Looking down on Eureka from a hill north of town
Eureka is an old mining town located on US 50 (the Loneliest Road in America) with Ely about 77 miles to the east and Austin about 71 miles to the west. Eureka was founded in 1864 by a group of silver miner's who'd found a lode of silver-lead ore on nearby Prospect Peak. When Eureka County was carved out of White Pine, Elko and Lander Counties in 1873, Eureka was the logical county seat. While there were a number of minerals found in the mountains around Eureka, the primary ore mined was lead. For several years the area around Eureka was the second largest mineral producer in Nevada, after the Comstock Lode near Viginia City. The population peaked around 10,000 in 1878 but production in the mines started to fall off right after that and as market conditions also deteriorated, the population began to shrink.
2 of the largest mining companies in Eureka in those days were the Eureka Mining Company and the Richmond Mining Company. The two companies were very contentious, especially as mineral production and market prices decreased. At one point, the litigation between the two companies reached all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The 1870's and 1880's saw the construction of several notable buildings that are still standing in Eureka. One was the Eureka Opera House, built in 1880, restored in 1991 and reopened for business in 1993. The Opera House is still in use as a community auditorium, full service convention center, cultural and arts center, and often sees famous entertainers passing through and performing on the stage. Another was the Jackson House Hotel, built in 1877 and restored as a historical building in 1981. The Eureka Sentinel Newspaper Building was built in 1879 and now houses the Eureka Sentinel Museum. The Eureka County Courthouse was built in 1879 and completed in 1880 at a cost of about $55,000. The jail nxt to it was built earlier, for about $15,000.
Many buildings in downtown Eureka were burned or gutted by a large fire in August of 1880. The Opera House was built on the foundations of the Odd Fellows Hall which had burned in that 1880 fire. The Odd Fellows Hall had started out as a union labor hall in 1879 but the union soon went on strike, ran out of money and then sold the uncompleted building to the Odd Fellows. The Jackson House was also gutted in that same fire but it was rebuilt and served as a hotel into the 1890's. It was advertised for years as the only fire-proof hotel in the state.
An interesting item about life in the old days in Eureka: The Paxton & Company Bank building was damaged heavily in the fire of April, 1879 with the bank vault being the only thing left standing. So the bank built a new building around that vault. For many years, the Paxton & Company Bank printed its own currency with its name on the bills. That currency was considered "legal tender" throughout the area. Try doing that these days...
The Jackson House Hotel, built in 1877
Eureka County Courthouse
Diamond Peak in the Diamond Mountains east of Eureka
|Fast Facts about Eureka, Nevada|
Eureka, Eureka County, NV 89316
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 85.3%
Native American: 1.4%
Two or More Races: 2.1%
High School or Higher: 77.7%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 17.6%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 4.5%
Median Resident Age: 37.8 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $62,100
Estimated Median Home Value: $72,220
2011 Cost of Living Index for Eureka: 88.1
Agriculture, Mining, Educational Services, Lodging & Food Services, Government, Construction, Entertainment & Recreation, Health Care
Crescent Valley - Eureka County
Loneliest Road in America (US 50) - Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
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|Photo of Eureka, Nevada courtesy of Wikipedia userid MeNV.|
Photo of the Jackson House Hotel courtesy of Vidor.
Other photos are courtesy of Eureka County, Nevada.
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