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Nevada (NV): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Nevada become a state?
October 31, 1864

Who first explored Nevada?
Francisco Tomas Graces

First Native American settlers:
Paiutes, Shoshone and Washoe tribes

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:

State Bird:
Mountain Bluebird

State Motto:
“All for our country”

Capital City

Carson City – The capital of Nevada, Carson City, is a small municipality whose population lies well below 100,000 residents. It is located in the western central part of the state, close to the border of California. The area was first settled in the mid 1800s, when traders and explorers found the Carson River to be a useful area to set up a trading post. Since this area was one of the first settlements in the state, it was only natural that it was named the state’s capital city when Nevada was added as the 36th state to the United States in 1864.

What is Nevada Famous For?

1. Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada was first settled by Paleo Indians thousands of years ago. The first European explorers in the area were Rafael Rivera and his group. They named the valley the found “Las Vegas”, which means “The Meadows” in Spanish. In the mid 1800s, shortly after Rivera settled the area, the Mormon Church moved to the area and established a halfway location between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Twenty years later, farmers bought enormous tracts of lands due to the State Land Act of 1885, and agriculture took over Las Vegas’ economy. With the introduction of a railroad in the early 1900s, Las Vegas became a bustling railroad town. In 1931, gambling was legalized in Nevada, which caused all the underground gambling operations to become public. The real growth in the city began after World War II, when resort hotels and casinos established themselves and tourism became the largest employer in the valley.

2. Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam was built between 1931 and 1936 on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Thousands of laborers worked for five years straight on the monumental project; hundreds lost their lives to construction accidents. When it was finished, the dam measured 726 feet high, 1,244 feet wide and contained 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete. The energy generated from the dam provides 28% of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 23% of the power to the state of Nevada, 19% of the power to the state of Arizona and 15% of the power to the city of Los Angeles.

3. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is an enormous freshwater lake located on the border of California and Nevada. The total area of the lake is 191 square miles and it is located in Placer County (CA), El Dorado County (CA), Douglas County (NV), Washoe County (NV) and Carson City (NV). It measures 1,645 feet at its maximum depth, and 22 miles at its maximum length. The lake attracts tourists every year because of its excellent ski areas, water sports, hiking, cycling and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

What is Nevada’s Economy?

1. Services – The services industry is Nevada’s largest income generator, largely due to tourism in the state. Other service industries which contribute lesser amounts to the GDP include private schools, hospitals, advertising, hotels, finance, insurance, real estate and wholesale trade.

2. Mining – Nevada is the nation’s largest gold producer, contributing to 75% of the country’s mined ore each year. The state also mines silver, diatomite, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, lithium, carbonate, magnesite, oil, salt and sand and gravel.

3. Manufacturing – Nevada is a large manufacturer of printed products for publishing companies. The state also produces food products, concrete, machinery, chemicals, plastics and construction equipment.

Nevada Historical Landmarks

1. Virginia City Historic District
The Virginia City Historic District encompasses Virginia City, Dayton, Silver City and Gold Hill. These cities make up part of Nevada’s rich history of mining. Virginia City serves as a model city for other mining boomtowns to follow. Its building include small two-story parcels with retail on the first floor and boarding on the second floor. Most of these towns had a short lifespan, lasting only as long as the mineral deposits that were being mined. When the mining ran out, the towns were deserted. Today, the Virginia City Historic District avoids abandonment because of its appeal as a tourist destination. The area was named a National Historic Landmark in order to preserve it, but some of the building are in disrepair and are in danger of collapsing into prior mining pits.

2. Francis G. Newlands Home
The Home of US Senator Francis G. Newlands was built in the Queen Anne Victorian style in 1890. It was the first house build in Reno, Nevada, that had a view of the scenic Truckee River. It was home to the family until 1920, when it was purchased by George Thatcher, a local lawyer. The house was given its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, and three years later it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

3. Nevada Northern Railway
The Nevada Northern Railway East Ely Yards was given its designation as a National Historic Landmark in September of 2006. The Yards now lie within the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely, Nevada. They were built in 1905, and may of the buildings were designed by noted architect of the time, Frederick Hale. The railway was put in place in the early 1900s in order to service the coppermining industry that settled there. Luckily, when most railways were modernized with diesel engines and other modern amenities, East Ely Yards was passed over because of its remote location and the fact that it was no longer used to its full potential.