DAR Historical Markers in Nevada

As part of its historical preservation endeavors, the DAR in Nevada has placed markers in places of historical significance.

Click on the marker name to see photos of these markers, a description of the historical significance of the marker location, and directions regarding how to locate the marker.
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Location: Virginia Street Bridge; Reno, Nevada

Dedicated: May 31, 1930

Marker Significance: Virginia Street is the main north/south thoroughfare in Reno. The Virginia Street Bridge spans the Truckee River just south of casino row and downtown Reno. Nevada's first bridge was built here in 1860. The marker is on the bridge pillar at the southeast corner of the Virginia Street Bridge, and marks the fording place where the first pioneers crossed the Truckee River in Reno on their way to California on the Overland Trail, and also the site of Nevada's first bridge. The bronze tablet was presented to the City of Reno on May 31, 1930, by Nevada Sagebrush Chapter.

Directions: The marker is located on the southeast pillar of the Virginia Street Bridge, which spans the Truckee River just south of downtown Reno. The marker is on the bridge; however, the bridge may be torn down in the next few years to make way for the construction of a new Virginia Street bridge. The History of DAR in Nevada Committee will be the designated contact for the City of Reno, so that when the new bridge is constructed, the marker can be appropriately relocated and rededicated.

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Location: University of Reno Campus; Reno, Nevada

Dedicated: April 1932

Marker Significance: Nevada Sagebrush Chapter planted this Norway Spruce on the University of Nevada campus between Lincoln Hall and the former Artemisia Hall, overlooking Manzanita Lake. The marker was placed as part of the George Washington Bicentennial program, and the marker was made by local Boy Scouts.

Directions: The tree is south of Lincoln Hall and the plaque is a substantial brass marker on a concrete base. The tree itself is between 75 and 100 feet tall. (The plaque is on the ground, northwest of the base of the tree.)

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Location: State Capitol Grounds, Behind the Blasdel Building; 209 East Musser Street, Carson City, Nevada

Dedicated: October 5, 1932; relocated and rededicated on April 24, 1959

Marker Significance: As part of the George Washington bicentennial, Nevada Sagebrush Chapter donated and planted the George Washington Baby Elm Tree, great grandchild of the famous George Washington Elm, on the grounds of the State Capitol in Carson City. The marker was dedicated on October 5, 1932, bearing the inscription "Washington first took command of the American army under the grandparent of this elm at Cambridge, Mass., July 3, 1775." On Arbor Day, April 24, 1959, the marker was rededicated and placed on the tree itself.

Directions: The tree and marker are presently located in the parking lot behind the Blasdel Building, 209 East Musser Street. The marker is mounted on the elm tree about 8 feet above ground level, just outside the rear doors to the building in the parking lot reserved for the State of Nevada executive officers (just behind the loading docks of the Nevada State Library & Archives Building).

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Location: Lorenzi Park Rose Garden; 3333 West Washington Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dedicated: October 7, 1954

Marker Significance: The monument was erected and dedicated in honor of Padre Francisco Garcés, the first recorded white man to enter what is now the state of Nevada. Francisco Garcés was a Franciscan monk, who in 1775, passed through the southern part of the state on his way to California. Francisco Garcés was among the great names in the Franciscan history of Arizona and California. His book of travels is considered one of the epic journeys of all North America. Francisco Garcés was born April 12, 1738, in Aragon, Spain, the son of Juan and Antonio Maestro Garcés. His uncle aided in his early education and at 16 he took his holy orders. When he was 25, he was ordained a priest and later attended the College of Santa Cruz de Questara, Mexico, where he prepared for mission work among the Indians. Because of his love for his fellow man and missionary zeal, he implored to be sent to San Zavier del Bac Mission. This was the point most exposed to the attacks of Apaches. From here he made extensive expeditions along the Gila, Colorado, and Mojave Rivers, from Bakersfield on the north through Needles on the south.

As a missionary and wanderer, rather than a road maker, Garcés was a solitary explorer who preferred to risk his own life. Traveling either on foot or horseback, he endured a life of great hardships. It mattered not where he went as he had just one dominating motive -- the Christianizing of Indians. To this end he visited nine different tribes composed of 24,500 souls.

King Carlos of Spain, however, was desirous of opening a land route from Mexico to California, and after reading Garcés' diaries in 1774, ordered Lt. Col. Bautista de Anza to confer with Garcés and plan two great expeditions to San Gabriel Mission and Monterey. This was done, but Garcés preferred to travel without protection of soldiers so as not to arouse the suspicions of the Indians he was attempting to help. In 1780, Father Garcés founded the missions of Conception and San Pedro.

It seems Spain had earlier promised Chief Palma, of the Yuma Indians, a mission to be erected in his area. Unfortunately, this was not done. So, after three years of waiting, thedisappointed and angry Yumas attacked the San Pedro Mission on July 19, 1781. Chief Palma sent tribesmen to find his friend Garcés, and his assistant, to escort them to Conception unharmed. They were found, but in spite of Chief Palma's orders, were killed. Thus the life from one of early America's great scholars, explorers, and soldiers of the Cross -- Padre Francisco Garcés -- was extinguished.

The monument was dedicated on October 7, 1954, at the former Las Vegas City Library on Carson Street between second and third Streets in downtown Las Vegas. The stone monument incorporated a rock from each of the then 48 states. The rocks were gathered by Mrs. Lydell Clement. The City Library property was eventually cleared to make way for the present day City Hall building, and the monument was removed and placed into storage. When the rose garden at Lorenzi Park was dedicated, the monument was relocated there where it remains today.

Later, Francisco Garcés Chapter also erected a flag pole at the Lorenzi Park rose garden.

Directions: Lorenzi Park is on West Washington Street, just west of the intersection with North Rancho Drive in Las Vegas. The Park is northwest of the spaghetti bowl interchange between U.S. Highway 95 and U.S. Interstate 15.

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Location: Old U.S. Highway 395; Washoe Valley, Nevada

Dedicated: 1961

Marker Significance: On October 31, 1961, Nevada Sagebrush Chapter presented and dedicated a marker at the site of Ophir in observance of the centennial of the founding of Ophir. Governor Grant Sawyer gave the dedicatory address at the 1961 marker dedication. See photo. In 1859, the discovery of silver in the Comstock Lode of Virginia City brought thousands of miners, loggers, and traders to the Washoe Valley. The town of Ophir was situated on the pine clad banks of Washoe Lake at the base of the Sierra Nevadas. In 1861, the Ophir Mining Company erected a mill for the reduction of ore from the famed Comstock Ophir mine. The Ophir Mill was built on Washoe Lake's west shore and was reached by an elevated causeway across what was then Washoe Marsh. In 1872, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad began service through Washoe Valley, connecting Reno to Carson City. By the late 1870s the mining boom was over and the towns around Washoe Lake were all but abandoned.

Directions: The marker is located on Old U.S. Highway 395 in Washoe Valley. From Reno, go south on U.S. 395. After you pass through Pleasant Valley, take a right (turn west) on Old Highway 395 at the north end of Washoe Valley. You will pass Davis Creek County Park (a Washoe County park) and road signs for Davis Creek Circle and Old Mill Place. The Ophir Mill marker is on the east (left) side of the road at a paved pull-out on a boulder between highway mile markers NV 429 WA 7 and NV 429 WA 6. If you reach Bower's Mansion (at NV 429 WA 5) or Maranatha Road, you have gone too far south. The DAR marker is in front of a large mound of stones and a large solitary pine tree and is very visible from the road. As you approach the marker from either side, there are State of Nevada Historical Marker signs.

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Location: Off Sierra Manor Drive; Southwest Reno, Nevada

Dedicated: 1965

Marker Significance: Established in 1862, the Huffaker Cemetery was the first known cemetery in the Truckee Meadows. The marker was placed in 1965 by John C. Fremont Chapter and a descendant of the Lyell Family to commemorate Huffaker Cemetery - the oldest cemetery in the Truckee Meadows – and the Nevada pioneers who were buried in the cemetery. The marker is located in the remains of the Old Huffaker Cemetery in the Sierra Manor Estates in southwest Reno on Washoe County parcel number 044-373-14. Today only a few of the original grave markers and grave sites of the pioneers remain. It is understood that when Sierra Manor was subdivided, the majority of the grave sites were destroyed before work was halted and redirected around the cemetery area.

Directions: To locate the marker, from South Virginia Street turn west on Foothill Drive and then north (right) on Sierra Manor Drive. Once on Sierra Manor Drive, the street will curve back to the right. Shortly after this bend in the road, the Old Huffaker Cemetery will be located to the west (your left) of the road out in open space behind the residence located at 901 Sierra Manor Drive.

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Location: Fort Churchill State Historical Park; 1000 Highway 95A South, Silver Springs, Nevada

Dedicated: October 22, 1967

Marker Significance: Fort Churchill was founded in 1860 at the height of Indian attacks on settlers in Nevada. The Carson River Expedition led by Captain Joseph Stewart was ordered to establish a post on the Carson River which would assist in guarding the Pony Express and other mail routes as well as the protection of settlers. Hundreds of soldiers served at the fort named after Sylvester Churchill, the Inspector General of the U.S. Army. The fort consisted of adobe buildings constructed on stone foundations in the traditional form of a square which faced a central parade ground. The onset of the Civil War made Fort Churchill a vital supply depot for the Nevada Military District and as a base for troops on patrol on the overland routes. Around 200 soldiers were stationed at Fort Churchill at any given time.

By 1869 Fort Churchill had outlived its usefulness. The adobe buildings were auctioned for only $750 when the fort was abandoned by the military. Remains of soldiers buried in the post cemetery were moved to Carson City in 1884. The cemetery remains a part of Fort Churchill today, but the only remaining graves are of the Buckland family, pioneer ranchers who sold supplies to the fort.

The State of Nevada, only seven years old, declined the chance to acquire Fort Churchill in 1871. For many years the fort lay neglected, used primarily as a shelter for travelers on the Carson River Trail. Some scavenged the fort remains for building materials.

In the early 1930s the Nevada Sagebrush Chapter took an interest in preserving the fort. The State of Nevada took custody of 200 acres of the original military reservation on October 6, 1932. Aided by the passage of Assembly Bill 189 by the 1931 Nevada Legislature, the State of Nevada in turn deeded the land and buildings on April 30, 1934, to the Nevada Sagebrush Chapter DAR to hold in trust. The National Park Service made restoration plans, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) renovated the fort remains and built the visitor center. But World War II pulled manpower away from the fort and it was vandalized and damaged from weather until interest returned in 1957, when it became a part of the Nevada State Park System. On February 16, 1961, the title of Fort Churchill was reconveyed from the DAR to the State of Nevada. A Governor's proclamation declared Fort Churchill a state historical monument.

Alice Baltzelle Addenbrooke, charter member and Honorary Chapter Regent of Nevada Sagebrush Chapter, was a tireless promoter of the restoration efforts of Fort Churchill. She authored The Enchanted Fort, a detailed the history of Fort Churchill published in 1968. Mrs. Addenbrooke also served as the 17th State Regent of Nevada, from 1941-1943.

The bronze marker reads: "This plaque commemorates the efforts of the Nevada Sagebrush Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution to preserve the integrity of Nevada's first and largest military outpost. Two hundred acres of the original military reservation were granted to the State of Nevada by the federal government on October 6, 1932. Nevada, in turn, deeded the land and buildings on April 30, 1934 to the Nevada Sagebrush Chapter DAR to hold in trust for the State and as custodian for the perpetuation and preservation thereof. By deed pursuant to trust, dated February 16, 1961 title to Fort Churchill was reconveyed to the State of Nevada that it might, by official proclamation, be designated a state historical monument." The marker was dedicated on October 22, 1967. Pictured at the marker dedication is Honorary State Regent Alice B. Addenbrooke, who was a featured speaker at the dedication and was instrumental in the Fort Churchill park effort.

Directions: From Carson City, take U.S. Highway 50 east through Dayton to NV-28. Turn right on NV-28 and continue to just before the junction with U.S. Highway 95. The route to Fort Churchill State Historic Park is well marked. The marker is mounted on a stone monument by the U.S. flag pole in front of the visitor center.

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Location: Reno-Sparks Convention Center (formerly Centennial Coliseum)

Dedicated: October 5, 1932; relocated and rededicated on April 24, 1959

Marker Significance: The marker was placed to memorialize the route of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, specifically where it ran from Reno to Carson City during its 78-year tenure. In 1868, the Central Pacific portion of the transcontinental railroad was nearing the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and would soon reach the Truckee Meadows at Lake's Crossing, the future site of Reno. A rail connection from Virginia City to the Central Pacific would drastically cut the cost of hauling freight to the booming mining town. Thus, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Company was incorporated, with a route running from Virginia City, north along Lousetown Road to the present site of Lockwood, ten miles east of Reno, where it would connect with the Central Pacific.

Factions in Storey and Ormsby Counties paid $500,000 to run the railroad through Carson City and Washoe Valley to connect to the Central Pacific at Lake's Crossing. Henry M. Yerington was appointed superintendent of the V & T. The timing was perfect. In May of 1868 the Central Pacific laid the transcontinental track into Lakes Crossing, 30 miles north of Carson City.

Grading of the V & T right-of-way began in February 1869. On September 28, Superintendent Yerington drove a silver spike into the first rail. December saw the first train from Carson City reach Gold Hill. In January 1870, the first official passenger train pulled into Virginia City. The V & T route began in Virginia City, curved its way a half mile south to Gold Hill, across the famous Crown Point trestle, through more curves to American Flat, down to Moundhouse and through Brunswick Canyon into Carson City. The route made enough turns in the trip to go around in a circle seventeen times. The V & T easily earned its name as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World." The turns were tight, with many of them more than the standard 14 degrees. The sharpest turn was an unheard of 19 degrees leading into Gold Hill. The 16 mile trip took 21 miles of iron rails imported from England. Six tunnels were built on the main line, all timbered against loose rock and zinc-lined to prevent fires.

By 1873, the entire run was open, from Lakes Crossing to Virginia City. In May 1873, a huge body of high grade ore was discovered in Mackay and Fair's Consolidated Virginia Mine. The discovery was the largest ever on the Comstock and became known as "The Big Bonanza." The V & T was getting rich, too, making four hundred thousand dollars a month hauling freight and passengers. In today's dollars, the V & T profit was nearly ten million dollars a month. Soon the busy V & T was operating 116 ore cars, 200 platform cars, and 361 freight cars hauling as much as 40,000 tons of freight each month.

By 1874, the V & T had 18 locomotives in service and was running 40 trains a day. Feeder lines were built to Yerington's wood flume at the south of Kings Canyon near Carson City and to the lumberyards at Clear Creek Canyon. Thousands of cords of wood passed through the V & T every month. A typical Comstock mine could burn upward of 25 cords a day for the operation of its hoisting works and the huge Cornish water pumps needed to keep the mines free of water. However, the V&T, like the mining boom, would not last forever.

Faced with competition from the trucking industry and the depletion of the rich Comstock ore, the V & T fought frantically to stay in business. In a last ditch effort to remain afloat, tracks were run south to Minden from Carson City and in August 1906, the V & T opened its lines to the agricultural and cattle freight from Douglas County, south of Carson City. In 1910, Superintendent Yerington and President/Owner Darius Ogden Mills, two stalwarts of the V & T, both died. The spirit of the V & T was nearly gone. Mills' grandson, Ogden Livingston Mills, took over the railroad and personally picked up the deficit the line was generating. But competing against improved trucks and highways proved impossible. By 1917, the majority of the ore cars had been scrapped and many of the other cars sold. The railroad continued to decline as the automobile and truck industry expanded.

In 1922, the United Comstock Mining Company built a large cyanide mill at American Flat that still stands today, and once again the V & T experienced a short rejuvenation. But the mines in Virginia City were played out, and in 1924, the straight passenger service to Virginia City was downgraded to mixed trains after 55 years of continuous service. In 1926, the American Flat Mill closed and left the V & T again running on the deep and generous pockets of its owner, Ogden Mills. In 1935, the Crown Point trestle in Gold Hill, the famous symbol of the Comstock, was torn down to mine the rich ore beneath. Soon after that, Ogden Mills, the generous owner and steadfast railroad fan who had been supporting the V & T, died. The V & T was placed in receivership.

In 1937, there was a short spurt of money as Hollywood began buying old V & T rolling stock to use in the movies. But it wasn't enough. In 1938, the Board of Directors of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad announced its intention to close down the railroad. They began selling off equipment as antiques. June 4, 1938, marked the last freight run to Virginia City. By then the trips to Virginia City were excursion trains for railroad buffs to the Comstock Lode. In 1941, the tracks to Virginia City were finally removed. The V & T was barely surviving on the revenues it earned as a feeder line for the Central Pacific. By 1945, the V&T had only three working engines, and was a diminutive reflection of its once glorious self. May 31, 1950, marked the official end of the V & T.

Some 22 years after the V&T disbanded, the Nevada DAR partnered with the Washoe County Fair and Recreation Board to commemorate its route through the Truckee Meadows. The marker was placed along the right of way of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad on the grounds of the Centennial Coliseum in Reno to mark the location of the former Virginia and Truckee Railroad, 1872–1952. The marker was dedicated on March 19, 1970, by the Nevada State Society and four chapters: Francisco Garces, John C. Fremont, Nevada Sagebrush, and Toiyabe. The Centennial Coliseum later became the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, and is located at 4590 South Virginia Street in Reno.

A renovation of the Center required the relocation of the marker in 2001. The marker was rededicated by State Regent Rose O'Grady on November 2, 2002. Another renovation occurred during the summer of 2007; however, the marker was replaced in substantially the same location and mounting.

Directions: The marker is located near the west side entrances of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center near where the original V&T tracks ran through the coliseum grounds.

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Location: Old U.S. Highway 395; Nevada State Historical Marker No. 114; Washoe Valley, Nevada

Dedicated: 1971

Marker Significance: The marker was placed by the Nevada State Park System and Nevada Sagebrush Chapter. The inscription reads, "Franktown was established by Orson Hyde, Probate Judge of Carson County, Utah Territory, in the Wassau Valley (Washoe Valley) in 1855. A sawmill was built and became an important enterprise in furnishing timber to the Comstock mines. The Dall Mill, a quartz mill of sixty stamps, employed hundreds of workmen. Fertile farms surrounded the town. With the completion of the railroad from Carson City to Virginia City in 1869, the milling business rapidly lost its importance and the once prosperous town declined."

Directions: The marker is located on Old Highway 395. From Reno, go south on U.S. 395. After you pass through Pleasant Valley, take a right (turn west) on Old Highway 395 at the north end of Washoe Valley. You will pass Davis Creek County Park and Bower's Mansion County Park. The Franktown marker is on the east (left) side of the road at a dirt pull-out on a standard Nevada-shaped historical marker between highway mile markers NV 429 WA 5 and NV 429 WA 4, less than one mile south of Bower's Mansion.

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Location: Lost City Museum; 721 South Moapa Valley Boulevard, Overton, Nevada

Dedicated: 2002

Marker Significance: The Lost City Museum was built by the National Park Service to exhibit artifacts that were being excavated from Pueblo Grande de Nevada. Anasazi Indian sites were being threatened by the waters of Lake Mead as it backed up behind the newly built Hoover Dam. The Civilian Conservation Corps assisted in the excavation of the sites and the construction of the museum building. The building was constructed of sun-dried adobe brick in a pueblo- revival style.

The museum is currently owned by the State of Nevada. Doctor and Mrs. William S. Park donated an archaeological collection and American Indian artifacts to the museum, now known as the Park Collection. The Valley of Fire Chapter placed a commemorative marker which reads: "Presented in memory of Doctor and Mrs. William S. Park as an expression of appreciation for their archaeological collection and American Indian artifacts by Valley of Fire Chapter, Las Vegas, Nevada."

Directions: From Las Vegas, take Interstate 15 north towards Salt Lake City. Take the NV-169 exit – Exit 93 – toward Longdale and Overton. Turn right onto NV-169/North Moapa Valley Boulevard. Continue to the right when North Moapa Valley Boulevard turns onto South Moapa Valley Boulevard until you come to 721 South Moapa Valley Boulevard in Overton. Estimated travel time from downtown Las Vegas is just over one hour.

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Location: The Gables; Goldfield, Nevada

Dedicated: August 22, 2010

Marker Significance: The original private residence of Charles and Blanche Sprague, located in Goldfield, Nevada, has been known as "The Gables" since it was built in 1907. It has been well documented that "The Gables" was the meeting place of the first DAR chapter in Nevada, organized on February 12, 1910. Mrs. Blanche Sprague, hostess, was also the Organizing Regent of Nevada and Mrs. Gretta Withers served the new Montezuma Chapter as organizing regent. The house has seen many owners over the past years.

Directions: From Las Vegas, take U.S. Highway 95 North towards Ely/Reno. In approximately 2.5—3 hours you will be in Goldfield. From Reno, take I-80 East towards Fernley. Merge onto U.S. 95 Alt South/NV-343. Go through the roundabout and merge onto U.S. 50 –Alt East. U.S. 50—Alt East becomes U.S. 50. Turn right onto South Taylor Street / U.S. 95 South. This will take you directly into Goldfield.