Nevada Historic Markers in Humboldt County

Nevada Historical Marker 21
Humboldt Canal
East 2nd Street at I-80

Humboldt Canal

The Humboldt Canal, sometimes termed the Old French Canal, coursed southwestward from Preble, near Golconda, toward Mill City. The present highway crossed it at this point, from whence it ran southerly toward the Humboldt County Courthouse on Bridge and West Fifth Streets.

The canal was conceived in 1862 by A. Gintz and Joseph Ginaca. The waterway, with a projected cost of $160,009, was to be 66 miles long, 15 feet wide and three feet deep, and with a fall of 35 feet. Its primary purpose was to supply water for over 40 stamp mills planned at the above Mill City, but it was also designed for barge traffic and some irrigation water supply.

Construction of the canal began in 1863. Louis Lay, a French emigrant from California, sub-contracted the first segment. Winnemucca city founder Frank Baud, another Frenchman, came on the project as a teamster.

About $100,000, largely French capital, was expended in building the Humboldt Canal to the Winnemucca area. Because of engineering errors and severe seepage problems between Winnemucca and Mill City, that section was never completed or used.

Several portions of the old canal are still visible in the Golconda area, in various sections of Winnemucca, and at Rose Creek, south of the city.

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