Nevada Lifestyle Elko County Magazine 2024 Edition

Nevada Lifestyle Elko County Magazine 2024 Edition


Elko County, located in the northeastern corner of Nevada, is an area encompassing 53,702 individuals according to the 2020 census. The county’s seat is Elko. Its establishment dates back to March 5, 1869, when it was carved out of Lander County.

In terms of land area, Elko County ranks as the fourth-largest county in the contiguous United States, although it falls lower when considering Alaska’s boroughs. Interestingly, it is among the mere 10 counties in the United States that boast an expansive area exceeding 10,000 square miles (25,900 km2).

Elko County forms part of the Elko, NV Micropolitan Statistical Area. Notably, it encompasses around 49.8 percent of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, which was established in the late 19th century for the Shoshone-Paiute peoples and currently enjoys federal recognition as a tribe. It is worth mentioning that while slightly more than half of the reservation extends into Idaho’s Owyhee County, most tribal members reside on the Nevada side. The reservation spans a land area of 450.391 square miles (1,166.5 km2).

The alleged meaning of the name “Elko” is “white woman” – according to a Native American chief who, upon seeing the first white female settlers in the region, uttered these words. Another theory suggests that a man who had a penchant for adding the letter “O” to certain animal names gave the town its name. You might wonder if Elko is a bit rambunctious by nature, and the answer is yes.

While the etymology of Elko’s name remains uncertain, its development and history are well-established. Initially, this town emerged as a railroad town in 1868, serving as a significant temporary terminus for both the Central Pacific and the first segment of the Transcontinental Railroad connecting California and Utah. Even after the railroad crews moved on, Elko managed to survive as a ranch and outpost, before eventually transitioning into a mining and supply hub. A year later, a courthouse was constructed, which marked the beginning of a vast county bearing the enigmatic name.

As the railroad has long departed, the reasons behind mining becoming the primary trade in the city remain unknown. The substantial Getchell Mine, technically situated in Eureka County, sustains the entire economy of this old cowboy town. Apart from tourism and the continuous influx of traffic from the interstate, Elko’s thriving and bustling economy is supplemented accordingly. Yet, there is a lingering concern that once the mining operations dwindle,

Elko might succumb to the repetitive boom and bust cycle experienced by many other communities in Nevada. Positioned in a broad valley near the impressive ramparts of the Ruby Mountains, Elko is located 368 miles to the east of Reno and over 250 miles to the west of Salt Lake City, Utah. The city takes pleasure in its freedom and vastness found within the northeastern expanses of Nevada. In fact, Elko not only appreciates its seclusion but also manages just fine. This epicenter of Nevada writes its own rules, earning the moniker “The Heart of Nevada.”