NoeHill Travels in the American West: Nevada

Points of Historic Interest in Washoe County

Points of Historic Interest in Washoe County: The Town of Crystal Peak 18 March 2016
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The Town of Crystal Peak
Henness Pass Road (Dog Valley Road) at the California/Nevada Border
Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park
Near Verdi

The Town of Crystal Peak

In 1864, the town of Crystal was laid out by the Crystal Peak Company west of this spot in order to prospect for gold in the rich quartz deposits that gave the peak its name. The miners were disappointed that the quartz deposits of Crystal Peak which had been used by Native Americans for millennia did not contain gold. The Crystal Peak Company opened the area's first sawmill which became the center of lumber and mining activity in the area. The town was located just inside the Nevada border. The Crystal Peak Post Office opened in July of 1864.

The company's sawmill furnished lumber for the advancing Central Pacific Railroad which reached this vicinity in the spring of 1868. By then the town of Crystal Peak had a population of 1500 people and a thriving business district which served the local industries and the immigrants passing along the nearby Henness Pass Road.

The Central Pacific chose to locate the railroad closer to the Truckee River thus bypassing Crystal Peak. The railroad laid out its own town site at Verdi. Crystal Peak soon began to wither and its post office closed its doors in November of 1869 immediately reopening in Verdi. Some of the town's buildings were also relocated to Verdi.

Von Schmidt's's 1872 boundary survey moved the state line to the east, placing Crystal Peak's surviving business in California. His field notes indicate that the Crystal Peak Brewery was some 300 feet south and west of this iron boundary marker.

Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park has four interpretive markers in addition to The Town of Crystal Peak marker: Overview, California/Nevada Boundary Marker, Truckee/Donner Trail and the Henness Pass Road.

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