Just how old is Carson City?
August 11, 2008
Happy birthday, Carson City.
Or, maybe not.
As Nevada’s capital gets ready to celebrate its sesquicentennial this weekend, scholars have long been stumped as to the day when our fair city was actually born.
Historical accounts note that on Aug. 12, 1858, an 865-acre plot of land known as the Eagle Ranch was acquired by city fathers Abe Curry, B.F. Green, Francis Proctor and J.J. Musser for $1,000 from a John B. Mankin, and according to State Archivist Guy Rocha’s pamphlet, “The Forgotten Paternity of Carson City,” was so named by Proctor.
“I named the city myself,” Proctor declared in 1864, the year Nevada became a state. “Carson City is what we used to call it.”
However, according to historical archives, no exact date of Carson City’s founding is known. The deed transferring the land from Mankin to Carson City’s founders was signed on Aug. 12, 1858, but the deed wasn’t filed with the Ormsby County Recorder until June 11, 1862 ” nearly four years after the transaction of land took place.
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In fact, the only documented evidence that exists of Carson City’s founding on today’s date 150 years ago is found in the Ormsby County Register of Deeds on that date — just two pages, written in script that noted the transfer of ownership of land in what was then the Utah Territory.
The Nevada Tribune, in its July 22, 1876, issue, reported that the land that later became Carson City, was initially surveyed in September 1858.
“When the surveyor (J.F. Long, of Placerville, Calif.,) examined the premises, he doubted very much the propriety and feasibility of the enterprise, and urged its abandonment.”
Curry, on the other hand, pushed forth, according to “History of the State of Nevada,” desiring to see that Carson City become more than just “a city on paper only.”
Each of the four proprietors that year was then given plots of land equal in size, according to “History of the State of Nevada.”
A federal post office was established in the town on Nov. 18, 1858, according to Rocha’s historical account, “The Forgotten Paternity of Carson City.”
Carson City was later designated the Carson County seat on Jan. 18, 1861, and on Nov. 25 of that year, was named the Ormsby County seat and territorial capital.
The town was incorporated on Feb. 25, 1875.