Dayton in Lyon County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Where Nevada Began
Dayton (known as Chinatown 1857-1861)
Dayton is the site of Nevada's first gold discovery (1849) and the state's first permanent Euro-American settlement, founded after miners created a tent town at the mouth of Gold Cañon in 1851. Initially called Ponderer's Rest, the town was named Chinatown after 150 Chinese workers arrived in 1857 to dig a water ditch from the Carson River to mining operations in Gold Cañon. The ditch project was the first significant construction project in the state. Dayton became a milling center, processing ore from Virginia City's rich silver and gold mines at mills on the Carson River.
In 1861, Dayton was named for town surveyor John Day and became the county seat of Lyon County in the newly created Nevada Territory. A year later, in 1862, the town was ranked the third-largest community in the territory. By 1865, Dayton had seven hotels, five saloons, three grocery stores, one brewery, three lumberyards, a military unit, farming and ranching operations that produced well for the region, and a schoolhouse. Mining waned, and by 1880 Dayton's population had dropped to 200.
Today, the Dayton
[sidebar] Dayton's History
Welcome to Dayton's Historic Sector.
In 1849, a pack train of Mormons traveling to California's goldfields camped near what is today the town of Dayton while waiting for the Sierra snow to melt. Their guide, Abner Blackburn, discovered Nevada's first gold at the mouth of the canyon. News spread to California. By 1851, hundreds of gold-seekers had swarmed into Gold Canon, where a tent city grew and ultimately became the town that was formally named Dayton in 1861.
Blackburn's gold find led to the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City in 1859, then to the creation of the Nevada Territory in 1861, and finally to statehood for Nevada in 1864.
Take a trip back in time: Close your eyes. Imagine it is 1853. Dayton's Pike and Main Streets are dusty overland emigrant trails teeming with pioneers, some on horseback, others on foot or riding atop oxen-drawn covered wagons; many of them had traveled nearly 2,000 miles on their trek toward California.
Dayton's rousing history is revealed through photographs and narrative on five historical kiosks located around town and in the Dayton Museum. (See their locations below.)
Dayton’s Historical Highlights:
• Home to Native Americans for thousands of years prior to Euro-American
• Site of Nevada's first documented gold discovery in 1849 at the mouth of Gold Cañon, where Dayton began.
• Site of Nevada's first cemetery, established in the 1850s in what was then lower Carson Valley, Utah Territory.
• Nevada's earliest permanent Euro-American settlement, inhabited since at least 1851.
• Site of first Chinese settlement in Nevada, 1857.
• Site of Pony Express stop called Nevada, 1860-1861.
(See original rock wall and monument, Pike and Main Streets.)
• Lyon County's first county seat, 1861.
• America's first transcontinental interstate, the Lincoln Highway, passed through Old Town Dayton.
Erected by U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Historical Society of Dayton Valley. (Marker Number 1.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Arts, Letters, Music • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Lincoln Highway 🛣️ series list.
Location. 39° 14.185′ N, 119° 35.402′ W. Marker is in Dayton, Nevada, in Lyon County. Marker is on Main Street just west of Lincoln Highway (U.S. 50), on the right when traveling west. Marker overlooks Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 58 Main Street, Dayton NV 89403, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Road to Nowhere (here, next to this marker); Carson & Colorado Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Hotel & Post Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Nevada Added Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Dayton (within shouting distance of this marker); Chinatown (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pony Express (within shouting distance of this marker); Odeon Saloon - Billiard Parlour (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dayton.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Dayton's History
Credits. This page was last revised on November 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 42 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on November 27, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.