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Timeline of NEVADA HISTORY  

Valley of Fire State Park
Galena Falls
Slide Mountain Winter
Lake Tahoe

Before whites arrived the “First Nations” people around Pyramid lake called the lake Cyui-ui Pah and called themselves Kuiyuidokado (eaters of the Cui-ui fish).

230 Million BP    The Panthalassa Ocean covered much of what later became the western United States. Sediments later called the Luning Formation were deposited in what later became the mountain ranges of central Nevada. Fossil ichthyosaurs included Shonisaurus popularis.
225 Million BP    Icthyosaur fossils first found in 1928 by prof. Seimon W. Muller of Stanford 150 miles SE of Reno, dated to this time. An inland sea linked to the Pacific and submerged California and Nevada during the Triassic.

23-5 Million BP    Mastadons, mammoths and rhinos roved Nevada during the Miocene.
c.10,000BCE    Petroglyphs dating to this time were later discovered in the Big Smokey Valley of Nevada, where Lake Toiyabe and Lake Tonopah provided for human habitation.

 c.0AD       The last small lake disappeared from the Death Valley basin about this time. At least 4 lakes covered the valley floor in Earth's history.

1843-1844    John C. Fremont discovered that Nevada lies within the Great Basin, where all waters run inward without outlet to an ocean.
1845        John C. Fremont led a surveying party through the central Great Basin of Nevada.
1846        Oct 31, Heavy snows trapped the Donner party in the eastern Sierras near what is now Truckee.
1846        Dec 16, In desperation 10 men and 5 women of the Donner Party left on snowshoes to cross the Sierra Nevada. The 5 women and 2 men survived. All but one of the dead were eaten. Of the 89 members in the whole group 42 died.
1846        The Applegate Trail across northwest Nevada and northeast California was blazed as a southern approach to Oregon's Willamette Valley.
1849        The first white settlement was by Mormons at Genoa near Carson City, then called Mormon Station.

1849        Peter Lassen pioneered a new route to California that bypassed the 40 Mile Desert in Nevada. The trail led from Nevada to Oregon and was combined with another trail that led past his ranch and trading post near Chico. The trail however led across more desert and came to be called "The Death Route."

1853        Kit Carson herded some 7,000 sheep through Eagle Valley, where Carson City was later founded.
1859        May 26, Captain James Simpson and his party, looking for the shortest route across Nevada, crossed the Hickison Summit into Big Smoky Valley. Their path was later followed by the Pony Express (1860) and the Overland Mail and Stage

1859        Jun 11, Comstock silver load was discovered near Virginia City, Nevada. Prospector James Finney stumbled across thick, bluish clay in western Nevada. A fellow minor, Henry Comstock, gave his name to the lode, the most lucrative silver ore mine in history. Ott’s Assay Office in Nevada City, Ca., first assayed samples of the rich Comstock Lode of Nevada. Four Irishmen known as the Bonanza Kings bought up shares in the Comstock mines and became rich. They were John Mackay, James Fair, James Flood, and William O’Brian. Ore from the Comstock lode was hauled by horse-drawn wagon over Donner Pass to SF.

1861  Mar 2, The Territory of Nevada was created by an act of Congress. The first elected governor of the state was Henry G. Blasdel
1861        Orion Clemens was appointed Secretary of the Territory of Nevada. He took along his young brother, Sam Clemens (Mark Twain).

1862         Austin, Nevada was born when a horse kicked loose a rock revealing a rich silver ore.

1863         October 1, Treaty of Ruby Valley with the Western Shoshone
1864        Oct 31, Nevada became the 36th state under a proclamation signed by Pres. Lincoln. No State was as great a factor in the saving of the Union cause as Nevada.

1864        Ruel C. Gridley (d.1870), owner of the Gridley Store in Austin, Nevada, lost an election bet and had to carry a 50 lb. sack of flour the length of Austin to the tune of “John Brown’s Body.” The sack was auctioned and the proceeds went to the Sanitary Fund, a forerunner to the Red Cross, to help relieve suffering created by the Civil War. The sack was resold many times and soon other towns called for a similar auction. The last auction was at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

1869 The town of Elko was incorporated

1872        Jul 2, Jacob W. Davis of Reno, Nevada, sent Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco a sample of his work pants (using rivets to reinforce the pockets) and a business proposal for Strauss to apply for a patent in exchange for a half share in the patent. Davis soon sold his half share to Strauss and moved to San Francisco to supervise the manufacture of the work pants.

1872        Mark Twain wrote "Roughing". It chronicles the night he and 2 friends spent in a blizzard only 15 steps from the Desert Wells Trading Station in Nevada.

1873        The "Big Bonanza," a huge silver deposit, was found by miners working for the Comstock Kings in Virginia City.

1879        Adolph Sutro returned to SF after becoming a millionaire from building a tunnel at the silver mines of the Nevada Comstock Lode.

1887        Ely, Nevada, was incorporated as a stagecoach station and post office. After the turn of the century, immense copper deposits near Ely began to attract attention away from the failing gold mines, and by 1906 a boom had developed in copper. Today Great Basin National Park provides a rewarding destination to visitors.

1890s    In the late 1800s soldiers found garnets in the mountains of eastern Nevada and named the area the Ruby Mountains.

1897        Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family built Stokes Castle in Austin, Nevada. He built the 92-mile Nevada Central Railroad from Battle Mountain to Austin, which carried silver from the mines that blossomed and wilted along the slopes and side canyons of the Reese River Valley.

1900        Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (aka Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and their Wild Bunch went to Fort Worth after their last holdup of the First National Bank at Winnemucca, Nevada. They posed for pictures at John Swartz’s photo studio.

1900        Major silver and gold deposits were found at Tonopah.

1902        The US Newlands Act established the Bureau of Reclamation and began to enact some of the ideas of John Wesley Powell concerning control of water resources in 17 western states. Results included the Newlands Irrigation Project in Nevada’s Fallon area that diverted water from the Carson and Truckee Rivers to new farmland.

1905        Las Vegas, a Mormon outpost, railroad settlement and silver mining camp, rose to township status. and silver mining camp, rose to township status.

1906        The Hotel Nevada opened in Las Vegas shortly after the rail lines from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City met nearby.

1922        The Colorado River Compact allocated 7.5 million acre-feet of water from the upper basin states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) to be delivered to the lower basin sates (California, Arizona and Nevada) plus the rights to divert another 1 million acre-feet from the river’s lower tributaries.

1929        Neon lights first came to Las Vegas.
Hoover Dam on the Colorado at Boulder City

1936        Sep 11, President Roosevelt dedicated Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) by pressing a key in Washington to signal the startup of the dam's first hydroelectric generator in Nevada. On October 26 the first of the five power units to be installed under the initial plan went into operation.

1936-1939    George Whittel Jr. (1882-1969), heir to a SF family wealthy from the gold rush, built his Thunderbird Lodge at Lake Tahoe. He had acquired some 30,000 acres along the Nevada shore since 1936. He deeded most of the land to the US Forest Service.

1951-1992    Some 928 bombs were exploded over this period at the Nevada Test Site. In 1999 the area began to be used as a training ground against terrorism.

1959        Sep 12, NBC launched "Bonanza," the first color western on TV. 428 episodes were produced and the show ran to 1973. 431 episodes were filmed at the 570-acre site in Incline Village, Nevada.

1964        Aug 6, In Eastern Nevada a bristlecone pine tree, Pinus longaeva, near Wheeler Peak was cut down for scientific study of its age. The tree had been named Prometheus for its age which turned out to be about 4,900 years.

1985        The 1st Cowboy Poetry Gathering was held in Elko, Nevada. It became an annual event held in the last week of January.

1985        Las Vegas began hosting the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), which began around 1959.
Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park1986        The Hot August Nights festival was begun in Reno It became an annual festival touted as the world’s largest nostalgia fest. It is a celebration of the American Automobile culture of the '50's and '60's and attracts 5,500 classic cars from 36 states across the nation.  

1986        Nevada’s 77,000-acre Great Basin National Park was dedicated.

1991        Aug 27, The annual Burning Man Festival began near Gerlach, Nevada on the Hualapai Playa, a prehistoric lakebed. Over 39,000 people attended the festival in 2006. The event takes its name from the ritual of burning a large wooden sculpture of a man on the sixth day.

1997        Oct 15, A British jet-powered car driven by pilot Andy Green broke the land speed record with an average run of 763.035 mph at Gerlach, Nevada.

1998        Oct 18, The new Steve Wynn $1.6 billion, 3,000 room Bellagio Casino opened in Las Vegas.

1999        May 3, The new $1.4 billion Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino opened.

1999        Feb 8, Nevada lawmakers voted to oppose federal plans for a nuclear storage dump northwest of Las Vegas.

1999        Jun 4, Senators Diane Feinstein of California and Harry Reid of Nevada announced the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The bill authorized $300 million over 10 years to restore clarity and health to Lake Tahoe.

1999        Aug 5, Lightning sparked over 75 fires and blackened some 500 sq. miles of Nevada range.

2000        Dec 15, US Congressional compromise included federal protection for the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, 1.2 million acres in northwest Nevada.

2001        Sep 22, Volunteers celebrated completion of the Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile loop around Lake Tahoe.Tahoe Center for the Environmental Sciences

2002        Dec 1, The US federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began rounding up over 2,650 wild horses in Nevada to prevent starving and rangeland destruction.

2003        May 24, The $16 million Nevada Museum of Art opened in Reno.

2005 .......The Las Vegas Valley played host to 34.7 million visitors.

2006....... The Tahoe Environmental Sciences Center, a joint project of UC Davis, Sierra Nevada College, University of Nevada Reno and the Desert Research Institute dedicated a unique and cutting edge research lab in Incline Village. This lab will bring together scientists to study Lake Tahoe, the surrounding alpine watersheds, seismologyof the area, the purity of air and water and the human variables contribuiting to conversion of climate. Public policy recommendations are expected to result from the work done by the lab. In addition, students of all ages will be welcomed to workshops designed especially for them.