Nevada History Timeline

Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Nevada History

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Nevada history.

About 900 BCE, the Patayan and Anasazi Native Americans inhabit the Colorado River area in the region that becomes known as Nevada. And, by 1200 CE, the area is populated by substantial groups of Native Americans. Mojave Natives plant crops along the riverbanks. The Washoe tribe inhabits the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range that forms the border between present-day Nevada and California. The Paiute reside in northern and southern Nevada, while the Shoshone occupy the northeastern region. Nevada is the seventh largest of the 50 states, but is one of the most sparsely populated.

16th Century Nevada History Timeline

1519 - Area claimed by Spain, Alta California (conquest of Mexico).

1540 - Spanish explorer Melchi Diaz travels through tri- state area.

1542 - Voyage to California coast by Juan de Cabrillo.

17th Century Nevada History Timeline

1609 - Town of Santa Fe established as Spanish-Indian trade center. It was held by the Pueblo Indians from 1680-92.

18th Century Nevada History Timeline

1756 - 1763: The Seven Years War (French and Indian War) due to disputes over land is won by Great Britain. France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba.

1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution creates the United States of America. The Revolution was due to the British burden of taxes and total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies. George Washington led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (American War of Independence)

1776 -

  • Father Garces crosses Colorado River at Katherine Landing.
  • July 4 - United States Declaration of Independence

1778 - July 10, France declares war against Britain and makes an alliance with the American revolutionary forces

1783 - September 3, The Treaty of Paris is signed by the victorious United States and the defeated Great Britain

19th Century Nevada History Timeline

1826 - September - Jedediah Smith, leads expedition to Meadow Valley Wash to Muddy River and is reported as the first white to enter into Nevada.

1827 - Jedediah Smith and his party returned from California, cross the center of what became Nevada.

1828 - November 9 - Humboldt River discovered by Peter Skene Ogden on his fifth Snake Country expedition 1828-1829.

1829 - Antonio Armijo party of 60 on the Old Spanish Trail to Los Angeles. Find an abundance of artesian spring water that allows travelers to cut directly through the vast desert to Los Angeles. Spanish traders named the desert oasis Las Vegas, Spanish for "The Meadows".

1830 - January 8 - First pack train to pass from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles crossed Las Vegas Valley. Led by Antonio Armijo, a Santa Fe merchant.

1833-34 - Joseph Walker led a group from Captain Bonneville's party along the Humboldt on a secrete reconnaissance of California.

1833-44 -

  • December/January - Captain John C. Fremont topographical expedition of about 25 men arrived at Pyramid Lake, while this region was still part of Mexico, 30 miles northeast of the present-day city of Reno, and named the lake - Pyramid.
  • Fremont Party became the first white men to glimpse the world's largest and most beautiful high mountain lake, Lake Tahoe, the source of the Truckee River, and home of present day Reno and the waters that fill the Desert Oasis of Pyramid Lake.
  • Begin 2nd, expedition (1842)
  • John Fremont and his party were the first white men to cross the Black Rock desert

1834 - Stevens-Townsend party led by Old Greenwood, went down the Humboldt with wagons, the first taken across what later became Donner Pass.

1841 - Earliest organized emigrants passed through Nevada, the Bartleson-Bidwell party from Independence, MO, including one woman and a child crossed Nevada by way of the Humboldt, Carson Sink, and Walker River.

1843 - Immigrant party led by Joseph Walker through Walker Pass took the first wagons across the Sierra.

1845 - Captain Fremont crossed Nevada again with his guide, Joseph Walker, for whom the lake is named.

1846 - Donner Party delayed their journey too long in the Truckee Meadows near the present-day City of Reno, Nevada, and became trapped in the heavy snows of the Sierra Nevada when they attempted to follow the "Hastings Cutoff" through the Mountains into California. They resorted cannibalism in their attempts to survive the winter. 47 out of 87 perished.

1847 - Mormon people move to the fertile Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

1848 -

  • January - James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's sawmill on the South Fork of the American River, near the present town of Coloma in Californiabegin the great gold rush.
  • United States acquired Nevada in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

1849 -

  • It is estimated that 22,500 settlers passed through the Truckee Meadows in 1849, then 45,000 in 1850 and up to 52,000 in 1852. Gold and silver prospectors began combing the barren lands of Northern Nevada.
  • Captain Hunt took the first wagon train, The Jayhawkers, through from Salt Lake to Southern California via the Mormon Trail. This is the wagon train which gave "Death Valley" its name as many of them perished there.
  • First recorded discovery of gold in Nevada was in Gold Canyon near present day Dayton.

1850 - United States Congress established the Utah Territory at the request of the Mormons in Salt Lake.

1851 -

  • Col. John Reese and other Mormons (all males) arrived in Carson Valley.
  • July - gold was discovered in Gold Canyon, near Dalton.
  • November 12 - Nevada's Territorial history begins. A public meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a squatter government. Established a provisional government to protect their land claims and to maintain civil order.
  • November - Trading post at what today is the intersection of Thompson and Fifth Streets in Carson City. The post was named "Eagle Station". This was the beginning of Carson City.

1852 -

  • Gold Coins minted by the Mormons at Salt Lake City in the Church Mint began to circulate in Carson Valley
  • First toll bridge in Nevada was built by Col. John Reese, over the Carson River not far from Mormon Station.
  • First land claim was granted by the Mormon Station squatter's government, to Col. Reese.

1853 -

  • First marriage in Nevada took place near Mormon Station.
  • First divorce in Nevada was also near Mormon Station, although it's unknown if this was connected to the first marriage!
  • July - Lola Montress, a actress from California led a small party from Grass Valley, CA on an excursion to the Truckee Meadows, becoming the first tourists to visit Nevada.
  • Benjamin Palmer was the first African American (on record) to settle in Nevada. He operated a ranch near Sheridan for 40 years.
  • First post office in Nevada was established at Mormon Station, present day Genoa.
  • First school was established in Nevada, located in Israel Mott's house in the Carson Valley and was taught by a "Mrs. Allen".
  • First dance in Nevada was in Dayton. The dance was held at Hall's Trading Post, New Year's Eve.

1854 -

  • Carson County was created by the Utah Government.
  • First white birth (a boy) in Nevada was registered in a journal kept by Laura Ellis. She and her husband James settled on a farm in Gold Canyon, near Dayton.

1855 -

  • June 14 -15 - Mormon Prophet Brigham Young sent a group of 30 men, [including Oscar Hamblin, brother of the famed Mormon Indian missionary], led by William Bringhurst to Las Vegas valley. Bringhurst had orders to establish a mission for the Latter-day Saints Church. They built a 150 square foot adobe brick fort, part of which still stands today as the oldest structure in Nevada, (but not the first), and is appropriately named the Mormon Fort.
  • Potosi mine was discovered about forty-three miles to the southwest of the mission by James Morgan who worked it for quicksilver and zinc. The mine was referred to as the Lead Mine, but later became known as the Potosi, and was opened as the first lode mine in Nevada.

1856 - May 16 -

  • Nathaniel V. Jones is assigned to the mission by Brigham Young to explore for minerals in the area. Jones was considered the father of Nevada's lode mining. Although this has been disputed as being a bit overstated.
  • First Chinatown in Nevada was in Dayton.
  • Chinese laborers were brought in to dig a ditch from Gold Canyon to within two miles of town. The ditch remains in tact today.
    Mormon Station renamed Genoa.

1857 - June - Pioneer Stage Line, the first stage to navigate the Sierras, traveled from Placerville, CA to Genoa began a once a month route with passengers and mail traffic.

1857-58 -

  • Mormon Mission adbandoned at Las Vegas also meant the closing of the Potosi mine.
    Fort Mohave was established in the southern tip of Nevada, and it's believed that soldiers from the fort discovered gold in Eldorado Canyon which led to active mining in that area.
  • Mines in Eldorado Canyon proved to be among the most consistent producers in the state from 1860 until World War II when the mines were closed.

1858 - December 18 -

  • First edition of the Territorial Enterprise was printed in Genoa, Utah Territory. It was the first 'printed' paper, but was preceded by two 'handwritten' newspapers. Nevada's first newspaper was actually the Gold-Canon Switch produced about 1854 in the fledgling mining camp of Johntown. The second hand-written newspaper, The Scorpion, dates to about February 1st, 1857 when Stephen A. Kinsey issued the first number at Genoa.
  • First telegraph line was constructed between Placerville, CA and Genoa - the newly developed stage line.
    Carson City is laid out. The Mormon missionaries pull out of the Las Vegas Mission.

1859 -

  • July 18 - a constitutional convention was held at Genoa.
  • Bill of Rights and a proposed State Constitution was adopted.
  • Isaac Roop was elected governor of the provisional territory of Nevada
  • November 26 - One year after the Territorial Enterprise put out its first edition it found a permanent home in Virginia City, (Utah Territory), where the paper resumed publication on November 3rd, 1860.
  • Telegraph line was extended from Genoa to Carson City.
  • Rich outcropping of gold and silver, the Comstock Lode, was discovered 40 miles from the Truckee Meadows.
  • Virginia City sprang up over night.
  • Charles William Fuller built a wooden bridge near the present site of Reno's Riverside Hotel, and charged a toll to everyone and everything that crossed his bridge. His bridge was washed away several years in a row

1860 -

  • April - Pony Express began its route from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA - about 200 miles.
    May 12 - Battle between Indians and whites near Pyramid Lake cost the lives of 66 white men, including Major William M. Ormsby.
  • June 2 - Force of 754 volunteers and regular US Army troops engaged the Indians in battle along the tableland and mountainside in retaliation for the battle on May 12th. 46 Indians perished in the battle.
  • November 3 - Territorial Enterprise newspaper resumes publishing a newspaper in Virginia City from the corner of A Street and Sutton Avenue, then the heart of the booming business district.
  • Placerville & Humboldt Telegraph Company Line extended lines from Carson City to Virginia City.
  • Wells Fargo Express and Banking Company opened an office in Virginia City, becoming the first bank of Nevada.
  • First ore mill built in in Nevada was built at Galena to process gold from the Comstock lode.
  • Nevada's population: 6,857.

1861 -

  • Charles William Fuller sold his crossing to Myron Charles Lake in 1861, the name becoming Lake's Crossing. While Lake improved the crossing, its population was essentially Lake's family until 1868 and the founding of Reno. It was not considered a village prior to 1868.
  • March 2 - By an Act of Congress, signed by President James Buchanan, the region achieved territorial status. Separate from Utah, officially adapting the name NEVADA, Spanish for Snow Capped.
  • July 11 Gov. Nye proclaimed establishment of the Territorial Government.
  • November 25 - the first Nevada Territorial Legislature met in Carson City and carved nine counties out of the newly created territory - Churchill, Douglas, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lyon, Ormsby (Later to become Carson City County), Storey, Washoe, and Lake Counties.
  • First school house was built in Washoe County.
  • First Board of State Prison Commissioners was created by the Territorial Legislature of 1861.
    Nevada's Territorial motto adopted - "Volens et Potens" - "Willing and Able".
  • Daily overland mail stage established.
  • Nevada's population was recorded at 14,404 persons, with the majority, about 4,581 persons, residing in and around Virginia City.

1862 -

  • Camp Ruby was established by Col. P.E. Conner and the Territory of Nevada recruited 1,100 men for Civil War service.
    Gold and Silver discovered near Austin, and the Reese River Mining District was organized.

1863 - Western Shoshone Indians sign treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by Te-Moak.

1864 -

  • October 31st - Statehood obtained. Nevada becomes the 36th state.
  • Since this was the time of the Civil War the state motto of "Battle Born" was adopted.
  • Nevada's admission as a state in the Union in 1864 was not contingent on its precious metal production. This is a long-standing myth! Nevada's mineral wealth was finding its way into Union coffers as early as March 2, 1861 when it was created as a federal territory and by its very nature an extension of the federal govt. and a part of the Union. Territorial Governor Nye was appointed by Pres. Abraham Lincoln to ensure the stability of the territory and the gold and silver production would not be disrupted or find its way into Confederate hands.
  • The longest Morse Code telegram ever sent was the Nevada state constitution Sent from Carson City to Washington, DC. and cost $3000. The first part was tapped out by Frank Bell, cousin to Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone.
  • While Henry Goode Blasdel was the first elected elected governor of Nevada, former Territorial Governor James W. Nye served as acting Governor of Nevada for some 5 weeks by state constitutional provision. The numbering of Nevada governors properly starts with him as #1, i.e. Kenny Guinn is the 28th governor of Nevada. Besides Nye, there were other men who served as governor, were not elected to office, and are counted as Nevada governors. Frank Bell (7th), 1890-91, did not run in 1890; Denver Dickerson (12th), 1908-11, ran in 1910 and lost; Morley Griswold (17th), 1934-35, ran in 1934 and lost..
  • William Sharon no luck in his prior search for gold. He meets William Rolston, owner of the Bank of California in San Francisco. Opens a branch bank in Virginia City.

1865 -

  • Octavius Decatur Gass (separate website) took over the Old Mormon Fort, establishing a station to supply Las Vegas Valley miners and settlers.
  • William M. Stewart and James W. Nye elected to the US Senate.
  • Sutro Tunnel Company formed.

1866 - The official Nevada State Seal was adopted.

1867 -

  • July 26 - Fort Halleck (separate website) formed as Camp Halleck by Captain S. P. Smith to protect the California Emigrant Trail and construction work on the Central Pacific Railroad.
  • Virginia City Miners Union formed.
  • Clark county becomes part of Nevada. Before 1867 it was part of the Arizona Territory.
  • December 13 - Locomotive from Central Pacific Rail Road edged across the state line near present day Verdi, becoming the first train to enter Nevada.9

1868 -

  • March 2 - The Virginia & Truckee Railroad Company established.
  • July - The first hot air balloon ride lifted off from Carson City, carrying Tony Ward.
  • The Central Pacific RR arrive at Lake's Crossing and the Central Pacific railroad (now Union Pacific) auctioned off 400 lots in a neatly laid out town site, now downtown Reno, named for Jesse Lee Reno, an American army officer who had served in the Mexican War and was later killed in Civil War action at South Mountain, Maryland, Sept. 14,1862.

1869 -

  • March 3 - Legislature passed an act for the construction of a suitable building for the care and maintenance of orphans of the state, located in Ormsby county.
  • May10 - The tracks for the Central Pacific Railroad met the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Summit, just south of Promontory, Utah. In Carson City, the Nevada State Legislature overrode the Governor's veto and formally legalized gambling in Nevada.
  • Elko County was created.
  • Late December an Earthquake shook Reno.
    October 19 - Construction on the Sutro tunnel began - to drain water from the Comstock Lode. It cost approximately $4.5 million and was 4 miles long.
  • Two wheel bicycles were introduced to Nevada.

1870 -

  • US Mint established in Carson City where coins were minted from 1870 to 1893.
  • November 4 - The first train robbery in the Western United States.
  • Nevada's population: 42,491 - 27 percent of the State's total were located in Virginia City and its environs.
  • Virginia & Truckee RR completed to Carson City.

1871 - Lewis R. "Broadhorns" Bradley elected 2nd Governor of Nevada 1871-79, (2 terms) and died in Elko on March 21, 1879.

1872 - Virginia & Truckee RR extended to Reno.

1873 -

  • March - The Great Bonanza Mine in Virginia City discovered. Eureka County was created from part of Lander County.
  • Nevada became the world leader in the production of Borax from the plant at Teels Marsh.

1874 - University of Nevada was opened at Elko.

1875 - Wednesday, October 27 - Virginia City , the great fire of 1875. Another fire laid waste to Eureka.

1876 - August 8 - Pat McCarran born, Reno.

1877 -

  • "An Act to Prohibit The Winning of Money from Persons Who Have No Right to Gamble It away," was passed.
  • Nevada Wildlife Commission was established.

1878 -

  • July 8 - The Sutro Tunnel completed, reaching the Comstock mines.
  • New Silver Dollar arrives, known as the Morgan Dollar, but no one welcomed it's return since it was discontinued in 1873.

1879 -

  • John Henry Kinkead 3rd Governor of Nevada 1879-83.

1880 -

  • October - Old Chief Winnemucca died.
  • Right to vote for political candidates was extended to non-whites in Nevada - yet still excluded Native Americans.
  • Nevada's population: 62,266.


  • Hawthorne townsite auction: only $1.4 million produced on Comstock
  • Fifty silver-lead mines were producing in the Eureka District.
    First high school opened in Nevada.


  • Jewett Adams 4th Governor of Nevada 1883-87.
  • Sarah Winnemucca wrote the book: "Life among the Piutes".
  • Piper's Opera House rebuilt on B Street in Virginia City

1884 - Sarah Winnemucca established Nevada's first school for Native Americans

1885 -

  • Carson Mint ceased operation.
  • State university from Elko to Reno.
  • Absalom Lehman discovered what became known as the Lehman Caves.
  • September 12, cornerstone laid for Morrill Hall, first building at University of Nevada

1886 - Fort Halleck in Elko County was abandoned.

1887 -

  • Ely designated county seat of White Pine County
  • February 4 - First electric street lamps in Reno
  • Charles Clark Stevenson(1887-90) 5th Governor of Nevada. Governor Stevenson was the first to die in office, September 21st, 1890.

1888 -

  • Wovoka, the Paiute prophet has a vision of the Ghost Dance
  • Both parties back free coinage of silver
  • September 29th - The cornerstone for the (now historical) Federal Building in Carson City was laid.

1889-90 - Winter - Known as the "White Winter" nearly 100 inches of snow fell - the heaviest snowfall in northern Nevada history. An estimated 90-95% of the state's livestock died during that winter.

1889 - April - Carson Mint re-opened with $1,600,00 in gold bars on hand.

1890 -

  • Francis Jardine Bell (1890-91) 6th Governor of Nevada.
  • Nevada's population: 47,355.
  • First installation of phones in Nevada was made by Francis Jardine Bell Consolidated Virginia Mine in Virginia City.
  • June 20 - Josiah and Elizabeth Potts were jointly hung in Elko County, Nevada for the crime of murder. Elizabeth was the first and only woman to be executed in Nevada.

1891 - Roswell Keyes Colcord (1891-95) 7th Governor of Nevada . Governor Colcord died in Carson City on October 30,1939 at the age of 100.

1893 -

  • June 24 - Nevada post office known as Los Vegas; perhaps to distinguish it from Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory was established. The remote post office in the Mojave Desert went by that name until December 9, 1903
  • Coin minting operations cease at US Mint

1894 -

  • Greenfield renamed Yerington
  • February 1 - The Great Meteor - A meteor fell and struck the ground between Candelaria and Bellville in Esmeralda County, Nevada
  • October 1 - Colored Republican Club with D. J. Harris president, Alex Harris Secretary, Wm. Lynch Treasurer was formed.

1895 -

  • Nevada legislature authorized the state's first public library in Reno.
  • John Edward Jones 8th Governor of Nevada 1895-96. Governor Jones died in office April 10,1896.

1896 - Reinhold Sadler became Acting (9th) Governor of Nevada 1896-1903 after Governor Jones died.

1897 -

  • Corbett-Fitzsimons heavyweight championship bout
  • Gold discovered in Searchlight by G. F. Colton
  • Reno was first incorporated in 1897, discorporated in 1899, and has been continuously incorporated since 1903. The City of Reno is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2003.

1898 -

  • Reinhold Sadler was elected Governor (already acting Governor from 1896.
  • Mint at Carson City was dismantled and re-equipped for assaying.

1899 -

  • Charles Fey invented a slot machine named Liberty Bell.
  • First Reno Arch

20th Century Nevada History Timeline

1900 -

  • May 19 - Jim Butler discovers gold at Tonopah
  • September 19 - "Wild Bunch" robs a Winnemucca bank
  • Henry Goode Blasdel, Nevada's first Governor dies at his home in Oakland, California.
  • Nevada's Population: 42,335.

1901 -Law was passed making it unlawful to sell horse-meat without informing the purchaser of its nature.

1902 -

  • Congress creates Newlands Project (Fallon, Fernley established)
  • Wyatt Erp arrives in Tonopah
  • Mayor worries Reno's "a wide open town"
  • John W. Mackay, most famous of all the Comstockers, died in London, England, at the age of 72.
  • Goldfield was discovered.

1903 -

  • Nevada's first offical Labor Day in Reno on September 7
  • President Theodore Roosevelt visit
  • John Sparks 10th Governor of Nevada 1903-08.
  • Construction of a railroad through southern Nevada was started to connect Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
  • Vitagraph Theater in Reno opened and was the first movie house in Nevada.

1904 -

  • Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad completed
  • Sparks named for Gov. John Sparks; Eno trolley line opens November 24
  • Wyatt Earp operated a saloon in Tonapah, "The Northern".
  • Virgil Earp, brother of lawman, Wyatt, and survivor of the famous shootout at the "O. K. Corral, became Deputy Sheriff in Goldfield. He later died of pneumonia in Goldfield, Oct. 19, 1905.

1905 -

  • May 15 - Las Vegas townsites auctioned
  • First state flag was adopted.
  • October 7 - First baby born in Clark's Las Vegas,
  • June 10 - First fire in Las Vegas broke out at 10:30 at Chop House Bills.

1906 -

  • Congress creates National Forests in Nevada
  • Gans-Nelson fight in Goldfield on September 3
  • Northern Nevada Railroad completed in Ely
  • August 1 - Service begins on V&T extension to Minden
  • Barnwell Searchlight Line was abandoned in 1924.
  • Union Pacific Railroad depot is completed in Las Vegas.
  • February 3 - Las Vegas gets first streetlights.
  • June 2nd - first carload of distilled whiskey to be shipped into Nevada directly from the distillery was received by J. O. McIntosh of the Arizona Club.

1907 -

  • Nevada's first Chamber of Commerce was established in Elko.
  • Ripetown founded.
  • Federal troops sent to Goldfield for labor troubles

1908 -

  • Denver Sylvester Dickerson 11th Governor (served his term as Acting-Governor),of Nevada 1908-11.
  • The burning of Chinatown was in Reno.

1909 -

  • First official Governor's Mansion
  • Jarbidge - Gold was discovered in this isolated area in 1909 by Dave Bourne, and a total of $9 million was produced.
  • Clark County was formed out of Lincoln County, Las Vegas made county seat.
  • December - A snow storm at Las Vegas left twelve inches of snow on the city.
  • July 3 - first marriage certificate filed in Clark County.

1910 -

  • Gambling was abolished in Nevada.
  • Las Vegas is nearly wiped out due to more than 100 miles of track on the Nevada route to Salt Lake being destroyed by flood.
  • June 23 - The first air flight in Nevada took place on the old Raycraft Ranch immediately to the west.
  • Nevada's population: 81,875.

1911 -

  • Last Indian "Uprising." Shoshone Mike and family members killed
  • Tasker L. Oddie 12th Governor of Nevada 1911-15.
  • Las Vegas becomes incorporated. The original boundaries for Las Vegas where from Garces Street to Stewart, and from Main Street to 5th Street.
  • Las Vegas population: 3,000.
  • Helen Stewart deeded 10 acres to Paiute Indians in the Las Vegas Valley area. T

1912 - First Mayor of Las Vegas, Peter Buol elected

1913 -

  • First state motor vehicle law passed, the license fee to be 12.5 cents per horsepower, minimum horsepower rating to be 20.
  • Nevada State Route 1 was designated as the first highway

1914 -

  • Nevada women granted vote by state election
  • New Reno arch

1915 -

  • Emmet Derby Boyle 13th Governor of Nevada 1915-23, (2 terms).
  • The second state flag was adopted.

1916 - December 5 - Jarbidge, NV - The Last Stage Robbery in the country took place in Jarbidge Canyon, one-quarter mile north of the town.

1917 -

  • Carson, Dresslerville and Reno-Sparks Indian Colonies established
  • March 20 - Sagebrush adopted as state flower.

1918 - State prohibition law goes into effect

1919 -

  • Pershing County created with Lovelock as county seat
  • First woman in State Legislature, Sadie D. Hurst
  • March 19 - Trans-Sierran Pioneer Flight. The first authenticated air flight over the Sierra Nevada
  • Clara Dunham Crowell was appointed the first woman sheriff in Nevada.

1920 -

  • First airmail out of Reno
  • July - Edna Howard Covert Plummer was the first woman to found a national bank. She founded the Farmer's and Merchant's Bank in Euerka.
  • Nevada's population: 77,407.

1921 - Ruth Averill, republican from Nye county was the first woman attorney to serve in the Nevada Assembly.

1922 -

  • July 21 - The first radio station in the state, station KDZK, was established in Reno.
  • August 23 - A fire in Tonapah which started from an unknown source near the Casino dance hall spread four blocks to the railway depot

1923 - James Graves Scrugham 14th Governor of Nevada 1923-27. Nevada, along with Montana, pass the country's first old age pension act.

1924 -

  • December 10 - O. D. Gass dies in California.
  • Chinaman was executed at the state prison with lethal gas, the first execution of this type.
  • All American aboriginal people (Native Americans) were given the right to vote by US Congress.

1925 - February 13 - A silver strike at the Piermont Mine in Spring Valley

1926 -

  • First Airport in Las Vegas established at Rockwell Field.
  • First air mail delivery departed Las Vegas 10:45 AM, piloted by Maury Graham.

1927 -

  • Fredrick Bennett Balzar 15th Governor of Nevada (1927-34). During his administration, he signed Nevada's open gambling law and the six weeks divorce law.
  • He was the only governor to pass away in the governor's mansion. He died there on March 21st, 1934.

1928 - US Government appropriates $165 million for the Boulder Canyon Project, later renamed Boulder Dam, Las Vegas by President Roosevelt, but changed again by Congress in 1947 to Hoover Dam.

1929 - The third state flag was adopted.

1930 -

  • September 17 - Actual construction on the dam began.
  • Nevada's population: 91,058.

1931 -

  • March 19 - The Governor of Nevada, Fred Balzar, approved the "wide open" gambling bill that had been introduced by Winnemucca rancher, Assemblyman Phil Tobin.
  • The first traffic light is installed in Las Vegas on Fremont Street.
  • 1932 - Pat McCarran elected to the US Senate.

1933 -

  • Construction worker Hard hat's were first invented and used specifically for workers on the dam.
  • Fremont Street was a bustling business district.
  • June 6 - The first concrete was poured for Hoover Dam.

1934 - Morley Griswold 16th Governor of Nevada 1934-35.

1935 -

  • Richard Kirman, Sr. 17th Governor of Nevada (1935-39).
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates Boulder Dam with a motorcade down Fremont Street.
  • The Las Vegas Elks Club institutes Helldorado Days, a week-long celebration of Las Vegas' frontier heritage featuring a parade on Fremont Street.
  • First convention held in Las Vegas.
  • May 29 - The last concrete was poured for Hoover Dam.

1936 - October 26th - The generation of electricity began at Hoover dam.

1937 -

  • February 24 - Three Federal Judges, Clifton Mathews, Harold Louderback and Frank Norcross upheld the decision made by a master in chancery and issued a permanent injunction against the enforcement that trains be limited to 70 cars, saying it was unconstitutional.
  • The Caliente Herald reported they were having the "coldest weather spell in memory for the past five days", with temperatures down to 10° above to 31° below zero, with 18 inches of snow.

1938 - April 1 - Carson City -Warden Lewis announced the formation of a the first State Police Department

1939 - Edward Peter Carville 18th Governor of Nevada (1939-45). In 1945 he resigned to be appointed US Senator by then Acting-Governor Vail Pittman.

1940 -

  • February 21 - The body of Queho was found 30 years after his first murder just a few miles from Searchlight.
  • Oldest mummified remains of man on the continent, known as the "Spirit Cave Man" were discovered by S. M. and Georgia Wheeler, in a cave in the Grimes Point area east of Fallon.
    Nevada's population: 110,247

1941 -

  • Thomas Hull, a local businessman who owned a string of motor inns in California decided to open the El Rancho Vegas. Thus the Las Vegas Strip was born.
  • January 25 - The city of Las Vegas leases property, formerly known as the Western Air Express runway and field, to the US Army Quartermaster for the development of an aerial gunnery school.

1942 -

  • Western-themed Hotel Last Frontier opened, using a stagecoach to bring gamblers from the airport.
  • January 17 - Famed film star, and wife of famed film actor Clark Gable, Carol Lombard died in an TWA Skysleeper crash when the plane she was on went down on Table mountain on the Potosi Range.

1943 - 3733 tons of scrap was collected in Nevada to help the war.

1944 -

  • March 3 - "A total of 1251 motor vehicle licenses issued to date this year in Nye Co
  • July 3 - Jack Dempsey, former heavyweight boxing champion, and Commander in the U. S. Coast Guard (in 1944) sold $453,000 worth of U. S. War Bonds in Washoe County.

1945 - Vail Montgomery Pittman became acting (19th) Governor (1945-50), July 24, when Governor Carville resigned. He was officially elected in 1946.

1946 -

  • December 26 - The Strip's third resort, The Flamingo Hotel opened under the control of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegal.
  • Nevada became the nation's leading producer of Tungsten

1947 -

  • March 1st - The Flamingo Hotel Changes it's name to The Fabulous Flamingo.
  • Air field was deactivated after the war.

1948 -

  • July - A B29 Superfortress bomber was on a scientific mission, when due to difficulties, it struck the water of Lake Meade at 250 mph.
  • September 2 - The Thunderbird opened as the Strip's 4th resort. It's name was changed in 1977 to the Silverbird, then again in 1982 to the El Rancho, which was imploded on October 3rd, 2000.

1949 - Air field was reactivated as the Las Vegas Air Force Base.

1950 -

  • Charles Hinton Russell 20th Governor (1951-1958 )of Nevada.
  • Student's at the Las Vegas High School recommend the Las Vegas Air Force Base be renamed in honor of Lt. William Harrell Nellis, who was killed in action over Luxomburg, December 1944.
  • Nevada's population: 160,083.

1951 -

  • Charles Hinton Russell 20th Governor of Nevada (1951-59).
  • Vegas Vic, 48-foot tall sign, the waving cowboy, who greets downtown visitors and Welcomes them to Las Vegas, is erected on the Pioneer Club.
  • Atomic testing began at the Nevada Proving Grounds.

1952 -

  • December 15 - The Sands opens as the Strip's seventh resort.
  • Jim Thorpe lived in Nevada for a time in 1952,

1953 -

  • KLAS, Las Vegas valley's first TV station, went on the air, as did KOLO in Reno.
  • An extension of the University of Nevada in Reno was established in Las Vegas known as Nevada Southern University
  • Uranium discovered in the Reese River Mining District.

1954 -

  • September 28 - Pat McCarran died at Hawthorne, Nevada.
  • February 15 - Ronald Reagan began a two-week engagement at the Last Frontier
  • First woman Mayor in Nevada was Dorothy Porter
  • First paved road between Las Vegas and Pahrump was built.

1955 -

  • February 18 - The US Government began a new series of atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds.
  • The nine-story Riviera Hotel became the first high-rise resort. May 23 - The Dunes opens as the Strip's 10th resort.
  • April 4 - The Last Frontier opens under new management and a new name - The New Frontier. The new owner didn't feel Las Vegas was the Last Frontier any longer, so he changed the name.
  • November17 - Fourteen people died when a C-54 transport in route from Burbank, CA to the area 51 installation on the dry Groom Lake bed, crashed into the west side of Mt. Charleston. The plane was transporting workers to test the U-2 spy plane at Groom Lake.

1956 -

  • Nellis Air Force Base became the home of the Thunderbirds, the aerobatic team of the Air Force.
  • Comedian Shecky Green, starred at the New Frontier, the opening singing number for him was Elvis.

1957 - US Government began a new series of atomic weapons test.

1958 - April 21 - A jet from Nellis AFB collided with a United Airlines DC-7, just west of Las Vegas, killing 49 people.

1959 - Grant Sawyer 21st Governor of Nevada 1959-67.

1960 - The El Rancho, the first casino on the strip burns down.
Nevada's population: 284,920

1961 - December 7 - Tribute to the 80 officers and crew members who died and the 140 which were wounded aboard the USS Nevada when it was attacked just 20 years prior at Pearl Harbor.

1962 -

  • July 6 10:00 a.m- H-Bomb tested
  • Denio, on the state border of Nevada and Oregon in northern Humboldt County got for the first time in the history of the town, 5 street lamps.
  • Post office was on the Oregon side in the 1890s, but in the 1950s one opened on the Nevada side.

1963 - The US Government resumed underground tests of nuclear weapons.

1965 - Nevada ranked first in the United States in production of Barite

1967 -

  • Paul Laxalt 22nd Governor of Nevada (1967-71).
  • First community college in Nevada opened in Elko.
  • The New Frontier changed hands, and names again. Under the ownership of Howard Hughes it no longer maintained a theme so it was simply called The Frontier.

1968 - October 18 - The $15 million Circus Circus Casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip.

1969 -

  • January 15 - The US Government held two underground tests. Again on 01/30/69 and again on 02/12/69 more underground tests were done.
  • July 4th - The Landmark Hotel opens.

1970 -

  • The burial site of the prehistoric Ichthyosaurs, would be protected by the Nevada State Legislature as the Berlin-Ichthyosaurs State Park.
  • Nevada's population: 488,738.

1971 -

  • Donald Neil O'Callaghan 23rd Governor of Nevada (1971-79) .
  • The Fabulous Flamingo changes its name again to the Flamingo Hilton.

1973 - The MGM Grand opened

1976 - Clark County Museum receives the Boulder City Railroad Depot and moved the structure to a new location for the museum on Boulder Highway in Henderson. The Depot, is now the headquarters for the Clark County Heritage Museum.

1977 - Ichthyosaurs Shonisaurus Popularis would become immortalized as Nevada's official state fossil.

1979 -

  • Robert Frank (1979-83) List 24th Governor of Nevada.
    Barbara Bennett was the first woman elected Mayor of Reno. She resigned in 1983 to accept a state level job.

1980 -

  • Labor Day - " Old Vegas" tourist town scheduled to open.
  • Nevada's population: 798,523

1981 - Nevada adopted the Lahanton Cuthroat trout as its official state fish.

1982 - Republican Patty D. Cafferata was elected state treasurer - the first Constitutional Seat won by a woman.

1983 - Richard H. Bryan 25th Governor of Nevada1983-89.

1987 - Congess established the Great Basin National Park

1989 -

  • Robert Joseph Miller (1989-99) 26th Governor of Nevada.
  • Mirage opens, beginning a new "mega resort" era.

1990 - Jan Laverty Jones was the first woman elected Mayor of Las Vegas.
Nevada's population: 1,236,130

1991 - Nevada's 125th (Birthday) Celebration Committee commissioned George Dare of Henderson, Nevada to write a new state song.

1993 - October 29 - The Dunes Hotel/Casino imploded.

1994 -

  • Final Helldorado Days Parade is held on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. Street is permanently closed to make way for construction of the Fremont Street Experience.
  • MGM Grand in Las Vegas was built with 5,005 rooms, and that hotel recaptured the "world's-largest" honors.
  • 26.8 million passengers pass through McCarran International Airport.

1995 -

  • November 7 - The Landmark Hotel & Casino imploded.
  • Clark County surpassed the 1 million population mark.
  • June - Gaming Control Board reports there are 176,995 slot machines statewide, and 5,782 live table games statewide.

1996 - November 26 - The Sands Resort Hotel imploded.

1997 - October 15 - First supersonic land speed record 766.100 mph was set in Nevada's Black Rock Desert 125 miles north of Reno.

1998 - October - Bellagio resort opened on the land once occupied by the Dunes Hotel.

1999 -

  • Kenny Guinn 27th Governor of Nevada.
  • March 2 - Mandalay Bay opened in Las Vegas.
  • Under new ownership, the Frontier changed its named again, back to the New Frontier. T
    May 3 - The Venetian opened in Las Vegas.

21st Century Nevada History Timeline

2000 - Nevada's population: 1,998,257

2001 -

  • February 9 - 3 Millionth marriage certificate recorded in Clark Co.
    March 14 - State of Nevada adapts an official "Tartan".
    May 8 - Town of Gabbs, Nevada's smallest city was disincorporated

2002 -

  • April 27 - The three killings in Laughlin on a casino floor were the largest number in Nevada history. However, there was a murder/suicide at Harrah's in its Reno casino that involved two killings (estranged husband and wife) on May 21, 1976. The tragic event was overshadowed by the murder of heavyweight contender, Oscar Bonavena, at the Mustang Ranch brothel east of Reno on May 22, 1976.
  • August 2 - B-29 "Superfortress" bomber, missing for over 50 years in Lake Mead, has been located Gregg Mikolasek.

2003 -

  • Flooding in Las Vegas Valley caused millions of dollars in damages;
  • Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy mauled onstage by tiger during show

2006 - US polygamist sect leader on FBI's Ten Most Wanted List arrested in Las Vegas

2007 -

  • Grand Canyon Skywalk Bridge opened;
  • aviation adventurer, Steve Fossett, reported missing

2008 - Steve Fossett declared dead after missing five months

2009 - OJ Simpson found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas, sentenced to 33 years in prison

2010 - Nevada had highest population of illegal immigrants in US; both houses of Nevada Legislature impacted by 12-years term limits; Tea Party targeted Harry Reid

2011 -

  • Crash at Reno air race killed three, over 50 injured, some critically
  • Dan Wheldon, Indianapolis 500 winner, killed in accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

US History Overview
US History Guide
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