Churchill County

Churchill County Courthouse
Built 1903

The Only Wooden Courthouse Still Used in Nevada

Established November 25, 1861, Churchill County was one of Nevada Territory's nine original counties. It was named for Fort Churchill, which was named in honor of General Sylvester Churchill. Churchill was Inspector General of the US Army in 1861, and was a Mexican-American War hero.

The original county seat of Churchill County was Buckland's Station, which is actually in Lyon County and served as the seat for both counties. In 1864, when the county was officially organized, the county seat moved to La Plata. In 1868 the seat moved once again to Stillwater, where it remained until 1903 when it moved to Fallon.

The Lahontan Valley, home to Fallon, undoubtedly forms the heart of Churchill County. Agriculture has always been a major part of the valley's history, as the Carson River runs through here before draining into Carson Sink to the north and Carson Lake to the south. Ranches and small stations sprang up along the river's two branches, and the 1902 Newlands Project brought more water to the area, turning it into one of Nevada's most productive agricultural locations.

The remainder of Churchill County is spanned by rugged mountains and wide open valleys. Several mining communities have come and gone over the years; none of them exist today beyond a shadow of their former selves. Several important routes, including the Emigrant Trail, Overland and Pony Express traversed across Churchill County in the 1800s and early 1900s, and in 1913 the Lincoln Highway was routed through the center of the county.

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