Nevada Historic Markers in Elko County: Tuscarora

Nevada Historical Marker 48
SR 273 and SR 274


This colorful historic camp originated with 1867's discovery of placer gold by John and Steve Beard. In 1871, W.O. Weed discovered the rich Mount Blitzen silver lodes, two miles northeast of the Beard claims. The camp was named by C.M. Bensen, who had served on the Civil War gunboat Tuscarora, namesake of a tribe in the Iroquois confederation.

Tuscarora's first boom, 1872-1876, boosted its population to 3,000 whites and a like number of Chinese. Hordes of the latter had swarmed here on foot from Elko in the summer of 1869, abandoned by the Central Pacific Railroad after its completion. They started extensive placer operations at the Beard discovery site, later called Old Town, to differentiate it from the main camp two miles distant on Mount Blitzen.

Estimates of silver and gold production during the camp's lifetime, 1867-1915, ranged from $10 million to $40 million. Principal silver mines were the Navajo, Belle Isle, Argenta, Commonwealth and Grand Prize. The only gold mine, the Dexter, opened after the principal silver strikes and operated continuously until 1898.

Toll roads, crowded with stagecoaches and long strings of heavy freight wagons, serviced the camp from railheads at Elko, Carlin, Battle Mountain and Winnemucca.

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