August 2, 2012

Nevada – “The Silver State”


Nevada map


Just the Facts…


bird – Mountain Bluebird
flower – Sagebrush
tree – Bristlecone Pine
capital – Carson City
union – 36th states on October 31, 1864
population – almost 3 million



The Basics 

Nevada is in the western part of America.  Much of the land is desert, with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the western and northern part of the state.   Southern Nevada is part of the Mojave Desert.   In fact, Nevada gets less rain than any other state in the country!

The name “Nevada” comes from those mountains – Sierra Nevada means “snow covered mountains” in Spanish.  The border between California and Nevada is within the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, and is the longest diagonal border of any state.  From the 1940s until recently, Nevada was the fastest growing state in America.  Most of those people moved to Las Vegas.

Nevada was first claimed by Spain, then by Mexico.  Finally, America took control over Nevada after winning the Mexican American War in 1848.  It was part of various American territories until becoming a state in 1864.  In fact, it is one of the only states that was able to grow larger after it was admitted into the Union (it gained part of Utah and New Mexico territories).  Now, over 85% of Nevada’s land is owned by the government.


Its Claim to Fame

The Hoover Dam provides water and power to three states!  Water that flows through the Hoover Dam is sent all the way to Los Angeles – if you asked for a cup of water at Disneyland, it probably came from the Hoover Dam!  It was a technological marvel when it was built in the 1930s and is the world’s largest dam.   It controls the flow of the Colorado River, harnessing its power and converting it into electricity.  The Colorado River backs up at the dam, creating Lake Meade.  Hoover Dam is almost as thick as it is tall!  At its base, the dam is 660 feet thick – that is over two football fields (the dam is 726 feet tall).

Nevada was the first place that silver was found in America.  It was discovered in 1859, and the Silver Rush began!  Many towns cropped up overnight as people came from all over the country to try to make their fortune.  Those towns went away just as quickly once the silver became harder to find.


What Makes it Tick

Mining is one of Nevada’s biggest industries.  Both silver and gold are mined in Nevada, as well as some other metals and gemstones.  Now, more gold is mined in Nevada than silver – over 3/4 of all gold mined in America is found in Nevada!  And, more than 15 different minerals are mined in Nevada.  Gemstones are also mined in Nevada and one of the most popular is black opal.  There are even places in Nevada where you can search for your own gemstones and keep whatever you find!

Ranching is also a large part of Nevada’s economy.  Cattle and sheep roam the land while they graze.  Many ranchers don’t have enough land to keep their herd fed, so they lease land from the government.  Other ranchers have to get a permit from the US Forest Service to have their herds on protected land.


If You Visited

If you visited Nevada, you might spend some time in Lake Tahoe.  It is right on the border between California and Nevada, and is a ski resort and summer lake region.  In fact, half of the lake is owned by California and the other half is owned by Nevada!

Or you might tour some of Nevada’s ghost towns – there are over 600 of them.  To get there, you will probably have to travel on US Highway 50, which is called the “Loneliest Road in America.”  While you are exploring, you just may see some wild horses.  More than half of all wild horses in America roam the open land in Nevada.


Want to Know More? 

Check our Nevada state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in Nevada?  Or, maybe you have visited Nevada?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Nevada?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Nevada to share? Email them to: Or, post them to our Facebook page:

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Nevada.  Visit these websites to learn more: