History of Carson City
The first European explorers arrived in the Eagle Valley in 1843. The river flowing through the valley was named Carson River, after Kit Carson, a mountain man who was hired to explore the area. Because the area was originally populated by the Washoe tribes, the region was named after them. The first establishment in the area was built in 1851. It was a trading post called Eagle Station and it was one of the stops on the California Trail. At the time, the land belonged to the Utah Territory and the early settlers were eager to separate themselves from the Mormon-influenced politics of Salt Lake City, which was the territorial capital and to create an independent Nevada. In 1858, Eagle Station was established as a city by the name of Carson City, with the hopes that soon it would become the capital of Nevada. The next year population in Carson City began to rise following the discovery of gold in the area. The city became the territorial capital and the legislature met at the Warm Springs Hotel, later turned into prison.
Nevada became a state in 1864 and Carson City became its permanent capital. In addition to mining activities, trade and transportation became the basic economic activity in the city that continued to grow rapidly, boosted by the construction of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and a log flume from the Sierra Nevadas to the city. The state capitol and a branch of the United States Mint opened in the early 1870s. Another population boom happened at the time, when a large number of Chinese moved there to work on the railroad. However, after the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed, located too far away from Carson City, economic and cultural growth was brought to a halt and the city had to accept the fact that it would remain a small city.
After the Ormsby County was dissolved in 1969, Carson City became a consolidated municipality and an independent city that absorbed the surrounding towns, becoming one of the largest US capitals by land area.
Carson City was in the center of national attention in 2011 when a man killed four people and wounded several others before shooting himself in an IHOP restaurant in the city. Because at the time there was a number of members of the National Guard at the restaurant (which was later found to be coincidental and unrelated to the shooting), all military facilities and government institutions were placed in lockdown for a while.
Geography and Climate
Carson City is located in northwestern Nevada, at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It lies in the Carson River Valley, some 14 miles east of Lake Tahoe. One section of the city lies in the Carson Range. The climate in Carson City is semi-desert, with 256 sunny days per year. The summers are warm and dry, with hot and sunny days but also with significant drops in temperature during night. The winters are cold and snowy but with less snowfall compared to other, more elevated parts of the state. Carson City lies at 4,600 feet above sea level.
The city has the smallest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the USA. According to the 2010 US Census, of 55,274 people in the city, 81.1% are White, 21% are Hispanic or Latino of any race, 2.4% are Native American, 2.1% are Asian, 1.9% are Black or African American, 0.2% are Pacific Islander, 9.4% are from some other race and 2.9% are from two or more races.
Carson City Economy
In 2000 the median household income in Carson City was $41,809 and the per capita income was $20,943.
Carson City is the regional commercial and retail center with an economy based on farming, livestock, mining, manufacturing and distribution, but also on gambling. Since gambling was legalized in Nevada, in 1931, tourism developed as a significant source of revenue for the city, even though in much smaller proportions compared to Las Vegas and Reno.
The largest employers in the city are the State of Nevada, Carson City School District, Carson-Tahoe Hospital, Western Nevada College and companies such as Chromalloy Nevada, Wal-Mart, Casino Fandango, Carson Nugget, Click Bond Inc. and Gold Dust West.
Culture and Attractions
Carson City has a number of museums, most notably the Nevada State Museum, Nevada State Capitol, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Sears-Ferris House, Yesterday’s Fliers (an aviation museum) and Foreman-Roberts House Museum. The city is home to the Carson City Symphony and Carson Chamber Singers. Theater companies include the Proscenium Players, the Renaissance Projects and the Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company.
he city has eleven major casinos that draw many visitors from Nevada and from other states as well.
Carson City also has a number of open-land attractions and points of interest, such as Silver Saddle Ranch, Prison Hill, Tahoe Rim Trail, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, C-Hill and Carson Aquatic Trail.
The city has always been interesting to the filmmakers as a movie set, and several major movies, such as Bonanza, The Shootist, Misery, Pink Cadillac and Honkytonk Man were shot in Carson City.
Education and Sports
Carson City is home to the Western Nevada College, a two year and four year institution that operates under the Nevada System of Higher Education.
As for the sports, Carson City was never home to a professional sports team.
The city does not have a commercial services airport and the nearest one is Reno-Cannon International Airport. The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 395 and U.S. Highway 50. Intercity service is provided by Greyhound and Amtrak.