Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Nevada
NEVADA, a State in the Western Division of the North American Union; bounded by Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California; admitted to the Union, Oct. 31, 1864; counties, 17; capital, Carson City; area, 107,740 square miles; pop. (1890) 45,761; (1900) 42,335; (1910) 81,875; (1920) 77,407.
Topography.—The State is situated in the Great American Basin, having for its boundaries the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the W., the Wahsatch Mountains on the E., and cross ranges on the N. and S. It is a table-land 4,000 to 8,000 feet above sea-level. The State is crossed by a series of parallel mountain ranges with a general N. and S. direction. The principal chains are the Virginia Mountains, the Truckee Mountains, Antelope, East Humboldt, Toyabe and Santa Rosa Mountains. Between these mountains are deep valleys; the Colorado valley having numerous abrupt ranges, and peaks rising above its plateaus. The most important ranges of the Colorado region are the Muddy, Vegas, Spring Mountain, and Kingston Mountains. There are numerous lakes, the rivers having no outlet over the mountains. The largest lakes include Winnemucca, Und, and Pyramid lakes in the extreme W., Carson Lake and Humboldt and Carson Sink, E. of the W. Humboldt Mountains, and Eagle, Franklin, and Ruby lakes in the N. E. The Humboldt river crosses the N. part of the State and empties into Humboldt Lake. The Truckee river rises in Tahoe Lake, and flows S. into Pyramid Lake. Other important rivers are the Rio Virgin, Carson, Quinn's river, Reese river, and the Colorado river, which forms a large part of the S. E. boundary.
Geology.—The mountains of Nevada show formations of nearly every epoch, from the Azoic to the late Jurassic. The volcanic nature of the State is shown by the ancient and modern eruptive rocks, and by the lava beds of the N. W. The mountain ranges are in places composed entirely of limestone, in others of granite, syenite, porphyry, slate, or quartzite.
Mineralogy.—Nevada is rich in minerals, though, excepting silver and gold, they have been worked but little. The Comstock silver lode, discovered in 1859, was for years the most valuable in the world. Important new discoveries of gold and silver mines were made in 1910 and in the following years. This resulted in a greatly increased production of these minerals of the State. The copper production has also greatly increased in recent years. The gold production in 1918 was 322,776 fine ounces, valued at $6,662,000. In the same year there were produced 10,113,405 fine ounces of silver, valued at $10,113,405. Copper production in 1918 was 106,266603 pounds. Nevada ranks fourth among the States in the production of this metal. There is also a considerable production of lead.
Other minerals mined included tungsten, antimony, platinum, zinc, cinnabar, tin, manganese, plumbago, nickel, cobalt, and iron. Beds of sulphur, gypsum, rock salt, borax, saltpeter, and carbonate of soda are extensive. The building stones include limestone, granite, slate, sandstone, agate, and marble. Amethysts, carnelians, and tourmalines are also found.
Soil and Productions.—With the exceptions of the river valleys there is scarcely any arable land in the State. The valleys and basins however are well watered and adapted to agricultural pursuits, and under proper irrigation considerable mountain land has been made productive. The principal crops are hay, wheat, oats, and barley. The figures for agricultural production in 1919 were as follows: oats, 384,000 bushels, valued at $384,000; barley, 420,000 bushels, valued at $630,000; wheat, 668,000 bushels, valued at $1,429,000; hay, 526,000 tons, valued at $10,310,000; potatoes, 900,000 bushels, valued at $1,350,000. The forest trees are chiefly pines, firs, and spruces, of great size. The foothills are covered with mountain mahogany, dwarf cedar, willow, beech, cottonwood, and wild cherry. Apple, peach, pear, and plum trees flourish and bear excellent fruit. Stocky raising and dairy farming are leading industries.
Manufactures.—The State has not been developed along manufacturing lines to any considerable extent. There were, in 1914, 180 manufacturing establishments, employing about 3,655 wage earners. The capital invested amounted to $13,591,000 and the wages paid to $3,578,000. The value of the materials used was $9,317,000 and the value of the finished product amounted to $16,083,000. The principal articles of manufacture include railroad cars, dairy products, flour and grist, printed material, saddlery and harness, clothing, chemicals, boots and shoes, brick and tile, wagons and carriages, confectionery, lumber and timber products, and salt.
Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were ten National banks in operation, having $1,435,000 in capital, $1,583,379 in outstanding circulation, and $1,216,510 in United States bonds. There were also 23 State banks, with $1,678,000 in capital and $401,000 surplus.
Education.—There was a school population in 1918 of 14,441 and an average daily attendance of 11,014. The total expenditures for educational purposes amounted to $504,474. For higher education there were public high schools at Austin, Carson City, Elko, Eureka, Gold Hill, Reno, and Virginia City, and the State University of Nevada at Reno.
Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic; Protestant Episcopal; Mormons; Methodist Episcopal; and Presbyterian.
Finances.—The total receipts for the fiscal year 1919 amounted to $2,174,188 and the disbursements to $2,245,764. The largest expenditures were for schools, highways and administration. The State debt amounts to about $717,000.
Transportation.—The total railway mileage in 1919 was 2,483. The roads having the longest mileage were the Southern Pacific and the Western Pacific.
State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially. The Legislature had 17 members in the Senate and 37 members in the House. There is one Representative in Congress.
History.—Nevada is part of the territory acquired by the United States from Mexico, by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The first immigrants were the Mormons, who located in the Carson and Washoe valleys in 1848. The discovery of gold in California in the following year brought more settlers, and the discovery of silver still added to Nevada's growth. It was organized as a Territory March 2, 1861, and admitted to the Union in 1864. In 1866 its area was increased to the present size by the addition of parts of Arizona and Utah.