Lander County

Frederick W. Lander, American explorer, Union Army general, and poet
Frederick W. Lander, American explorer, Union Army general, and poet

Lander County is located in the north-central part of the state of Nevada, in the United States. The county is named after Frederick W. Lander, a famous explorer and surveyor who played a significant role in the region’s history.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now Lander County was home to various Native American tribes, including the Northern Paiute and Shoshone. These tribes lived in the region for thousands of years and relied on hunting, gathering, and fishing to sustain themselves.

In the early 1800s, explorers and traders began to venture into the region, looking for new trade routes and resources. Among these early explorers were Jedediah Smith, John C. Fremont, and Kit Carson. These men mapped the area, established trails, and documented their encounters with Native American tribes.

In 1862, gold and silver were discovered in the region, and a mining rush began. The town of Austin was founded, and it quickly became one of the largest and most prosperous mining towns in the region. Other mining towns soon followed, including Battle Mountain, Beowawe, and Kingston.

As the mining towns grew, so did the need for infrastructure and government services. In 1864, the Nevada Territory was established, and Lander County was created as one of its original nine counties. The county seat was established in Austin, which had become the largest town in the region.

Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lander County continued to grow and prosper. Mining remained the primary industry in the region, and new towns and mining camps sprang up throughout the county. In addition to gold and silver, other minerals such as copper, lead, and zinc were also mined in the area.

The county also played a significant role in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. In the 1860s and 1870s, workers laid tracks through the region, connecting the East Coast with the West Coast for the first time. Lander County was an important stop on the railroad, and it provided supplies, food, and labor for the construction crews.

During World War II, Lander County was home to the Tonopah Army Air Field, which was used for training pilots and air crews. The airfield played a critical role in the war effort and provided employment opportunities for local residents.

Today, Lander County is a mix of rural communities, small towns, and mining operations. The county’s economy is still heavily dependent on mining, and the area is home to several major mining companies, including Newmont and Kinross. The county is also home to the Cortez Gold Mine, one of the largest gold mines in the United States.

Tourism is also a significant industry in the region, with attractions such as the Austin Historic District, the Hickison Petroglyphs, and the Toiyabe National Forest drawing visitors from around the world. The county is also home to several state parks and wildlife refuges, which provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and conservation.

Despite its remote location and rugged terrain, Lander County has played an important role in the history of Nevada and the United States. From the early explorers and Native American tribes to the miners and military personnel, the county has been shaped by the people who have called it home. Today, it continues to be a vital part of the state’s economy and a unique and fascinating destination for visitors.

Lander County Map

4×4 Trails

Pony Express Riders "Billy" Richardson, Johnny Fry, Charles Cliff, Gus Cliff - Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle (original tintype from the Martin E. Ismert Collection - Kansas City, Missouri) -

The Pony Express Trails and Stations In Nevada

The Pony Express operated for a very brief period of time from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861. The mail service allowed quick delivery…

Lander County Ghost Towns

Galena Nevada in the 1960's - Paher

Galena Nevada – Lander County Ghost Town

Galena Nevada was a silver mining from 1869 to 1907 and currently a ghost town located just just a west of highway 305 south of…
Wagon train hauling silver ore from the Little Gem mine in Tenabo to the railhead at Beowawe, 25 miles south - 1910 - Stanley W Paher, "Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell-North Books, William Kornmayer collection, p 91

Tenabo Nevada

Located at 5,354 above sea level, Tenabo Nevada is a gold mining camp and ghost town located in Lander County, Nevada Wagon train hauling silver…

Lander County State Historical Markers

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts the program became dormant in 2009.
Timothy H. O'Sullivan, Austin, Nevada, 1868, albumen silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment,

Austin Nevada – Lander County

Austin Nevada is a gold mining town located near Battle Mountain in Lander County, Nevada. The town boasts Nevada State Historic Marker number eight. Until…
The Murphy Mine and Shaft House in Ophir Canyon, Nevada

Ophir Nevada

Ophir Nevada is a ghost town and Nevada State Historical Marker number sixty four and is located in Lander County, Nevada. Ophir Canyon in the…
Stokes Castle - Julie Nicoletta, "Stokes Castle", [Austin, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Stokes Castle

Stokes Castle is a point of interest and Nevada Start Historic Marker number fifty nine located in Lander County, Nevada. The granite rock tower is…