Western Trips

Western Trips

Friday, August 29, 2014

See These Carson City Nevada Historic Sites

There's a lot of fun and educational things to do in Carson City Nevada for travelers young and old. Museum's, including the Nevada State Museum and the Nevada State Railroad Museum, historic buildings and houses and unique shops and restaurants are all part of the Carson City experience.

nevada state Museum
Carson City is the state capital of Nevada and a city that has plenty of interesting history. Just driving through town and taking in some of the historic sites tells you so much about the early western days of Nevada.

The first Europeans to travel through the area, then known as Eagle Valley, were John C. Fremont in 1843. Fremont named the river through the valley the "Carson River" in honor of his scout Kit Carson. The natives of the area were the Washoe people.

The first structure in the area was a trading post in 1851. The trading post was also a stopover for emigrants on the California Trail's Carson Branch. The trading post was bought by a man named Abraham Curry in 1858 and he named the settlement Carson City. Carson City was named after the famous mountain man, Christopher Kit Carson.

Attractions in Carson City include the old U.S. Mint building. The old U.S. Mint  is all about the great silver mining and the famous Comstock Lode. Add to that the Orion Clemens House, built in 1862/63. Orion Clemens was the brother of Samuel Clemens, better known perhaps as Mark Twain. Both Clemens brothers traveled to Nevada from Missouri by stage coach. Orion served as the first and only Territorial Secretary of Nevada and his brother worked as a reporter for Nevada's first newspaper in Virginia City. Another quite historic building you'll want to see is the old St. Charles-Muller Hotel. This hotel was built in 1862 during Nevada's mining heyday and is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Carson City.

carson city mint
The old Carson City U.S. Mint
The Old U.S. Mint

Congress passed the act creating a U.S. Mint in Carson City Nevada in 1863 and the building was actually constructed three years later. It was three years after that that coining machinery arrived to allow the mint to create coinage.

The Carson City U.S. Mint produced coins from 1870 to 1885 and again from 1889 to 1893. When the mint ceased operations in 1893 it's machinery wasn't removed for about six years later. Press Number 1 has an interesting story attached to it. After being removed from Carson City the press was moved to the Philadelphia Mint. In 1930 old Press Number 1 was changed to use electric power rather than steam.

After a time in Philadelphia the press was shipped across the country to the San Francisco Mint. hen that mint stopped stamping coins in 1955 the press was scheduled to be scrapped. A Nevada judge and citizens of Carson City purchased the press in 1958 and it was shipped back to Carson City. In the mid 1960's there as a coin shortage and the old Carson City Press No 1 was loaned out to the Denver Mint. Finally the press arrived back at Carson City Nevada in 1967. This may certainly have been the longest journey of any coinage press ever.

Today, the coin press is being operated at the Nevada State Museum by volunteers. The Nevada State Museum makes an excellent stop on your next visit to the Carson City/ Reno area. The museum and old U.S. Mint building is located at 600 N. Carson St., Carson City, Nevada. This is four blocks north of the State Capitol.

clemens house carson city nevada
The old Orion Clemens House
 Orion Clemens House

Among other Carson City attractions is the old Orion Clemens House. As mentioned above, both Orion Clemens and his brother Samuel Clemens traveled to Nevada in the summer of 1861. It was a tough journey from Missouri by stage coach and Samuel Clemens would later write about the stage coach adventure in his book, Roughing It.

After supporting Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election, Orion, a lawyer, was offered the job as the new Nevada Territory's first Secretary. This was the purpose of the trip and the reason that Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) headed west from Missouri. Orion Clemens served in that position from 1861 to 1864. Orion built his house in 1862 and his brother Samuel Clemens often visited this house.

The Orion Clemens House is located at 502 N. Division St. in Carson City. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

You may also enjoy our Western Trips and Trips Into History articles on the links below...

A Visit to Historic Truckee California in the Sierra Nevada

The Gatekeeper's Museum and Beautiful Tahoe City California

They Called It Hangtown For Good Reason

An excellent book to learn more about the colorful history of Carson City Nevada is...A Short History of Carson City by author Richard Moreno.

 st charles hotel carson city nevada
Walkway in front of the St. Charles-Muller Hotel
The St. Charles-Muller Hotel

The St. Charles-Muller Hotel is located at 302-304-310 S. Carson St. in Carson City. The hotel was constructed in 1862, the same year that Orion Clemens built his house, and is one of the oldest buildings in today's Carson City, Nevada. The hotel also has the distinction of being the second oldest hotel in Nevada. The hotel actually consists of two buildings. A two-story building is on the south and a three-story on the north side. The Muller Hotel was on the south side which catered to working class clientele. The St. Charles on the north catered to members of the second Territorial Session of the Nevada legislature.

The Italianate detailed hotel became the main stagecoach stop in Carson City. In fact, the hotel's owners set it up as the first stop the stagecoach would make in Carson City. Over the years since it's construction in 1862 the hotel has been known by several different names including the Pony Express Hotel.  

 carson city historic hotels
Historic St. Charles-Muller Hotel
Today, the old St. Charles-Muller Hotel has a restaurant on it's first floor. As of this writing, the top floors are still rented out as hotel rooms. 

Visitors to Carson City Nevada can enjoy learning about the historic past of this city which came to be and grew because of the western migration of the mid 1800's and the mining prospectors who crowded the area due to "silver fever". 

Carson City Nevada is located about 30 miles south of Reno, 27 miles northeast of the south shore of Lake Tahoe and about a 130 mile drive east of Sacramento California. 

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)

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