The great Nevada stay-in-place quiz: Are you a real Nevadan? Prove it! |

The great Nevada stay-in-place quiz: Are you a real Nevadan? Prove it!

By Rich Moreno

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing Nevada trivia questions to help pass the time while we’re all staying in place (or should the order be lifted, to at least see how well you know the Silver State).

The questions will appear first, followed by the answers.

Now, let’s see how well you know your state.

  1. What is the largest natural lake located entirely within the state of Nevada?
  2. True or false: Nevada is the driest state in the nation?
  3. What unique characteristic is shared by all rivers in Nevada’s Great Basin?
  4. What Nevada community was originally to be named “Casino,” until the name was rejected by the U.S. Postal Service?
  5. What was the first hotel-casino in Nevada to offer customers big-name entertainment as an incentive to attract customers?
  6. What was the name of the first legal gambling casino licensed in Nevada?
  7. What was the first skyscraper built in Nevada?
  8. What is the tallest structure in Nevada?
  9. What four Nevada counties no longer exist?
  10. In which Nevada counties do the county seats have the same name as the county?


  1. Pyramid Lake, located 35 miles north of Reno, has that distinction. The lake, fed by the Truckee River, measures 27 feet long and 9 miles wide.
  2. True. The statewide average annual rainfall is 9.5 inches.
  3. Rivers in the Great Basin do not flow to an ocean. Like most other rivers in the world. Instead, they flow inland, either to a lake or into a large sink.
  4. Laughlin, Nev., was originally proposed to be named “Casino” by Don Laughlin, the town’s founder and owner of one of the town’s largest resorts (the Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino). A postal inspector suggested “Laughlin” because both he and the casino owner shared an Irish heritage.
  5. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in Las Vegas or even Reno, but in Elko’s Commercial Hotel. In 1941, the Commercial booked Ted Lewis and his orchestra for an eight-day engagement at a cost of $12,000. The resulting publicity attracted record crowds and owner Newton Crumley followed up with other performers, including Paul Whiteman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and the Andrews Sisters. Seeing his success, resorts in Reno and Las Vegas soon followed suit.
  6. The first was the Northern Club on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, which received Clark County gaming permit No. 1 on March 20, 1931, a day after gambling was made legal in Nevada.
  7. In 1947, the 12-story art deco Mapes Hotel and Casino opened in Reno. The towering structure, which was sadly demolished in 2000, was the tallest building in the state until 1956, when the 15-story Fremont Hotel opened in downtown Las Vegas.
  8. The Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas is 1,149 feet high, making it the tallest structure in the state.
  9. The four are Lake County, which once encompassed the northwestern corner of the state (now part of Washoe County) was created in 1861 as one of the original nine counties in Nevada. A year later, it was renamed Roop County after Isaac Roop, governor of an unofficial provisional territorial government of the Nevada Territory. In 1865, following a boundary dispute with the state of California, much of Roop became part of Plumas County, Calif., while the remaining area was ceded to Washoe County. The third is Ormsby County, also created in 1861, which became part of the consolidated city-county of Carson City in 1969. The fourth was Bullfrog County, a short-lived legal entity created in 1987 by the Nevada Legislature so the state could heavily tax the federal government’s proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. It was ruled invalid by the Nevada Supreme Court a year later and was dissolved.
  10. There are three: Carson City, Elko and Eureka.

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