For the Love of Gold
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 39° 13.984 W 119° 35.538
11S E 276251 N 4345843
Dayton history sign #3 in Dayton, NV.
Waymark Code: WMVKZJ
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 05/01/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
Views: 2

Dayton history sign #3 along U.S. Hwy. 50 in Dayton, NV. Marker deals with projects supporting gold mining near Dayton.

Chinese Water Ditch and River Wood Drives
Nevada’s first major construction project
The year was 1857. Miners washing placer gold deposits in Gold Canon’s Gold Creek needed a year-around water supply because the creek usually went dry during the summer. Edward Rose and others hired Chinese laborers out of California to dig a water ditch from the Carson River to Gold Canon.
Said ‘The Sacramento Union’, July 1, 1857: “About 150 Chinese arrived in Gold Canon from El Dorado County (California), with a view of engaging in extensive mining operations. Their purpose is cutting a ditch from the Carson River to Gold Canon and were making good wages.” The same story is repeated in ‘The Union’ on August 8, 1857.
Also, it was reported in the ‘Hutchings’ California Magazine’ that a visitor to Gold Canon in September 1857 wrote: “At this place we found about twenty American miners and some forty or fifty Chinese, and from the man who kept the little trading post here we learned that the digging prospected well, and that a company of men were about conducting water in a ditch four or five miles long.”
After the ditch was completed, the proprietors were surprised to see that the outlet was higher than its head. They modified the elevation of the ditch. Nevada’s first major construction project, the ditch began at the mouth of the Carson River where the river enters Dayton. It crosses today’s U.S. Highway 50 E and runs along the edge of the hill on the north side of the highway to above River Street and into Gold Canon, where water was collected in a reservoir.
The ditch also provided water for milling operations on River Street, including the Birdsall and Douglass mills.
The reservoir served as the Dayton town water supply until the 1970s. The ditch is still visible on the north side of U.S, Highway 50 E. from the bottom of Dayton Hill to River Street.

Carson River wood drive
In 1865, about 1,800 cords of wood a day were burned in the mills in and around Dayton. The forests around Lake Tahoe provided wood for the mills. Thousands of cords of wood annually were floated down a flume on Clear Creek Canyon to the Carson River and on to Dayton. A portion of the wood was loaded onto wagons and delivered to Silver City, Gold Hill, or Virginia City for sale. Wood and lumber drives from the mountains around Lake Tahoe were valuable business in the 1870s and 1880s.

Dredging for gold
East of Our Park, J.H. Rae cultivated the first floating dredge on the Carson River to recover gold and mercury lost in earlier milling operations. A vacuum dredge to suck up sand failed, so a bucket system was added. Rocks battered the buckets. A larger boat was built with a clamshell bucket and concentrators installed.

Dayton’s History
Welcome to Dayton’s Historic Sector
In 1849, a pack train of Mormons traveling to California’s goldfields camped near what is today the town of Dayton while waiting for the Sierra snow to melt. Their guide, Abner Blackburn, discovered Nevada’s first gold at the mouth of the canyon. News spread to California. By 1851, hundreds of gold-seekers had swamped into Gold Canon, where a tent city grew and ultimately became the town that was formally named Dayton in 1861.
Blackburn’s gold find led to the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City in 1859, then to the creation of the Nevada Territory in 1861, and finally to statehood for Nevada in 1864.
Take a trip back in time: Close your eyes. Imagine it is 1853. Dayton’s Pike and Main Streets are dusty overland emigrant trails teeming with pioneers, some on horseback, others on foot or riding atop oxen-drawn covered wagons, many of them had traveled nearly 2,000 miles on their trek toward California.
Dayton’s rousing history is revealed through photographs and narrative on five historical kiosks located around town and in the Dayton Museum. (See their locations below.)

Dayton’s Historical Highlights:
**Home to Native Americans for thousands of years prior to Eruo-American emigration.
**Site of Nevada’s first documented gold discovery in 1849 at the mouth of Gold Canon, where Dayton began.
**Site of Nevada’s first cemetery, established in the 1850s in what was then lower Carson Valley, Utah Territory.
**Nevada’s earliest permanent Euro-American settlement, inhabited since at least 1851.
**Site of first Chinese settlement in Nevada, 1857.
**Site pf Pony Express stop called Nevada, 1860-1861. (See original rock wall and monument, Pike and Main Streets.)
**Lyon County’s first county seat, 1861.
**America’s first transcontinental interstate, the Lincoln Highway, passed through Old Town Dayton.
Marker Title (required): For the Love of Gold

Marker Text (required):
Photo Captions Water for Placer Gold Mining A water ditch hand-dug by Chinese laborers in 1857 can still be seen on the north side of U.S. Highway 40 E., where it crossed the highway at Daney Canyon Road. The ditch ran from the bottom of Dayton Hill to Our Park at the first entrance to downtown Dayton. It carried water to a reservoir and to Gold Cano, allowing miners to wash placer gold deposits. Home of an Old-Time Character “Old Hully” lived west of Our Park in this hut. “He was a familiar character to most old-timers in Dayton, Sutro, Silver City, Virginia City and Mound House where he went door to door selling fruits, vegetables, candy, nuts and shrimp. The load he carried in two baskets swung one on each end of the pole carried over one shoulder would tax the strengths of any man twice his size,” wrote Zenas Walmsley, Dayton native, dairy rancher, and justice of the peace. Old Hully was 100 years or older when he died in 1916. Flume Delivers Waterpower Water is flume from Rose’s Ditch (Chinese Ditch), built by Chinese laborers, down to the Birdsall/Douglass Mill to provide waterpower for processing gold and silver ore (1898). Carson River Wood Drive Cord wood drives to the Carson River began in the 1870s after Dayton’s mountains were stripped of the piñon trees used to generate energy for Comstock mining operations and businesses. Wood was cut from Lake Tahoe’s hills near Glenbrook and flumed down Clear Creek to the Carson River to Dayton, where it was loaded into wagons and hauled to Virginia City. Wood Drive Workmen Timber and cord wood were floated by a V flume down Clear Creek Canyon to the Carson River and on to Dayton. At times more than 750 cords of wood a day were flume to the lower Carson Valley (Dayton) for use in Virginia City. A major unloading dock stood south of present day Our Park. Dredge Recovers Lost Values J.H. Rae built this dredge on the Carson River in the 1890s. A number of mechanical designs were used to recover amalgams (gold and mercury lost in early milling operations) from the bottom of the river. The clamshell bucket didn’t work because the rocks bashed it too often. River dredging rarely proved profitable. The Joe Douglass Engine The Dayton, Sutra and Carson Valley Railroad, built by Fred Birdsall, was originally a half-mile horse-drawn railway running from the Birdsall Mill on River Street to the tailings stockpiled in Gold Canon. After 10 years of successful operation, the railroad increased the length of its track to two miles in 1881 following the Birdsall Mill’s purchase by J.M. Douglass. On Sept. 14, 1882, the Joe Douglass engine was fired up to power the train for the first time. The final date of operation is unknown, but the Joe Douglass ran at least until February 1896. It now rests in a restorative state at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

County (required): Lyon

Marker Type (required): Other (describe below)

Other Marker Type (optional): Fiberglass sign

Is Marker Damaged? (required): No

Other Damage Type (optional): NA

Marker Number (If official State Marker from NV SHPO website above, otherwise leave blank): Not Listed

URL - Website (optional): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
  • The marker must be visited in order to log a Waymark
  • Pictures are optional, however, if adding a picture try to include one of a different perspective (e.g. different angle/season/lighting etc.)
  • Add any personal experience or research information that would enhance the history of the marker.
  • Thanks!
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Nevada Historical Markers
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Volcanoguy visited For the Love of Gold 10/06/2016 Volcanoguy visited it