Nevada is nicknamed the Silver State because of its silver mines

November 29, 2012 4:26 am

Nevada
Nevada is nicknamed the Silver State because of its silver mines. Thousands of people came to Nevada to mine silver in the late 1800s. Boom towns grew up around every major mine. Many of these towns were abandoned after the mines closed. Today, Nevada’s abandoned mining towns, now known as ghost towns, are popular tourist attractions.
Facts About Nevada
Capital
Carson City
Population
2,570,000 people
Rank among states in population
35th
Major cities
Las Vegas, Reno, Henderson
Area
111,000 square miles
286,000 square kilometers
Rank among states in area
7th
Statehood
October 31, 1864, the 36th state
State nickname
The Silver State
Name for residents
Nevadans
State bird
Mountain Bluebird
State flower
Sagebrush
State tree
Single-Leaf Piñon
Abbreviation
NV
THE COMSTOCK LODE AND VIRGINIA CITY
The Comstock Lode was a rich deposit of silver and gold discovered in 1859 in central Nevada. Fortune seekers rushed in, and Virginia City grew up quickly near the mines. For a while, the town was fabulously wealthy, but most of the gold and silver had run out by the end of the 1800s.
Virginia City is now Nevada’s best-known ghost town. Stores, gambling houses, saloons, and dance halls from its pioneer days remain. Some of the buildings have been turned into museums with relics from the region’s past. Gold Hill and Silver City are other ghost towns nearby.
The Comstock Lode helped Nevada quickly become a state. Even though there weren’t many people in Nevada during the 1860s, the federal government wanted a share of the riches of the Comstock Lode. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Carson City, another boom town, was made the state capital.
Mining is still important to Nevada’s economy. Nevada is a leading producer of gold, silver, and other minerals.
LAS VEGAS
Gambling is Nevada’s main source of income. Nevada made gambling legal in 1931, and tourists have flocked to the state ever since. Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest city, is famous for its luxurious gambling casinos, fancy hotels, and exciting nightlife and entertainment. Downtown Las Vegas is known as Glitter Gulch because of all its neon signs. The Strip is an area of newer hotels and casinos just south of downtown.
Las Vegas even has a pyramid. It’s a 30-story hotel in the shape of an Egyptian pyramid. A copy of a sphinx in front of the hotel adds to the Egyptian fantasy. Other hotels and casinos in Las Vegas also have themes that create a make-believe world. One hotel has a roller coaster built on its roof.
Most of Nevada’s people live in the state’s two largest cities, Las Vegas and Reno. Las Vegas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the .
THE SIERRA NEVADA
Most of Nevada lies on a high plateau between two mountain ranges. The Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains rises to the east, and the Sierra Nevada rises to the west. Nevada takes its name from the rugged Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada range, meaning “snow-capped mountains,” was named by Spanish explorers.
Pioneers on their way through Nevada to California had to cross the Sierra Nevada. One group of 87 pioneers, known as the Donner party, met disaster in the mountains. They became trapped in snow during the winter of 1846 and 1847. Many of them died of cold and hunger, but 47 people survived. Some ate human flesh to stay alive. The Donner Pass and Donner Lake in the Sierra Nevada are named for these pioneers.
LAKE TAHOE AND RENO
Lake Tahoe is a mountain lake high in the Sierra Nevada. It lies on the border between Nevada and California, with the peaks of the Sierra Nevada around its rim. Lake Tahoe’s dramatic setting makes it one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Reno is near Lake Tahoe, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Reno is a popular tourist center, known for its resorts and gambling casinos.
Every September near Reno, hundreds of pilots race their airplanes at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show. You can watch races by several types of aircraft, including biplanes and jets. The pilots compete for prize money.
HOOVER DAM AND LAKE MEAD
Hoover Dam lies south of Las Vegas, on Nevada’s border with the state of Arizona. This massive dam on the Colorado River provides electricity for Nevada, Arizona, and southern California.
An artificial lake, Lake Mead, has formed behind the dam. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Lake Mead is a popular place for boating, swimming, and fishing. The nearby scenery is stark but beautiful. Steep cliffs and desert border Lake Mead.
LAND OF PLAYAS
Nevada landscape has strange, shallow basins called playas. These basins have no outlets. Rainwater and streams fill the basins at times, but the water never flows out. Yet the water eventually disappears. Where do you think the water goes? It evaporates—that is, it disappears into the air as moisture.
Playa comes from the Spanish word for “beach.” In Nevada, playas are sometimes called sinks or dry lakes. A playa with water is called a playa lake or a salt lake. The water in a playa is very salty.
RANCHING AND RAINFALL
Northern Nevada gets more rain than the rest of the state. It is good land for cattle ranching. The cattle ranches are large because northern Nevada is still so dry that a cow needs to graze on a lot of land to find enough food. Raising cattle is the major agricultural activity in Nevada.
Many of Nevada’s ranches are found near Elko on the Humboldt River. In January, Elko welcomes cowboys, cowgirls, and other guests to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This event started in 1985. The cowboys and cowgirls recite poetry, sing, and dance.
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