The first ore in the Farrell District was located by L. H. Egbert in 1863, however, the area wouldn't see much development until the early 1900s when Pete Marker, a well known rancher from Lovelock, located claims while running cattle in the vicinity. In May 1907, the townsite was surveyed by John G. Huntington, and was approved by the County Commissioners on May 25. The town was named for Jack Farrell, who also made a supposedly sensational strike in the area.

Despite a plentiful water supply from springs in Stone House Canyon, there wasn't an effort to pump water to the townsite until three years later. With it, there were plans for irrigation. The originators of the idea believed that the Farrell area would be fertile to yield such crops as green onions, lettuce, strawberries, and even oranges and bananas. The Farrell townsite also had enough water to provide a swimming pool.

In 1930, Gus Warmoth built a Huntington mill about two miles north of Farrell in Wildcat Canyon. It operated for a short time before being shut down due to a lack of ore.