Strolling the streets of historic Dayton
July 20, 2017
The rich history of the former mining town of Dayton is revealed in an informative 12-panel pamphlet produced by the Historical Society of Dayton Valley.
The brochure is packed with information about historic houses, commercial businesses, schools, churches and other noteworthy sites and structures—each with a fascinating story—that can be found in the area.
One side of the brochure is devoted to an historic overview of the community, including its claim as the state's first settlement (this a battle that has raged for several years between Dayton and Genoa). Additionally, there is a detailed timeline that describes significant dates and events in the town's development.
The centerfold, however, is the most useful section for those who enjoy exploring old Nevada communities. Listed are nearly 50 historic places (many of which still have original structures) that tell Dayton's story. A useful color map accompanies the brief descriptions.
The Walking-Driving Tour portion of the brochure begins, appropriately, at the 1865 Dayton Schoolhouse (135 Shady Lane), which, today, serves as the home of the Dayton Museum.
This classic stone structure was used as a school until 1958 and is the oldest schoolhouse in the state that is still located on its original site. In the 1960s to the 80s, the schoolhouse served as Dayton's senior center.
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South of the school is historic Gold Cañon Creek, which flows from the small canyon where gold was discovered in Nevada. The original route of the creek has been changed over the years by various developments.
The heart of the tour is in Dayton's downtown, which is lined with various historic buildings and sites, each with a fascinating story. For instance, today's Dayton Justice Court (235 W. Main Street) was originally the Birdsall Mercantile erected in the 1860s.
Also called the Bluestone Building, this hand-quarried sandstone structure also served as a Wells Fargo & Co. office as well as home of the Bluestone Manufacturing Company, which made chemicals used to separate gold and silver ores from tailings.
The Old Saloon (160 Main Street), now a steakhouse, is a wooden building that was originally known as the Europa Bar. It was erected in 1885 on another location (the corner of Main and Pike) and moved to this site in the early 1900s.
Along the south side of Main Street are a handful of historic buildings that constitute the center of downtown. They include: the Fox Hotel (95 Main), which was built in 1889; the Union Hotel (75 Main), erected in about 1870; and the Old general hardware and grocery store (65 Main), which dates back to the 1870s.
Pike Street is also home to several historic sites and structures, including the Old Corner Bar (30 Pike), now a popular restaurant but originally home of the M. Meyer grocery store, which opened in the 1860s. Later the building was used as a dry goods store, then as an auto repair shop.
The two-story, red brick Odeon Hall at 65 Pike is one of Dayton's landmark buildings. It was erected in 1862 by the Odd Fellows and later was used as a hardware store, then as a theater and ballroom. In recent years, it has been used as a restaurant and saloon.
The historic Firehouse/Jail at 90 Pike is another of Dayton's older buildings, having been constructed in the 1860s, while the Camel Compound (200 Pike) was a hay barn built in 1861 that once corralled camels used to haul salt to the mines in Virginia City.
The Dayton Historical Walking Tour brochure is available at the Dayton Museum in the historic Dayton schoolhouse. For more information about historic Dayton, go to: http://daytonnvhistory.org/index.htm.
Rich Moreno covers the places and people that make Nevada want to visit.