McKeen Car, Goldfield Historic District added to state register
December 19, 2005
The Goldfield Historic District and the McKeen Car No. 70 were added Monday to the State Register of Historic Places by the Nevada Board of Museums and History, said State Historic Preservation officer Ron James.
The McKeen Motor Car, at the State Railroad Museum in Carson City, listed in September in the National Register of Historic Places, was added to the State Register.
It is noteworthy for its association with nationally significant developments in rail transportation in the early 20th century, and for the role it played in providing rail passenger and freight service to Carson City, Minden and Reno during the early 20th century as part of the expansion of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.
The car is the best remaining example of a rail motor-car designed by railroad engineer and innovator William Riley McKeen Jr. (1869-1946), who produced the first commercially viable application of internal combustion power to U.S. rail transportation.
The Goldfield Historic District is significant for its resources associated with the social, economic, governmental, community and architectural developments of Goldfield during its boom period.
“In 1907, the Goldfield mining district was the most productive gold producer in the U.S. and the second-most in the entire world,” said Terri McBride, national and state register coordinator of the State Historic Preservation Office. “It was one of dozens of mining camps and towns throughout central Nevada that recharged this state’s mining activity, comparable only to the great Comstock era.”
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The State Goldfield Historic District mirrors the boundaries of the National Register District as listed in 1982. Several contributing buildings’ physical states have changed since the original National Register listing, which are reflected in the recent State Register District nomination.
A flash flood in 1913 wiped out many smaller structures in Goldfield, and a fire in 1923 that destroyed about 30 blocks included much of the commercial area. However, the most representative architecture of historic Goldfield prior to the fire remains within the historic district.