- Austin, Nevada
Austin is a small, unincorporated community located in
Lander County, Nevada, in the United States. As of 2004, its population is approximately 340. It is located on the western slopes of the Toiyabe Rangeat an elevation of 6,605 feet. U.S. Highway 50passes through the town.
Austin, Texas, Austin was founded in 1862, as part of a silver rushreputedly triggered by a Pony Expresshorse who kicked over a rock. By summer 1863, the Austin and the surrounding Reese River Mining Districthad a population of over 10,000, and it became the county seatof Lander County (the seat was shifted to Battle Mountain in 1997).
Nevada Central Railroadwas built to connect Austin with the transcontinental railroad at Battle Mountain in 1880. However, by that time the boom was almost over. Major silver production ended by 1887, although there was a slight revival in the 1910s. In the mid 1950s there was a great deal of interest in uraniumdeposits in the area, but the ore proved to be of low quality. Gold and silver mining has continued in the area sporadically and at generally low levels of production. High quality turquoiseis still mined in the area in small quantities. This active turquoise mining, together with several shops that manufacture jewelry from local turqoise have made Austin a sort of Nevada Turquoise mecca.
Today Austin is a "living
ghost town", a well-preserved example of an early Nevada mining town. It contains three churches; the Catholic church and the Methodistchurch were both built in 1866. The Methodist Church is now used as a community center. The Catholic church, St. Augustine's, has been purchased and is being restored as a cultural center for Central Nevada. The Episcopal church, considered by some to be the prettiest frontier church still standing, was built in 1878 and is still in regular use. The International Hotel, first built in Virginia City in 1859 and moved to Austin in 1863 still serves meals and drinks, but does not rent out rooms (there is a motel across the street). The International Hotel is said to be the oldest in Nevada. Austin contains numerous other historical buildings, in various states of repair.
Stokes Castle, a strange three-story stone tower, is located just outside of town. It was built in 1897 by
Anson Phelps Stokes, a wealthy eastern capitalist who had a financial interest in several of the local mines. It was only occupied for a month, and then fell into disrepair.
Approximately fifteen miles East of Austin is a cluster of natural hot springs maintained by visitors and local volunteers. The Hickison Petroglyph Recreational Area, located [http://www.roadtripusa.com/routes/loneliestroad/nevada/lon_hickison.html 28 miles] east of Austin, features a short interpretive trail where visitors can see ancient drawings carved into the rocks. Free brochures are provided.
* [http://www.austinnevada.com/ Austin Chamber of Commerce page]
* [http://austinnv.blogspot.com/ The Austin Blog]
* [http://www.landercounty.org/county/austin01.htm Lander County page on Austin]
* [http://www.elkocountylibrary.org/austin.htm Austin Branch Library]
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