Lifeblood of the Mills
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 39° 14.386 W 119° 35.352
11S E 276539 N 4346579
Dayton history sign #3 in Dayton, NV.
Waymark Code: WMVKZP
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 05/01/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
Views: 2

Dayton history sign #3 located along U.S. Hwy. 50 in Dayton, NV. Marker deals with the importance of the Carson River to the gold refining mills around Dayton.

The Carson River
While camping in 1849, waiting for snow to melt in the Sierra Nevada, frontiersman and wagon train guide Abner Blackburn used a butcher knife to dig Nevada’s first-found gold from the creek bed at the mouth of Gold Canon. The gold rush to Dayton was on! By 1851, there were 200 miners panning for gold at the mouth of the canyon.
Blackburn’s gold strike led to the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Gold Hill and Virginia City in 1859. Dayton prospered because of the Carson River — lifeblood of the ore mills.
An estimated 30 ore-processing mills operated along the Carson River in and near Chinatown (Dayton) beginning n 1859. Many mills were massive, elaborately engineered structures. They were powered by river water and firewood cut from the mountains surrounding Dayton Valley.
The first water-powered mills on the Comstock were constructed in 1859. The Logan & Holmes Mill was built near what is now Dayton State Park, and the Hastings & Woolworth Mill was sited west of Old Town Dayton.
The Rock Point Mill, erected circa 1860 west of the Carson River, withstood the test of time. Although it changed ownership and was often renamed, this mill site outlasted the other Dayton mills.
In 1898, Captain Herman Davis revived the Rock Point Mill (though the mining boom had ended), renaming it the Nevada Reduction Works Mill. By 1906, Davis was operating the milling business as a closed corporation. He owned 93 percent of the stock. The company employed 55 men, paying high wages of $3 to $8 a day. When the mill burned in 1909, Davis didn’t rebuild.
In 1912, the Hotaling Estate Company rebuilt the mill. An aerial tramway carried ore from the Hayward Mine in Silver City to the mill for processing. The tramway was dismantled two years later. Dayton’s milling heyday had ended.

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): Lifeblood of the Mills

Marker Text (required):
Photo Captions Dayton’s Water Processed Comstock Ore Nevada’s first water-powered mill, the Hastings & Woolworth, was located two miles southwest of Chinatown (Dayton) in 1859. Today, the Santa Maria Ranch subdivision is located at the mill’s former site, south of U.S. 50 Highway E. at the bottom of Dayton Hill. Modern Mining in the 1890s This floating dredge, built on the Carson River in 1889 by J. Hanse Rae, was used to explore for gold and mercury lost in the Carson River bed at upstream milling operations. Rae speculated he would make $400 million, but profits were meager. The dredge operated until circa 1915. Davis Chloro-Cyanide Plant The Davis Chloro-Cyanide Plant, built by Captain Herman Davis in 1894, was located on Third Avenue near the Carson River. Davis first processed ore milled at the Nevada Reduction Works Mill (formerly Rock Point Mill). His business included the mill, a dredge, and a cyanide-processing plant. His milling businesses were Dayton’s economic mainstay in the early 1900s. Refining Gold and Silver The Rock Point Mill, shown in this 1862 photograph, was owned by Hugh Logan, J.R. Logan, James P. Holmes, and John Black. The mill, waterwheel, reservoir, and flume cost $200,000. The waterwheel contained 40 buckets that held 6,000 pounds of water. Before the buildings were erected in 1859, the mill operated with an arrester, using mule and stone power. Nevada Reduction Works Ore Bin In 1906, the Nevada Reduction Works Mill operated at the site of today’s Dayton State Park. Wagons dumped ore hauled from Dayton, Silver City, Hold Hill, Goldfield, and Tonopah Hauling Ore Teams of horses hauled crushed ore from Silver City to the Nevada Reduction Works Mill in Dayton to extract gold and silver. The mill site, developed in 1859, continued to operate during the twentieth century. Remnants remain today at the Dayton State Park. Devastating Fire Workmen survey the damage at the Nevada Reduction Works Mill after it burned in 1909. Owned by Captain Herman Davis, the mill was located at the original Rock Point Mill site. In 1912, the Hotaling Estate Company revived the mill and operated an aerial tramway to haul ore from the Hayward Mine in Silver City. Remnants of the mills remain at the Dayton State Park. Inventor Revitalizes Dayton Captain Herman Davis (1865-1921) built Nevada’s first cyanide-processing plant near the Carson River in Dayton in 1894. He invented three patents used to process silver and gold ores. Davis revitalized the town’s declining economy with the use of new milling and mining innovations. He was elected Dayton Township Justice of the Peace in 1904. He also assisted the Nevada Historical Society’s preservation efforts. Map of mill sites Approximately 30 mills operated in the booming Dayton area near the Carson River in the 1860s and 1870s. This map identifies the location of a number of them.

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 Lifeblood of the Mills 10/06/2016 Volcanoguy visited it