Nevada Historic Markers in Nye County: Big Smoky Valley

Nevada Historical Marker 42
Big Smoky Valley
SR 376
Carver's Rest Area

Big Smoky Valley

Named for its hazy distances, this valley has seen a parade of famous men and stirring events. Prior to the white man, the valley and its bordering Toiyabe and Toquima Ranges were favorite Shoshone haunts.

Jedediah Smith, intrepid trapper and trail blazer, was the first white man here, crossing the valley's southern end from the west in 1827. In 1845, came John C. Fremont, accompanied by such figures of the American West as Kit Carson and Basil Lajeunesse.

In 1859, Captain James Simpson located the central route across the valley's northern end. Thus began the historic decade 1859-1869, which saw Chorpenning's Jackass Mail, the Pony Express, the Overland Telegraph and the Concord Coaches of the Overland Mail and Stage Company crossing the valley.

Silver strikes at Austin (1862-1863) initiated the valley's first mining boom. A myriad of bustling mining camps sprang up: Bunker Hill, Kingston, Geneva, Santa Fe, Ophir Canyon, Jefferson, etc.

Following the 1900 Tonopah silver strike, mining surged again. During this time, two new towns, Manhattan and Round Mountain, started with a brief revival of many earlier camps.

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