Historical Markers in
Washoe County, Nevada

Beckworth Trail - Over a Sage Plain Bowers Mansion Bowers Mansion Bowers Mansion Chinese in Nevada Coney Island Crystal Peak Toll Bridge Emigrant Trail - Truckee River Route Emigrant Trail--Truckee River Route Emigrant-Donner Camp Empire Franktown Frederick Joseph DeLongechamps Galena Galena Creek Fish Hatchery Geiger Station Gerlach Ginsburg Jewelry Company Glendale School Glendale School (1864-1958) Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Tree Guanomi Mine Henness Pass Road Henness Pass Road O'Neill Station Historic Transportation From Honey Lake To Virginia City History in the Making Horses to Horsepower Huffaker's I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills Inyo Marble Works James C. Lillard Railroad Park History Junction House Kooyooe Panunadu - Pyramid Lake Lake Mansion Lake's Crossing Major General Jesse Lee Reno Mizpah Hotel Moana Springs Morrill Hall, 1887 N.C.O. Railroad Depot Olinghouse Ophir Famous Mill Town Overview Peavine Mining District Reno Reno at the Crossroads Reno's Beginning Rusty Relics Silver Star Lodge # 5 Site of Nevada’s First Public Library Site of Reno Air Mail Field Southern Pacific Railroad Yards Spanish-American War Memorial 1898-1899 Sparks Steamboat Springs The Bank of Sparks The Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway The Fight of the Century The First Drink of Cold Water The Great Incline of the Sierra Nevada The Great Train Robbery The Humboldt Trail The Lincoln Highway Bridge Rails The Reno Arch The Reno Depots The Town of Crystal Peak The Truckee River The Virginia Street Bridges The Winters Ranch Truckee River Truckee River Truckee Trail - 23rd Crossing Truckee Trail - Last Crossing Truckee Trail - River Crossings Truckee Trail - River Crossings Truckee Trail - Truckee Meadows Ford Truckee/Donner Trail Verdi Verdi Veterans Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Historical Building Virginia & Truckee Railroad Right of Way Von Schmidt Wadsworth Washoe City Washoe County World War II Memorial Winters Ranch "People thought I was crazy." "Sister Act"
Nevada has a large Basque population: Nevada has one of the largest Basque populations in the U.S., with many Basque immigrants coming to the state to work in the mining industry.
Washoe County, located in the western part of the state of Nevada, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Paiutes and Washoes, who relied on the abundant natural resources of the region for their livelihoods. The arrival of European settlers in the 19th century brought significant changes to the area.

In the mid-1800s, the discovery of silver and gold in the Comstock Lode near Virginia City sparked a major mining rush in Washoe County. This led to a significant influx of fortune seekers and a population boom in the area. The mining boom brought wealth and development to the region, with Virginia City becoming the economic and cultural center of the county.

With the decline of mining activities in the late 19th century, Washoe County underwent a period of economic transition. The region shifted its focus to agriculture, with ranching and farming becoming important industries. The development of irrigation systems and the establishment of railroads helped facilitate the growth of agricultural practices in the county. Reno, the county seat, emerged as a significant transportation and trade hub, connecting the mining towns of Virginia City and Carson City.

In the 20th century, Washoe County experienced further transformations due to the growth of tourism and the establishment of educational institutions. The construction of the Lincoln and Victory Highways, connecting Reno to other major cities, boosted tourism in the area, which was further fueled by the legalization of gambling in Nevada. Additionally, the University of Nevada, Reno was founded in 1874, becoming a prominent educational institution and contributing to the cultural and intellectual growth of the county.

Today, Washoe County continues to thrive as a major economic and cultural center in Nevada. Its rich history, from the Native American tribes to the mining boom, agricultural development, and the rise of tourism, has shaped the county into what it is today – a diverse and vibrant community with a strong sense of its past.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Washoe County, Nevada.

  • 1861: Washoe County is established in Nevada Territory.
  • 1862: A silver strike in Virginia City leads to a mining boom in the county.
  • 1864: Nevada becomes a state, and Washoe County is one of the original nine counties.
  • 1868: The University of Nevada is established in Elko, later moving to Reno in Washoe County in 1885.
  • 1871: The Virginia and Truckee Railroad begins operation, connecting Carson City and Reno.
  • 1904: Reno becomes the county seat, replacing Washoe City.
  • 1929: The Nevada State Legislature approves the creation of what is now known as Lake Tahoe - Nevada State Park.
  • 1931: The city of Sparks is incorporated, becoming the second-largest city in Washoe County.
  • 1957: Sparks is approved as a city of the second class.
  • 1963: The Washoe County School District is established.