Historical markers abundant in Old Town Dayton
November 15, 2005
Has anyone read Dayton’s numerous historical markers installed by Nevada agencies? If you haven’t, here is my assignment to readers:
Nos. 1 and 2 of the seven markers are on the corner of U.S. 50 East and Dayton’s Main Street. One proclaims Dayton being called China Town in the late 1850s (Nevada’s first Chinatown), while the second marker reveals how Dayton came to be.
Next, move up Main Street to the west, where the Union Hotel marks the middle of the 49er immigrant trail. At this site, an 1860 rock wall remains, a remnant of the Pony Express Station called “Nevada.” Check out Main Street’s quaint buildings and businesses. We must preserve the Union Hotel along with the other buildings on Pike and Main Streets, all built prior to or during the 1870s.
Go back down to Pike Street. Head north to the Dayton Valley Community Center, formerly Dayton’s first high school, and the site of the 1864 Lyon County Courthouse, which burned in 1909. Today, the community center gets lots of use and needs some tender loving care.
Further down Pike, a marker tells the tale of the Camel Barn. Although camels weren’t kept there, as the legend goes, the old stone barn is known as the Camel Barn. Read about Nevada camels and their role in Dayton’s history.
Let’s go back up Main Street to work our way up toward Gold Canyon. A marker reveals the history of Spafford Hall’s Trading Post, which existed in the early 1850s when pioneers trekked through what is today’s Dayton.
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Lastly, continue up Main, which becomes Cemetery Road, to reach that historic cemetery’s marker. The cemetery is the oldest in Nevada, with many famous people resting there.
The Sesquicentennial marker is at the unique Bluestone Building (Lyon County Sheriff’s quarters and the Justice Court). This state marker was built by volunteers and dedicated to the prospectors who discovered Nevada’s first gold in the canyon in 1849.
— Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since 1987. She is a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.