Pacific Coast Business Directory ~ Nevada ~ Early Settlements

The predominant interest is mining for silver. This metal is found mixed with gold in the Comstock vein, the latter metal constituting about one-fourth its value, Gold is also found in many localities in different parts of the State, and about $30,000,000 of it has been obtained from Nevada. Tho total product of the precious metals by this State since the discovery of the Comstock ledge in 1850 has been about $185,000,000, of which 1155,000,000 have been taken from that great vein. The total gold product previous to that discovery had amounted to about $400,000. Gold is also found in the central and northern part of the State, in veins and placers, and in combination with copper, but tho silver is entirely free of it. In those sections tho silver is in the form of a chloride, antimonial sulphuret, or stetefeldtite, or combined with lead. In every form the veins are numerous and are found in clusters, with one or more of great value in each, in nearly every mountain range or hill throughout the State. The veins of argentiferous galena are large and valuable, and are found in great numbers in the counties of Lander, White Pine, Nye, and Lincoln. These have been but lately developed, are producing largely, and adding greatly to the general wealth of the country. In the first forms of the ore the silver is obtained by crushing under stamps, changing it by chemical processes from a chloride or sulphuret to metallic, and amalgamating with quicksilver. In the second form, or when combined with lead, the ore is smelted in furnaces, producing base bullion, which is again refined or shipped to various parts of the world for sale. Copper-bearing veins of largo size and of a high percentage of metal exist in various parts of the State, the most noted localities being in the Peavine District in Washoe County, Battle Mountain, in Humboldt County, in Kingsley District, and other places in Elko County. Immense masses of very rich iron ore are found in Nye County, but no steps have yet been taken to produce that useful metal from the abundant supply with which the county is stored.

Salt, that most indispensable material of domestic economy, as well as in the reduction of silver ore, abounds in extraordinary quantities. This mineral is usually found in beds, spread over the surface is the lowest valleys, or in solid, crystalline masses beneath the surface. One of these salt bods, in the southern portion of Esmeralda County, covers a surface of fifty square miles, from which millions of tons of the pure chloride of sodium could be shoveled up ready for use for any purpose. In nearly every county similar beds, though less in extent, are found; and in Lincoln County is an isolated mountain containing rock salt in immense masses, pure and as transparent as glass. The beds and mines of salt furnish an inexhaustible supply, and when these are reached by railroad will constitute an important source of wealth to the State.

Beds of the carbonate of soda exist, where that mineral is found in great purity, and in such quantities that it is quarried like rock, or sawed in blocks like ice. Sulphur in equal purity is found in great masses of hundreds of acres in extent and of unknown depth, also mixed with other minerals, constituting, with silica or quartz, the principal portion of the vein matter containing silver. Borax is obtained in large quantities from extensive plains covered with a deposit of borate of lime, and the supply is such that it has cheapened the article in the markets of the world. These are chiefly found near Columbus in Esmeralda County, and appear inexhaustible. Alum also exists in abundance, sometimes pure and again mixed with sulphur and clay. Other minerals, clays, building stone, marble, fire-proof rock for smelting furnaces, agates, geodes, chalcedony, rubies, glass-making material of every variety, and thus through the list, indicating a mineral wealth unsurpassed by any equal section of the globe.

The appearance of the State, however, is that of a desert. The plains are usually dry and covered with the valueless sage brush, and the scant forests are of low and scrubby pine. But in the canons of the mountains and in the valleys where irrigation is possible, are large areas of the most productive arable lands. The naked flats, where no vegetation is seen, are beds of salt, soda, sulphur, or other valuable mineral, and the rugged mountains are seamed with countless veins of the precious and useful metals.

The climate shows no extreme of heat, cold, or storms, not even on the mountain tops, where the nearest approach to these extremes is felt. The elevation of the valleys is from 4,000 to 6,000 foot, but snow seldom falls in them. The mountains are snow-covered in the winter, but never to such an extent as the Sierra Nevada, although their altitude is equal to that range. The winters commence in November, and snow often falls as late as May. Tho summers are short and dry, though heavy showers, accompanied by excessive electrical explosions, occur in July and August. The fall months are usually warm and pleasant, and health prevails all the year, few sections of the world being less subject to disease than the elevated region of Nevada.

The State is now crossed by the Pacific Railroad, which opens it to convenient access to the world, having 443 miles of track within the borders of Nevada. This great road runs from east to west, or from the northern part of the eastern portion to near the central part of the west, and is the chief artery of trade and travel. From it branch, at Reno, tho Virginia and Truckee Railroad, leading to Carson, Gold Hill, and Virginia City, a length of road of 52 miles; and from Palisade, the Palisade and Eureka, a narrow-gauge, which will have, when completed, a length of 80 miles. Another railroad branching at Battle Mountain, has been surveyed to Austin, a distance of 85 miles. Several others are in contemplation over the great routes of travel where stages now run. From Pioche to Bullionville is a narrow-gauge railroad of some 22 miles in length, used chiefly in transporting ores from the mines of the former place to mills located at the latter. A short narrow-gauge road, used in transporting lumber, extends from Lake Bigler to the summit of the East Ridge, whore it connects with a flume reaching to Carson Valley. The long valleys and natural passes through the mountains are very favorable for either wagon or railroads, and good highways are had without great expense. The locomotive, with its long train of cars, the dust covered stage coach with its prancing team, and the great prairie schooner, now give busy life through all the region that was a wilderness but a few years ago. The telegraph has followed the roads, and the extremities of the State are in instantaneous communication with the world. In the secluded canons pleasant villages are constructed, and flourishing cities adorn the sides of many a silver-stored mountain. More than a hundred and fifty quartz mills, built at great cost, expensive hoisting works, and many furnaces, are found in every portion of the vast region, engaged in extracting the precious metal from the dull rook which encloses it. Thus is Nevada rising from the condemned desert basin to a prosperous State, and establishing the fact that its barren plains and rugged mountains are more richly stored with minerals than any equal area of the world.

*For organization and terms of the United States Courts see Introductory Summary preceding California Register of Names.

Pacific Coast Business Directory | Nevada Business Index

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875.


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