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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Consolidated Municipality of
Carson City, Nevada
—  Independent city  —
Capitol Building

Motto: Proud of its Past...Confident of its Future
Location in Nevada
Coordinates: 39°9′39″N 119°45′14″W / 39.16083°N 119.75389°W / 39.16083; -119.75389Coordinates: 39°9′39″N 119°45′14″W / 39.16083°N 119.75389°W / 39.16083; -119.75389
Country United States
State Nevada
Founded 1858
 - Mayor Bob Crowell
 - Senate Mark E. Amodei (R)
 - Assembly Bonnie Parnell (D)
 - U.S. Congress Dean Heller (R)
 - Total 168 sq mi (435 km2)
 - Land 156 sq mi (403 km2)
 - Water 12 sq mi (32 km2)  7.91%
Elevation 4,802 ft (1,463 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 52,547
 Density 365.2/sq mi (141/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 89701-89706, 89711-89714, 89721
Area code(s) 775
Carson City in 1877

The Consolidated Municipality of Carson City is the capital of the State of Nevada. The population was 52,457 at the 2000 census.



The first Europeans to arrive in what is known as Eagle Valley were John C. Fremont and his exploration party in January 1843.[1] Fremont named the river flowing through the valley, Carson River, in honor of his famous mountain man scout, Christopher "Kit" Carson. Prior to Fremont's expedition, Washoe Indians inhabited the valley and surrounding areas.

By 1851 the Eagle Station ranch located along the Carson River served as a trading post and stopover for travelers on the California Trail's Carson Branch which ran through Eagle Valley. The trading post and valley received their name from a bald eagle, hunted and killed by one of the early settlers, featured on the wall of the post. In 1858 Abraham Curry bought Eagle Station and named the settlement there Carson City after the Carson River and indirectly after Kit Carson.[2]

As Curry and several other partners had Eagle Valley surveyed for development. Curry had decided for himself that Carson City would someday serve as the capital city and left a 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot open in the center of town for a future capitol building.

Following the discovery of gold and silver on the nearby Comstock Lode in 1859, Carson City's population began to rise. Curry built the crude Warm Springs Hotel a mile to the east of downtown. As he predicted Carson City was selected as the territorial capital, beating out Virginia City and American Flat. Curry loaned the Warm Springs Hotel to the territorial Legislature as a meeting hall. The Legislature named Carson City to be the seat of Ormsby County and selected the hotel as the territorial prison with Curry serving as its first warden. Today the property still serves as part of the state prison.

When Nevada became a state in 1864 during the Civil War, Carson City was confirmed as permanent capital. Carson City's development was no longer dependent on the mining industry and instead became a thriving commercial center. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad was built between Virginia City and Carson City. A wooden flume was also built from the Sierra Nevadas into Carson City. The current capitol building was constructed from 1870-71.

Carson City's population and transportation traffic plummeted when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line through Donner Pass, too far to the north to benefit Carson City. The city was slightly revitalized with the mining booms in Tonopah and Goldfield. The U.S. Federal building (now renamed the Paul Laxalt Building) was completed in 1890 as was the Stewart Indian School. Carson City resigned itself to small city status advertising as "America's smallest capital." The city slowly grew, and by 1960 it had reached its 1880 population. Portions of Ormsby County had been given over to neighboring counties and by this time the county was not much larger than the city itself. In 1969 Ormsby County was officially dissolved and Carson City took over all municipal services with an independent city status. With this consolidation, Carson City absorbed former town sites such as Empire City, which had grown up in the 1860s as a milling center along the Carson River and current US 50. Carson City could now advertise itself as one of America's largest state capitals with its 146 square miles (380 km2) of city limits.[3]

In 1991, the city adopted a downtown master plan, specifying that no building within 500 feet (152 m) of the capitol is allowed to pass it in height, which prohibits future high-rise development in the center of downtown.[4] The Ormsby House is currently the tallest building in downtown Carson City, at a height of 117 feet. The structure was completed in 1972.[5]


Former towns within city limits

Lakeview was established by the Virginia & Truckee Water Co. in 1870, taking its name from the views offered there of Washoe Lake. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad later made a station and post office there. The Lakeview post office continued in operation on and off until 1894. Lakeview is today a residential neighborhood along the west side of US 395 on the north border of the city limits.

Empire City started on the north bank of the Carson River as an overland station and tavern run by an early resident named Nicholas "Dutch Nick" Ambrose. Empire City thrived on the silver and logging industries and as early as 1860 streets and lots were surveyed. The town was nicknamed "Seaport" due to the large amount of logging traffic on the Carson River. The city grew to a peak of 700 inhabitants between 1865 and 1875 and featured hotels, grocery stores, real estate offices, saloons, stables and an elementary school. A number of mills ran throughout the Carson River Canyon just to the east as well as the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Empire City declined as the Comstock declined. The post office closed in 1910 and only one family remained by 1960. Today the residential neighborhood of New Empire is located near the intersection of US 50 and Fairview Drive west of the original Empire City. Empire Cemetery still remains overlooking the Carson River at the site of the Morgan Mill.


The largest nearby city to Carson City is Reno, about 30 miles (48 km) to the north. Carson City is one of only two capital cities in the United States that borders another state (California) (the other is Trenton, New Jersey, bordering Pennsylvania). Carson City is the most remote state capital in the U.S. other than Juneau, Alaska, as it is over 250 miles away from the state center of population.

Adjacent counties


Carson City is the smallest of the United States' 363 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 714
1870 3,042 326.1%
1880 4,229 39.0%
1890 3,950 −6.6%
1900 2,100 −46.8%
1910 2,466 17.4%
1920 1,685 −31.7%
1930 1,596 −5.3%
1940 2,478 55.3%
1950 3,082 24.4%
1960 5,163 67.5%
1970 15,468 199.6%
1980 32,022 107.0%
1990 40,443 26.3%
2000 52,547 29.9%
Est. 2007 54,939 4.6%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there are 52,457 people, 20,171 households, and 13,252 families residing in the city. The population density is 366 people per square mile (141/km²). There are 21,283 housing units at an average density of 148/sq mi (57/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 85.30% White, 1.80% Black or African American, 2.40% Native American, 1.77% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 6.46% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races.20% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 20,171 households, out of which 29.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.00% are married couples living together, 11.00% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.30% are non-families. 27.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.00% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 2.97.

The city's age distribution is: 23.40% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 24.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 106.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 108.20 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $41,809, and the median income for a family is $49,570. Males have a median income of $35,296 versus $27,418 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,943. 10.00% of the population and 6.90% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.70% of those under the age of 18 and 5.80% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Government and politics

Carson City is governed via the mayor-council system. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote to a four year term. The city council is called the Board of Supervisors which is comprised of four members. Members are elected from single member wards.

Nevada's capital had been a Republican stronghold, often voting for Republicans by wide margins. In 2004, George Bush defeated John Kerry 57-40%. In 2008 however Barack Obama became the first Democrat since 1964 to win Carson City, defeating John McCain 49% to 48%, by 204 votes[9], a margin of under 1%.


Carson City features a steppe climate with cool but not cold winters and hot summers. The city is situated in a high desert river valley approximately 4,730 feet (1,440 m) above sea level. There are four fairly distinct seasons, all of which are relatively mild compared to many parts of the country. Winters see typically light to moderate snowfall. Most precipitation occurs in winter and spring, with summer and fall being fairly dry, drier than neighboring California. Mid-summer highs typically top out in the 90s, however, temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) and above do occur on occasion. July high and low temperatures average 91 °F (33 °C) and 52 °F (11 °C), respectively, while in January this drops to a high of 45 °F (7 °C) and a low of 21 °F (−6 °C). The Carson River flows from Douglas County through the southwestern edge of Carson City.

Climate data for Carson City, Nevada
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 45
Average low °F (°C) 21
Record low °F (°C) -20
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.00
Snowfall inches (mm) 6.2
Source: February 11, 2010
Source #2: February 11, 2010


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Carson City School District operates ten schools in Carson City.

The six elementary schools are Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, Empire Elementary School, Fremont Elementary School, Fritsch Elementary School, Mark Twain Elementary School, and Al Seeliger Elementary School. The two middle schools are Carson Middle School and Eagle Valley Middle School. Carson High School and the alternative Pioneer High School serve high school students. Carson High is on Saliman Road.

Other public schools are the state-chartered Silver State Charter High School and Carson Montessori School.

Private schools

Capital Christian School, Bethlehem Lutheran, Sierra Lutheran High School, Faith Christian Academy, Grace Christian Academy, and St. Teresa's are in Carson City.

Colleges and universities

Western Nevada College (WNC) is a regionally accredited, two year and four year institution which is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The college has an enrollment of approximately 6,000. It has a prison education program, which offers classes to degree-seeking inmates in five correctional institutions throughout northern Nevada. Courses are conducted daytime and evening in the classroom, by cablecast, and on the Internet. WNC offers associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science or associate of general studies degrees, one-year certificates, or certificates of completion in more than 50 career fields, including architecture, auto/diesel mechanics, criminal justice, dental hygiene, graphic design, nursing, and welding. Recently, the college has added a four-year program.


Carson City has never hosted any professional team sports. Carson City did host the famous heavy weight professional boxing match between Bob Fitzsimmons and "Gentleman" Jim Corbett over a hundred years ago. The status of team sports could change with the possible relocation of a Golden Baseball League franchise currently known as the Reno Silver Sox, who are being forced to relocate due to the arrival of the Pacific Coast League's Reno Aces. City officials and league officials are currently negotiating bringing the franchise to the city in time to play in either the 2009 or 2010 seasons.[10]


Carson City is one of five state capitals not served by an interstate highway (Dover, Delaware; Jefferson City, Missouri; Juneau, Alaska, and Pierre, South Dakota are the other four). This will soon change as the Carson City Freeway is currently under construction,[11] which will eventually become part of Interstate 580 linking Carson City to Reno and Interstate 80.

Looking south on US 395, just south of US 50 near Carson City

The Regional Transportation System of Washoe County (RTC) provides public transportation service between Reno and Carson City, and on Oct. 3, 2005, Carson City's first modern bus system, Jump Around Carson, or JAC,[12] opened to the public. JAC uses a smaller urban bus that is ideal for Carson City.

Carson City is also served by the Carson Airport, which is a regional airport in the northern part of the city. Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which is 28 miles (45 km) away, handles international and domestic commercial flights.

Major highways


The book A Basque Hotel, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, written by the Basque-American author Robert Laxalt, is set in Carson City in the early decades of the twentieth century. The author was the younger brother of Paul Laxalt, a former Nevada governor and US Senator for Nevada. Western Nevada, particularly the Carson City and Reno areas, is known for its significant Basque population.



Carson City offers a wide variety of city parks, museums and recreation opportunities. City parks offer opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, sports, nature walks, historic sites and train rides. The rave scene has been growing in Carson City as of recently and successful shows are booming within the area. Carson City also plays host to a number of historic buildings and houses. Several of the buildings and homes have been converted into museums while others have been preserved and are privately owned.

While there are no ski slopes within Carson City, the city is located close to Heavenly Mountain Resort, Diamond Peak and Mount Rose skiing areas. Much of the open space in Carson City is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are public access sites to BLM land at many locations throughout the city. The Carson Ranger District manages 360,000 acres (1,500 km2) of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and is headquartered in Carson City.

The Carson Range runs through the far western part of the city limits and this area is known as the "Carson City Rural Area".[13] Along the Tahoe Rim Trail in this part of the city is Snow Valley Peak, which rises 9,214 feet (2,808 m) above sea level making it the highest point in the city limits and offers views of Lake Tahoe.

The Virginia Range and Carson River run through the eastern part of the city, home to the Carson River Aquatic Trail. There are no paved roads in the far eastern part of the city making it a popular for off road vehicles, hiking and biking.

City parks

  • Sports
    • Mills Park - miniature railroad, farmers market, hockey rink, Aquatic Facility
    • Edmonds Sport Complex - soccer fields
    • Centennial Park - baseball diamonds, archery
    • Governor's Field - baseball diamonds
    • Pony Express Airpark - model airplane field
    • Carson River Park - boat launch, BLM trailheads
  • Biking/Hiking
    • Riverview Park - hiking trails along the Carson River, Korean War Veterans Memorial
    • Lakeview Park - hiking trails, views of Washoe Lake, mill ruins
    • Mexican Ditch Trail - hiking/biking/equestrian trail following Mexican Ditch (irrigation)
    • V&T Multi-Use Trail - biking trail along old Virginia & Trail R.R.
  • Natural Areas
    • Ambrose-Carson Natural Area - nature trails with interpretive brochure created by Carson High School
    • Fulstone Wetlands


Secret Harbor Beach, Lake Tahoe

Open land

  • Silver Saddle Ranch - working ranch, public access to BLM land, hiking/biking/equestrian trails
    • Mexican Dam - stone dam across the Carson River 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Silver Saddle Ranch, built in 1860, accessible via hiking, biking or horseback
  • Prison Hill - BLM public access, California Trail historic markers, location of the Stewart "S"
  • Carson Aquatic Trail - boating and rafting
  • Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Carson Ranger District)
    • Kings Canyon Road - hiking/biking/4x4 trail
    • Kings Canyon Falls - approx. 3 miles (4.8 km) from downtown off Kings Canyon Road
    • Snow Valley Peak - 9,214 ft (2,808 m) - accessible along Tahoe Rim Trail or through Lake Tahoe – Nevada State Park.
  • Tahoe Rim Trail - Spooner Summit trailhead just outside city limits along U.S. 50
  • Lake Tahoe – Nevada State Park - hiking, biking, fishing, backwoods camping
    • Chimney Beach
    • Secret Harbor
    • Skunk Harbor
  • Washoe Lake State Park - borders city to the north, sailing, swimming, hiking
  • Brunswick Canyon Road - biking/off roading through far eastern part of city
  • "C Hill" - hill featuring the Carson City "C" and giant American Flag, trailhead parking behind R.R. museum
  • Rifle Range - near Brunswick Canyon and the Ormsby Landfill


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nevada's capital, Carson City [1] is located along the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada, in the Eagle Valley, just east of Lake Tahoe, south of Reno, and north of Douglas County and the Carson Valley communities of Minden, Gardnerville, and Genoa. The Carson River flows through the southeast corner of the city. With a population approaching 65,000, Carson City is a picturesque, evolving destination with central access to the outdoors as well as larger and smaller communities nearby.


From the beginning, Carson City was intended to be Nevada's capital. Its cause was advanced by local fraternal orders and businessmen, chief among them Abraham Curry, who bankrolled and oversaw many of Carson City's early developments. Carson City was once home to an outlet of the US Mint. The collectible "CC" Carson City coins were produced here from 1870 - 1893.

With several hidden surprises for the history buff, Carson City is a pleasant daytrip from nearby Reno and Lake Tahoe.

Get in

By air

The nearest international airport to Carson City is Reno-Tahoe International, 30 miles away via highway 395. Carson City has a small regional airport with no scheduled regular service via major airlines.

By car

Carson City can be accessed via US Highway 50 from the east and west, and US Highway 395 from the north and south.

From Reno

Highway 395 from Reno comes into Carson City just south of Washoe Lake. As of November, 2007, the divided freeway ends at the junction with Highway 50.

From California

Highway 395 from Bishop comes into Carson City approximately 30 miles north of the Nevada/California border.

Highway 50 from Sacramento and Lake Tahoe comes into Carson City via Spooner Summit.

From the East

Highway 50 from Fallon, Austin, Eureka, and Ely comes into Carson City just west of Mound House.

By bus

Carson City is served weekday mornings and afternoons via Washoe County RTC's commuter express bus service RTC Intercity[2].

Get around

By bus

Carson City's transit service is called JAC (for Jump Around Carson) [3]. Regular scheduled service operates 6 days a week hourly on 3 routes. RTC Intercity shares a few stops with JAC. JAC connects to Douglas County's transit service, DART [4]. The route setup and schedule frequency of the various bus transit services operating in and around Carson City contribute to a strong recommendation against using public transit as your primary means of getting around in the Carson City area.

By car

The US 395 Carson City Freeway is underway and currently terminates at the junction with US-50. In coming years this freeway, to be known as Interstate 580 Nevada, will run all the way through Carson City connecting to US-50 and the road to Lake Tahoe at the south end of town. Until then...

Carson Street, which is also US 395 business, runs north-south through the city. It is supplemented by Stewart Street, Roop Street, and Saliman Rd providing north-south connectivity through Carson City.

Williams Street is also US-50 as it heads east through Carson City. Highway 50 (as it is mostly referred to locally) is joined by 5th Street to the south and College Parkway on the north carrying traffic eastward and westward to and from Carson Street. The west side of Carson Street is actually known as Carson City's "West Side" and is served mainly by small neighborhood streets.

By foot

Downtown Carson City and the West Side are all easily explored on foot. The Kit Carson Trail [5], a route of blue lines and bronze medallions on the sidewalk, guides the visitor past a variety of historic and cultural attractions.

  • Nevada State Capitol Complex - Carson Street and Fifth Street, downtown
  • Nevada State Museum - (housed in the old Carson City mint) 600 N. Carson St. (Hwy. 395) Carson City corner of Robinson Street. [6]
  • Brewery Arts Center - 449 West King Street [7]
  • Nevada Governor's Mansion - 606 Mountain Street [8]
  • Nevada State Railroad Museum - 2180 South Carson Street (U.S. Highway 395) at Fairview Drive, near the south end of Carson City [9]


Carson City is the only Nevada city purchasing open space with a dedicated tax source. Those open spaces are in the process of coming online, however outdoor activity is still available in abundance in the area.

  • Eagle Valley Golf Course - 3999 Centennial Park Dr. [10]
  • Empire Ranch Golf Course - 1875 Fair Way [11]
  • Mills Park - Summer kiddie train, events pavilion - Highway 50 & Roop Street
  • Fuji Park - Playground, stream - South Carson Street and Clear Creek Road, near the Douglas County Line


Carson City is not known for its shopping. You should be able to find any general merchandise you require along Carson Street or Highway 50. Downtown Carson City just near the capitol complex features a variety of small shops. At the south end of downtown, Carson Mall features a Gottschalk's department store and some ancillary tenants and is currently in the planning phases for a coming remodel.

  • El Charro Avitia - Best Mexican Food - 4389 s. Carson st.
  • Q's Barbecue - Western style barbecue cuisine - 230 Fairview Dr @ South Carson Street
  • Bollywood - Indian cuisine - 2329 N Carson St
  • Cracker Box - American Breakfast open til 2 pm - 402 E William St
  • City Cafe Bakery - Sandwiches & Espresso Cafe - 701 S Carson St
  • Adele's - a local institution of fine dining and a place to be seen - 1112 North Carson Street
  • Best Western Carson Station Hotel/Casino, 900 S Carson Street, +1 775 883-0900 (toll free: +1 800 501-2929, fax: +1 775 882-7569), [12].  edit
  • Best Western Pinon Plaza Resort, 2171 US Highway 50 E, +1 775 885-9000 (toll free: +1 877 519-5567, fax: +1 775 888-8003), [13].  edit
  • Best Western Trailside Inn, 1300 N Carson Street, +1 775 883-7300 (fax: +1 775 885-7506), [14].  edit
  • Days Inn, 3103 North Carson St., 775-883-3343, [15].  edit
  • Hardman House Inn & Suites, 917 North Carson Street (downtown, north of the State House), +1 775-882-7744 (fax: +1 775-887-0321). checkout: 11AM. Clean, friendly, and reasonably priced, this hotel in the downtown is a bit more expensive than its immediate neighbors, but is in excellent condition and offers amenities such as free wireless internet, continental breakfast, cookies and wine (!) at reception, and covered parking.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 4055 N. Carson Street, +1 775 283-4055, [16].  edit
  • Motel 6, 2749 S Carson Street, +1 775 885-7710 (fax: +1 775 885-7671), [17].  edit
  • Lake Tahoe. Just over Spooner Summit at the south end of town, via Highway 50 West (completely different road than the popular "Highway 50" Williams Street), is Lake Tahoe. Carson City is a direct route to South Lake Tahoe and the Stateline casino area, as well as Heavenly ski area and the rest of what Lake Tahoe has to offer.
  • Nevada Outback. The other way on Highway 50 East, Williams Street, you find the Nevada outback. This region of basins and ranges is perhaps best explored via Highway 50. Overnight trips work best for anything beyond Sand Mountain, which lies outside Fallon. Other things to see along the Highway 50 corridor include Fort Churchill State Park, Lahontan Reservoir, and the historic diametric opposite central Nevada mining towns of Austin and Eureka.
  • Carson Valley. South along 395, the Carson Valley is home to Genoa, Nevada's oldest settlement (established as Mormon Station in 1851), as well as the towns of Minden and Gardnerville. Gardnerville is home to some Basque food and downtown Minden is quaint and picturesque. Kingsbury Grade climbs the Sierra west of Carson Valley to Lake Tahoe, and is the Nevada side entrance to Heavenly Ski Resort.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:



Named after explorer Kit Carson

Proper noun

Carson City

  1. The capital of the US state of Nevada


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