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Town History

The Legacy of Elko, NV

The history of Elko, Nevada began with the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1868—a feat of construction that would be an important step in opening the west.  Back then, Elko was little more than a collection of tents that would keep the rough-and-tumble spirit of its railroad workers for a long time to come. While a resort, newspaper and even an opera house were soon erected, saloons outnumbered other businesses in the city’s early years.

As the population steadily increased from travelers and businesspeople alike, Elko was chosen to be the first site of the University of Nevada less than a decade after its founding—and later became one of the first Nevada sites to start hosting big-name entertainment with a show from Ted Lewis and his Orchestra in 1941.

In recent years, gold mining has been a source both of changes and revenue for Elko: the city’s first boom lasted from the 1980’s to 90’s, with a second beginning in 2009.  For more information about the town’s history and how it stands today, we recommend enhancing your next stay with a visit to the Northeastern Nevada Museum or the California Trail Interpretive Center.