Carson City, officially the Consolidated Municipality of Carson City,
is an independent city and the capital of the US state of Nevada,
named after the mountain man Kit Carson. As of the 2010 census, the
population was 55,274. The majority of the town's population lives
in Eagle Valley, on the eastern edge of the Carson Range, a branch of
the Sierra Nevada, about 30 miles (50 km) south of Reno.
The town began as a stopover for
California bound emigrants, but
developed into a city with the Comstock Lode, a silver strike in the
mountains to the northeast. The city has served as Nevada's capital
since statehood in 1864 and for much of its history was a hub for the
Virginia and Truckee Railroad, although the tracks were removed in the
1950s. Before 1969, Carson City was the county seat of Ormsby County.
In 1969, the county was abolished, and its territory merged with
Carson City to form the Consolidated Municipality of Carson City.
With the consolidation, the city limits extend west across the Sierra
Nevada to the
California state line in the middle of Lake Tahoe. Like
other independent cities in the United States, it is treated as a
county-equivalent for census purposes.
1.1 20th-century revitalization and growth
2.1 Geographic Location
2.3 Places of interest
2.3.2 Open land
4 Government and politics
5.1 Sports and recreation
5.2 Notable people
6 Economy and infrastructure
8 Historic buildings
9 See also
11 External links
Illustration of Carson City in 1877
Washoe people have inhabited the valley and surrounding areas for
about 6,000 years.
The first European Americans to arrive in what is now known as Eagle
John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont and his exploration party in January
1843. Fremont named the river flowing through the valley Carson
River in honor of Kit Carson, the mountain man and scout he had hired
for his expedition. Later, settlers named the area Washoe in reference
to the indigenous people.
By 1851 the Eagle Station ranch along the
Carson River was a trading
post and stopover for travelers on the
California Trail's Carson
Branch which ran through Eagle Valley. The valley and trading post
received their name from a bald eagle that was hunted and killed by
one of the early settlers and was featured on a wall inside the post.
As the area was part of the
Utah Territory, it was governed from Salt
Lake City, where the territorial government was headquartered. Early
settlers bristled at the control by Mormon-influenced officials and
desired the creation of the
Nevada territory. A vigilante group of
influential settlers, headed by Abraham Curry, sought a site for a
capital city for the envisioned territory. In 1858, Abraham Curry
bought Eagle Station and thereafter renamed the settlement Carson
City.[not in citation given (See discussion.)] As Curry and several
other partners had Eagle Valley surveyed for development. Curry
decided Carson City would someday serve as the capital city and left a
10-acre (40,000 m2) plot in the center of town for a capitol
After gold and silver were discovered in 1859 on nearby Comstock Lode,
Carson City's population began to grow. Curry built the Warm Springs
Hotel a mile to the east of the city center. When territorial governor
James W. Nye traveled to Nevada, he chose Carson City as the
territorial capital, influenced by Carson City lawyer William Stewart,
who escorted him from
San Francisco to Nevada. As such, Carson City
Virginia City and American Flat. Curry loaned the Warm Springs
Hotel to the territorial Legislature as a meeting hall. The
Legislature named Carson City to be the seat of Ormsby
selected the hotel as the territorial prison with Curry serving as its
first warden. Today the property is still part of the state prison.
Nevada became a state in 1864 during the American Civil War,
Carson City was confirmed as Nevada's permanent capital. Carson City's
development was no longer dependent on the mining industry and instead
became a thriving commercial center. The
Virginia and Truckee Railroad
was built between
Virginia City and Carson City. A log flume was also
built from the Sierra Nevadas into Carson City. The current capitol
building was constructed from 1870 to 1871. The
United States Mint
Carson City Mint
Carson City Mint between the years 1870 and 1893, which
struck gold and silver coins. People came from China during that time,
many to work on the railroad. Some of them owned businesses and taught
school. By 1880, almost a thousand Chinese people, "one for every five
Caucasians", has lived in Carson City.
Carson City's population and transportation traffic decreased when the
Central Pacific Railroad
Central Pacific Railroad built a line through Donner Pass, too far to
the north to benefit Carson City. The city was slightly revitalized
with the mining booms in Tonopah and Goldfield. The US federal
building (now renamed the
Paul Laxalt Building) was completed in 1890
as was the Stewart Indian School. Even these developments could not
prevent the city's population from dropping to just over 1,500 people
by 1930. Carson City resigned itself to small city status, advertising
itself as "America's smallest capital". The city slowly grew after
World War II; by 1960 it had reached its 1880 boom-time population.
20th-century revitalization and growth
As early as the late 1940s, discussions began about merging Ormsby
County and Carson City. By this time, the county was little more than
Carson City and a few hamlets to the west. However, the effort did not
pay off until 1966, when a statewide referendum approved the merger.
The required constitutional amendment was passed in 1968. On April 1,
County and Carson City officially merged as the
Consolidated Municipality of Carson City. With this consolidation,
Carson City absorbed former town sites such as Empire City, which had
grown up in the 1860s as a milling center along the
Carson River and
current U.S. Route 50. Carson City could now advertise itself as one
of America's largest state capitals with its 146 square miles
(380 km2) of city limits.
In 1991, the city adopted a downtown master plan, specifying no
building within 500 feet (150 metres) of the capitol would surpass it
in height. This plan effectively prohibited future high-rise
development in the center of downtown. The
Ormsby House is the
tallest building in downtown Carson City, at a height of 117 feet
(36 m). The structure was completed in 1972.
Places adjacent to Carson City, Nevada
Placer County, California
Douglas County, Nevada
Carson City features a semi-arid climate with cool but not
inordinately cold winters and hot summers. The city is in a high
desert river valley approximately 4,802 feet (1,464 m) above sea
level. There are four fairly distinct seasons, all of which are
relatively mild compared to many parts of the country and to what one
may expect given its elevation. Winters see typically light to
moderate snowfall, with a median of 8.9 inches (23 cm). Most
precipitation occurs in winter and spring, with summer and fall being
fairly dry, drier than neighboring California. There are 37 days of
90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually, with 100 °F
(38 °C)+ temperatures occurring in some years.
The average temperature in Carson City increased by 4.1 °F
(2.3 °C) between 1984 and 2014, a greater change than in any
other city in the United States.
Carson River flows from Douglas
County through the southwestern
edge of Carson City.
Climate data for Carson City,
Nevada (1981–2010 normals)
Record high °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Daily mean °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average precipitation inches (mm)
Average snowfall inches (cm)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA (extremes 1893–present)
Places of interest
See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Carson
Nevada State Capitol – original capitol still housing the governor's
offices with museum exhibits
Nevada State Museum – former state mint featuring rock, mining and
prehistoric exhibits, and a recreated
Wild West village
Nevada State Railroad Museum – featuring the Inyo locomotive and
relocated Wabuska Railroad Station
Stewart Indian School
Stewart Indian School – museum collection includes items from former
faculty, students and school
Foreman-Roberts House Museum – Gothic Revival architecture,
Sears–Ferris House (not open to public) – home of George
Washington Gale Ferris Jr., inventor of the Ferris wheel
Secret Harbor Beach, Lake Tahoe
Yesterday's Flyers, an aviation museum in Carson City.
Children's Museum of Northern
Nevada - Carson City
Silver Saddle Ranch
Mexican Dam – 1860s stone dam across the Carson River
Prison Hill –
California Trail historic markers, location of the
Carson Aquatic Trail
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Carson Ranger District)
Kings Canyon Falls
Snow Valley Peak
Snow Valley Peak – 9,214 ft (2,808 m) – highest point
within Carson City
Tahoe Rim Trail
Lake Tahoe –
Nevada State Park
Lake Tahoe beachfront (several beaches along
Lake Tahoe lie within the
Washoe Lake State Park
Washoe Lake State Park – borders city to the north
"C Hill" – hill featuring the Carson City "C" and giant American
See also: Race and ethnicity in the
United States Census
Carson City is the smallest of the United States' 366 metropolitan
U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census there are 55,274 people, 20,171 households, and
13,252 families residing in the city. The population density is 366
people per square mile (141/km2). There are 21,283 housing units at an
average density of 148/sq mi (57/km2). The racial makeup of the
city is 81.1% White, 1.9% Black or African American, 2.4% Native
American, 2.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 9.4% from other races,
and 2.9% from two or more races. 21% of the population are
Latino of any race.
As of the 2000 census, there are 20,171 households, out of which 29.8%
have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% are married
couples living together, 11.0% have a female householder with no
husband present, and 34.3% are non-families. 27.8% of all households
are made up of individuals and 11.00% have someone living alone who is
65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and
the average family size is 2.97. The city's age distribution is: 23.4%
under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 24.9%
from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The
median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 106.90
males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 108.20
Data from the 2000 census indicates the median income for a household
in the city is $41,809, and the median income for a family is $49,570.
Males have a median income of $35,296 versus $27,418 for females. The
per capita income for the city is $20,943. 10.0% of the population and
6.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total
population, 13.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.8% of those 65
and older are living below the poverty line.
As of 2010, 82.31% (42,697) of Carson City residents age 5 and older
spoke English at home as a first language, while 14.12% (7,325) spoke
Spanish, 0.61% (318) French, and numerous
Indo-Aryan languages were
spoken as a main language by 0.50% (261) of the population over the
age of five. In total, 17.69% (9,174) of Carson City's population age
5 and older spoke a first language other than English.
Government and politics
Presidential Elections Results
County consolidated with Carson City in 1969, and the county
simultaneously dissolved. The city is now governed by a
five-member board of supervisors, consisting of a mayor and four
supervisors. All members are elected at-large, but each of the
four supervisors must reside in respective wards, numbered 1 through
4. The mayor and supervisors serve four year terms. Elections are
staggered so the mayor and the supervisors from Wards 2 and Ward 4 are
elected in presidential election years, and the supervisors from Ward
1 and 3 are elected in the even-numbered years in between (i.e., the
same year as gubernatorial elections).
Nevada's capital is generally considered a Republican stronghold,
often voting for Republicans by wide margins. In 2004, George Bush
defeated John Kerry 57-40%. In 2008 however
Barack Obama became the
first Democrat since 1964 to win Ormsby County/Carson City, defeating
John McCain 49% to 48%, by 204 votes, a margin of under 1%.
Carson City, being the state capital, is home to many political
protests and demonstrations at any given time.
In an attempt to either make proposed spent nuclear fuel storage
Yucca Mountain prohibitively expensive (by raising
property tax rates to the maximum allowed) or to allow the state to
collect the potential federal payments of property taxes on the
facility, the state government in 1987 carved
Yucca Mountain out of
County and created a new county with no residents out of the area
surrounding Yucca called Bullfrog County. Carson City became the
county seat of Bullfrog County, even though it is not in Bullfrog
County and is more than 100 miles (160 km) from Yucca Mountain. A
state judge found the process unconstitutional in 1989, and Bullfrog
County's territory was retroceded to Nye County.
Sports and recreation
Carson City has never hosted any professional team sports. However, a
variety of sports are offered at parks and recreation. Many
neighborhood parks offers a wide variety of features, including picnic
tables, beaches, restrooms, fishing, softball, basketball hoops, pond,
tennis, and volleyball. The largest park is Mills Park, which has a
total land area of 51 acres (0.21 km2) and includes the 2 ft
(610 mm) narrow-gauge Carson & Mills Park Railroad.
While there are no ski slopes within Carson City, the city is near
Heavenly Mountain Resort, Diamond Peak and
Mount Rose Ski Tahoe
Mount Rose Ski Tahoe skiing
Carson City has served as one of the state’s centers for politics
and business. Every state governor since
Denver S. Dickerson
Denver S. Dickerson has
resided in the Governor's Mansion in Carson City. See also: List
of Governors of Nevada. The following personalities took up a
residence in Carson City at some point in their lives.
Duane Leroy Bliss, timber businessman
Orion Clemens, Secretary of
Steven S. Coughlin, American epidemiologist and author
John Cradlebaugh, first Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
Abraham Curry, founding father of Carson City and early politician
Dat So La Lee, Native American basket weaver and artist
Nellie Verrill Mighels Davis, journalist
David Eddings, best selling author of fantasy novels
George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., inventor of the Ferris wheel
Ellen Hopkins, author
Paul Laxalt, former Governor and U.S. Senator
Greg LeMond, two time World Champion road racing cyclist, and
three-time winner of the Tour de France 
David Lundquist, Major League baseball player (Chicago White Sox)
Maurice E. McLoughlin, two-time U.S. Open champion, member of
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Henry Rust Mighels, journalist, politician, first husband of Nellie
Verrill Mighels Davis
Hank Monk, stagecoach driver
William Ormsby, soldier and namesake of Ormsby
County and Ormsby
Donovan Osborne, Major League baseball player (St.Louis Cardinals)
Darrell Rasner, Major League baseball player (New York Yankees)
Mark Twain, author (lived with his brother Orion)
Matt Williams, Major League third baseman (
San Francisco Giants,
Cleveland Indians, and
Sarah Winnemucca, Native American activist and author
Economy and infrastructure
The following is a list of the top employers in Carson City from the
fourth quarter of 2012:
1,500 - 1,999 employees
Carson Tahoe Health
1,000 - 1,499 Employees
Carson City School District
500 - 999 employees
Carson City Municipal Government
Nevada Department of Transportation
200 - 499 employees
Nevada Department of Corrections
Legislative Counsel Bureau
Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
Click Bond, Inc.
Precision Castparts Corp.
Gold Dust West Hotel and Casino
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Welfare
and Supportive Services
Nevada Department of Taxation
Sierra Surgery and Imaging
Looking south on US 395, just south of US 50 in Douglas
There are two highways in the city
U.S. Route 395
U.S. Route 395 and U.S. Route
50. Carson City is home to Interstate 580, its only freeway. Phase
1 of the Carson City Freeway Project from US 395, just north of the
city, to US 50 was completed in February 2006 and Phase 2A, extending
from Rt. 50 to Fairview Drive, was officially opened on September 24,
2009. Phase 2B, Fairview Drive to Rt. 50, was completed in August
2017. Prior to 2012, Carson City was one of only five state capitals
not directly served by an Interstate highway; the city lost this
distinction when I-580 was extended into the city limits.
Carson City's first modern bus system, Jump Around Carson, or JAC,
opened to the public in October 2005. JAC uses a smaller urban bus
ideal for Carson City. However, there is virtually no ground
public transportation to other destinations. Passenger trains haven't
served Carson City since 1950, when the
Virginia and Truckee Railroad
was shut down.
Greyhound Lines stopped their bus services to the town
in 2006 and
Amtrak discontinued their connecting thruway bus to
California in 2008. There is now only a limited Monday –
Friday RTC bus service to Reno which is still served by both
Greyhound and Amtrak.
Carson City is also served by the Carson Airport, which is a regional
airport in the northern part of the city. Reno–Tahoe International
Airport, which is 28 miles (45 km) away, handles domestic
Carson City School District operates ten schools in Carson City.
The six elementary schools are Bordewich-Bray Elementary School,
Empire Elementary School, Fremont Elementary School, Fritsch
Mark Twain Elementary School, and Al Seeliger
Elementary School. The two middle schools are Carson Middle School and
Eagle Valley Middle School. Carson High School and the alternative
Pioneer High School serve high school students. Carson High is on
Nevada College (WNC) is a regionally accredited, two-year and
four-year institution which is part of the
Nevada System of Higher
Education. The college offers many programs including education, arts
Historic St Charles Hotel in Carson City
Former Carson City Post Office
The Governor's Mansion in Carson City
Paul Laxalt State Building - formerly the U.S. Court House & Post
Office, now home to the
Nevada Commission on Tourism
Carson Hot Springs
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Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau
C-SPAN Cities Tour. August 2013.
State of Nevada
Carson City (capital)
World War II
Black Rock Desert
Las Vegas Valley
Trout Creek Mountains
North Las Vegas
Capitals of the
United States by jurisdiction
AR Little Rock
IA Des Moines
LA Baton Rouge
MN Saint Paul
MO Jefferson City
NV Carson City
NM Santa Fe
UT Salt Lake City
AS Pago Pago
PR San Juan
VI Charlotte Amalie
American Old West
John C. Frémont
William John Murphy
John Wesley Powell
Ora Rush Weed
Touch the Clouds
"Wild Bill" Hickok
"Mysterious Dave" Mather
John Horton Slaughter
William "Bill" Tilghman
Harry C. Wheeler
Billy the Kid
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John Wesley Hardin
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Five Civilized Tribes
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First Transcontinental Railroad
Dead man's hand
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Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine
Lost Ship of the Desert
Seven Cities of Gold
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California Gold Rush
Confederate Gulch and Diamond City
Klondike Gold Rush
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Battle of Coffeyville
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Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Long Branch Saloon gunfight
Variety Hall shootout
Battle of the Alamo
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Cowboys and cowgirls
Timeline of the American Old West
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Salt Lake City
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