Dayton Station – Pony Express

Dayton, Nevada is a small unincorporated community, and the location of the Dayton Station Pony Express stop in Lyon County, Nevada. The little town of Dayton is also Nevada State Historic Marker #7.

Union Hotel, Dayton, built in the early 1870s - Chester Barton collection
Union Hotel, Dayton, built in the early 1870s – Chester Barton collection

Many historical sources generally agree on the identity of Dayton as a Pony Express stop. In 1859 the Comstock Lode attracted 2,500 people to Dayton and made it a prosperous small town. Dayton had two Pony Express stations. The first existed in a building known as Spafford’s Hall Station, which had opened in 1851. Soon after the Pony Express began, the station moved to a new building that also housed stage activities.

When Richard Burton visited Dayton on October 19, 1860, he described a town that had already lost the gold-rush excitement of the previous year. A gravel pit now occupies the site of Spafford’s Hall Station, and the Union Hotel stands at the second Pony Express station site.

Dayton, Nevada courthouse built in 1864. - Chester Barton collection
Dayton, Nevada courthouse built in 1864. – Chester Barton collection

Dayton Map

Dayton Town Summary

NameDayton Station
LocationLyon County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2363, -119.5874
NPS Station Number163
Next Westbound StationCarson City Station
Next Eastbound StationMiller’s / Reed Station

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Dayton, one of the earliest settlements in Nevada, was first known as a stopping place on the river for California–bound pioneers.  Coming in from the desert, they rested here before continuing westward.

In 1849, Abner Blackburn found a gold nugget at the mouth of Gold Canyon and prospecting began in the canyon to the north.  Ten years later, this led to the discovery of the fabulous ore deposits at Gold Hill and Virginia City.

Called by several different names in its early years, the place became Dayton in 1861, named in honor of John Day who laid out the town.

For many decades Dayton prospered as a mill and trading center. It remained the county seat for Lyon County until 1911.



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