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Things to do in Northern Nevada

A Little History About Nevada

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Nevada State Song:

Home Means Nevada

Written & Music by Bertha Raffetto

Way out in the land of the setting sun,
Where the wind blows wild and free,
There's a lovely spot, just the only one
That means home sweet home to me.
If you follow the old Kit Carson trail,
Until desert meets the hills,
Oh you certainly will agree with me,
It's the place of a thousand thrills.

Home means Nevada
Home means the hills,
Home means the sage and the pine.
Out by the Truckee, silvery rills,
Out where the sun always shines,
Here is the land which I love the best,
Fairer than all I can see.
Deep in the heart of the golden west
Home means Nevada to me.

Whenever the sun at the close of day,
Colors all the western sky,
Oh my heart returns to the desert grey
And the mountains tow'ring high.
Where the moon beams play in shadowed glen,
With the spotted fawn and doe,
All the live long night until morning light,
Is the loveliest place I know.

Home means Nevada
Home means the hills,
Home means the sage and the pines.
Out by the Truckee's silvery rills,
Out where the sun always shines,
There is the land that I love the best,
Fairer than all I can see.
Right in the heart of the golden west
Home means Nevada to me.

Governor Sandoval and his staff perform this rousing rendition of Nevada's State Song, "Home Means Nevada," in honor of Nevada Day, October 31st. (Words/Music Bertha Raffetto - 1932)

About Reno

Reno was born in 1859 when Charles William Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River which was eventually known as Fuller's Crossing. In 1861 Myron C. Lake bought the property from Fuller, changed the name to Lake's Crossing and began charging toll to cross the river. The crossing became an important stop on the main route between northern California and the silver mines in Virginia City.

In 1868 the railroad crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Sacramento California. Lake made sure that his crossing was included in its path by deeding a portion of his land to Charles Crocker (an organizer of the Central Pacific Railroad Company), who promised to build a depot at Lake's Crossing. Then the Virginia & Truckee Railroad extended its line to meet the Central Pacific Railroad and the new settlement of Reno appeared almost overnight. Reno was named after civil war General Jesse Lee Reno. Finally in 1885 the University of Nevada was moved from Elko to Reno and Reno became a bustling city.

About Sparks

There is more to Sparks than the few miles you see as you drive through on Highway 80. But in those few miles there are several important features, the Sparks Marina which used to be the Helms Gravel pit, the tank farm where all the gas and diesel is stored for the Truckee Meadows, John Ascuaga's Nugget, Legends and Wild Waters, our water slide park.

In 1902, there was nothing but swampland and ranches four miles east of Reno. There may not be another city that came to life in the unique way Sparks did. It's the custom-made town, special ordered by the Southern Pacific Railway Company. When the Southern Pacific railroad became the new owner of the main line across Northern Nevada, one of the first decisions made was to straighten the road and cut a few miles off the distance. The new route bypassed Wadsworth, which for 40 years had ruled the roundhouse and maintenance shops of Central Pacific.

The Southern Pacific railroad made an offer to the Wadsworth employees; a tract of land would be laid out next to the roundhouse, and the railroad would give everyone clear deed to a lot 50' X 140' in size. The railroad offered to pack up every house in Wadsworth and ship it to the new town, free of charge. Sixty-seven lots changed title that day, at a price of $1 per lot. And Sparks was born.....

About Nevada's Water

Promoters of western irrigation maintained that the federal government should be involved in developing the arid lands. George Maxwell, Frederick Newell, and John Wesley Powell met frequently with Wyoming Senator Francis E. Warren and Nevada Congressman Francis G. Newlands to devise a plan so that the government could sponsor federally funded water projects.

At the turn of the century, Nevada Senator Francis Newlands helped pass the Reclamation Act of 1902. The Newlands Reclamation Project diverted Truckee River water to farmland east of Reno, prompting the growth of the town of Fallon. Nevada's current water wars continue impassioned by traditional, historical, and environmental precedents. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1902 and as late as 1985 agree that the water vested in the original Newlands Reclamation Project is to be considered 'irrevocable' to the land owned by the agricultural users.