Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Short History of the Rock Point Mill Site

Nevada has history, all over the place! Gold was discovered in Gold Canyon, just outside of Dayton, NV. A quartz-crushing mill site was built to process ore coming from Virginia City, also nearby, the site of the Comstock Lode, and where the "Rush to Washoe" started.

After the California Gold Rush had ended, gold was discovered in Nevada, near Virginia City. While mining gold, a huge silver deposit was found, called the Comstock Lode.

The Rock Point Mill was used to process ore coming from these mines, to extract the gold from the quartz. The original mill was built in 1861. It was powered by water from the Carson River, which ran 2,000 feet through a wooden flume, from the Rock Point Dam.

The mill burned down in 1882, and was replaced. Between 1909 and 1920, floods and more fires caused more damage. In 1920 the mill was finally dismantled and moved to Silver City.

Between 1920 and 1954, the old mill site was used as a local dump! In 1977, it was transferred to the State of Nevada, and developed as part of Dayton State Park starting in 1979. Now it sits along Highway 50, directly adjacent to the Gold Ranch Casino.

The mill had eight batteries of five stamps each, meaning it could process 40 tons of ore per day.

A volunteer giving a history talk, with a working model of a stamp battery.
The old reservoir that powered the mill is now a picnic area in a grove of cottonwood trees.
For a better description from a real historian, check out Backyard Traveler!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Northern Nevada and California are in the 4th year of a drought, so our lake is dry! Normally it is a shallow natural lake, 4 miles long and two miles wide, but right now there is hardly any water in Washoe Valley at all right now.

View of Washoe Lake from a distance...

Dry lakebed up close. We even have pictures of people flying kites out there!
Hopefully if we get a couple good winters, our lake will fill back up! There are 11 streams flowing into the lake, all dependent on snow melt. We need a couple years with a good snow pack in the mountains to maintain the lake.
 We got a couple rainstorms over the summer and fall, and people would always ask if that helped the lake out...not at all! All that will do is make it muddy...