda County saw immense wealth and prosperity. The mines produced millions of dollars' worth of precious metals, and the population swelled with miners and their families. However, the economic boom was not sustainable, and eventually, many of the mines closed down, leading to a decline in population and economic activity.

Today, Esmeralda County is known for its rich mining history and the remnants of its once-thriving ghost towns. The county is also home to Death Valley National Park, a stunning desert landscape that attracts tourists from around the world. Despite its smaller population and limited economic opportunities, Esmeralda County remains a window into Nevada's past and an important part of the state's historical heritage.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Esmeralda County, Nevada.

  • 1861: Esmeralda County is established as one of the original nine counties of the Nevada Territory.
  • 1863: The town of Aurora in Esmeralda County becomes the county seat.
  • 1867: The Comstock Lode, a major silver discovery, leads to a population boom in Esmeralda County.
  • 1871: The town of Silver Peak is established as a mining boomtown.
  • 1907: More gold and silver deposits are discovered in Esmeralda County, leading to another mining boom.
  • 1923: The town of Goldfield becomes the county seat of Esmeralda County.
  • 1942: The U.S. Army establishes the Tonopah Army Air Field in Esmeralda County during World War II.
  • 1951: The population of Esmeralda County reaches its peak at around 2,500 residents.
  • 1981: The Nevada Test Site, a nuclear weapons testing facility, expands into parts of Esmeralda County.
  • 2000: The population of Esmeralda County declines to about 971 residents.