Mound House

Mound House, originally Mound Station, started as a tollhouse on the Mackay and Fair road between Carson City and Virginia City in the late 1860s, and got its name from mounds of gypsite in the area. In 1869, with the construction of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, Mound House became a station and transfer point for passengers and freight traveling to Dayton, Pine Grove, and other mining camps of the region. A crude community developed, and water was shipped in via the V&T. As mining declined on the Comstock, however, so did Mound House.

In 1880, Mound House regained some prominence when construction began on the new Carson & Colorado Railroad, which departed from the V&T here. On April 7, 1881, the first train left Mound House destined for Hawthorne. Subsequent extensions of the C&C to Candelaria and the Owens Valley helped transform Mound House into an important shipping point. In 1902, shipping traffic increased again during booms at Tonopah and Goldfield. Due to the necessity of transferring freight and ore between the standarg-gauge V&T and narrow-gauge C&C, Mound House severely bottlenecked and slowed transport. As a result, work began on converting the C&C (now owned by Southern Pacific) to standard gauge in 1904. In April 1905, the C&C was reorganized as the Nevada & California Railway, and in July standard-gauge rails stretched as far as Mina and Tonopah Junction. Around this time, work was underway for a shortcut to the Southern Pacific mainline at Hazen, eliminating the need to work with the V&T, and upon its completion in September, Mound House was effectively bypassed.

For the next few years, Mound House languished, however an increase in gypsum mining helped it hold on. In 1913, the Pacific Portland Cement Company built a large plant, connected to a quarry by an aerial tramway, and erected about twenty supporting buildings. This operation lasted until 1921 before relocating to Empire (near Gerlach). Mound House again faded into obscurity, accelerated by the loss of the V&T in 1939. Today, while the name Mound House lives on and refers to modern development, those developments have all but obliterated any remnants of the historic community (though the former roundhouse turntable still exists as part of a bridge in Carson River Canyon. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame today is as the location of the famous Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

I Visited Mound House
6.11.2020

See Also
Summit Station

Bibliography