Wandering Lizard

An Online Magazine with Information relating to attractions, lodging, dining
and travel related resources in selected areas of Nevada

Elko County


Elko, Nevada, is located on Interstate Highway 80 in the eastern portion of the state. Peter Skene Ogden was the first recorded Anglo-European to visit the area in 1827. Prior to that, the region had been the home of Native Americans for at least ten millennia. During the middle of the nineteenth century a vast array of different people flowed across the landscape following the Humboldt River route on their way to California for gold and land. As early as 1851 stage coaches crossed this way from Salt Lake City to Sacramento and in 1868 the railroad came to town. No one knows for certain the origins of the name Elko, but most believe that Charles Crocker, in 1868, while building the Central Pacific Railroad, named it after the herds of elk that he saw in the area. In any case, the town was established from nothing in January, 1869. In March of that same year it was designated the county seat of the newly established Elko County. After the transcontinental railroad was completed, a large number of Chinese workers retired to Elko to grow vegetables and Basques brought sheep onto the scene to dispute grazing rights with cattlemen on public lands. Today it is an important stop on Interstate Highway 80 with a considerable array of tourist facilities.

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