The Nevada Traveler: From Stagecoach Stop to Railroad Station: The story of Currie, Nevada

View of one of the few active businesses in the old railroad settlement of Currie, located about an hour south of Wells.

View of one of the few active businesses in the old railroad settlement of Currie, located about an hour south of Wells.

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While there’s not much to see in the tiny enclave of Currie, located about an hour south of Wells via U.S. 93, the community has a rich history that dates back to the 1870s, when a freight and stage stop called Bellinger’s Spring was established there because of the presence of water.
In the 1880s, Joseph H. Currie started a ranch at nearby Nelson Creek. In 1906, when the Northern Nevada Railway started building its connecting line between the rich copper mines near Ely and the Southern Pacific Railroad near Cobre, the railroad located a depot at the halfway point, which became the start of a small community named Currie after the largest local rancher.
The first significant business to open in Currie was the two-story Currie Hotel, which was owned by Currie. Within a few months, a post office opened inside of the hotel (Currie was postmaster) and a second hotel, the Steptoe, was constructed.
The new settlement soon became an important transportation and livestock hub for the region. In 1908, a telegraph office opened in Currie, followed by a general store and a one-room schoolhouse, which was expanded two years later.
Currie peaked in about 1910 when the town saw the opening of another store, a saloon, and a railway section house and turntable. When the road from Wells to Ely was paved in the 1920s, Currie gained a gas station and store.
But Currie began a slow decline after 1941, when the railroad discontinued passenger and mail service at Currie due to a lack of business. During the period between 1906 and 1941, about 4.6 million passengers passed through Currie on the Nevada Northern Railway.
Nevada Northern Railway freight trains continued running through Currie until Ely’s copper smelters closed on June 20, 1983, and the railroad was shut down a day later. The post office, which had relocated to the general store in the late teens, closed in 1971.
Today, the original Currie depot remains standing as does the Currie Hotel. A handful of other buildings and foundations from the town’s early years, including the old schoolhouse, still can be seen.
The town still has about 20 residents, most of whom either work at a gas station and store that is still in operation, an RV park, or a highway maintenance station. There is also an old abandoned dirt airfield located about two miles from the town.
For information about Currie, check out Shawn Hall’s two Elko County books, “Connecting the West: Historic Railroad Stops and Stage Stations in Elko County, Nevada,” and “Old Heart of Nevada: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Elko County.” Both are published by the University of Nevada Press and are available via online vendors or from the press.
For additional information about Currie and some of its past residents, check out the Elko County Rose Garden historical website,

Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.


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