East Ely

East Ely got its start with the construction of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which began on September 11, 1905. The purpose of the railway was to connect the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company's mines near Ely and Ruth to a new smelter (which was built at McGill) and provide a link to the Southern Pacific at Cobre. A relatively level site one mile east of Ely was chosen for NNRy's new yard, offices, and shops, and the Ely Townsite Company (an NNRy subsidiary) laid out a new townsite. A fine stone depot was completed there in 1907, bearing the name "Ely". Residents of Ely objected to the name, which soon changed to "Ely City," then finally "East Ely" in 1908 when Ely proper gained its own depot.

Though East Ely was initially expected to gain a population exceeding 50,000 within five years, it struggled to gain a foothold as most of the services were already located in Ely, only a mile away. Nevertheless, it slowly grew to a population of nearly 2000 by 1970. After the mines closed in 1978, East Ely and Ely merged (though the East Ely post office had already become a rural station of Ely in 1974). After the smelter at McGill closed on June 20, 1983, the last Nevada Northern train parked at East Ely the next day.

In the years since, East Ely has existed largely as an extension of Ely. The city's greatest attraction, however, remains in East Ely: the Nevada Northern Railway. After the railway's closure, Kennecott Copper Corporation donated the yard, shops, and rolling stock as well as a portion of the line to the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation. Today the Nevada Northern Railway Museum offers excursion trains from East Ely to Keystone and McGill and the extensive yard and shop facilities are open for touring almost every day of the year.

Nevada Northern Railway

← Mosier • East Ely