Elko is big city enough to have big box stores, but small town enough that people shop in locally-owned shops downtown and conduct business in the professional offices upstairs. Ranching, mining and outdoor recreation are leading industrbies, with plentiful lodging, good food in all varieties, all services available.
Early Spring is the perfect time to see the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Ruby Mountains. Last weekend, I took a quick drive in Lamoille Canyon and spotted over 20 sheep right along the road. It was quite the sight. Every spring the sheep come down low to graze on the fresh vegetation that greens up in March and April. Enjoy the sights, and please remember to keep your distance from the sheep when viewing.
I just heard word that Elko has a new Mediterranean restaurant. Odeh’s has just opened at the corner of 11th and Railroad Street (at the old 11th Street Deli location). I’ve heard good reviews from friends, and it sounds like it is worth checking out!
Big boots in downtown Elko
The city of Elko is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, dozens of big boots will be on display throughout the city. The first boot to arrive is out in front of the Elko Art Club Gallery on Railroad Street. After checking out the boot, venture into the art gallery and see what our local artists have been up to. I’ll have more on the Centennial next month and you can find the Art Club by clicking here.
Nevada Art Postcard Project
Please join concerned Nevada citizens in creating handmade art postcards to show our local and national representatives how much Nevadans value the arts and their arts organizations. Duncan Little Creek Gallery will be hosting a postcard making party on April 3rd at 5pm. With potential budgets cuts, it is especially important to encourage our representatives to support funding for the Nevada Arts Council (NAC), Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). See
Founded as a railroad-promoted townsite in 1869 and railhead for the White Pine mines, Elko has served for generations as the provincial capital of an enormous cattle ranching empire embracing parts of four states. Despite the steady growth in size and importance of the livestock business in the valleys around Elko, however, the town's affairs did not brighten much until 1907. In that year the Western Pacific Railroad extend its rails to Elko, and mining activity revived in half a dozen camps that relied on Elko for freight and services. The price of beef went from three-and-a-half to eight cents a pound, and wool from four to 60 cents a pound. In ten years Elko's population had nudged up toward 3,000.
CPRR reaches Elko 1869
Prosperity continued until the devastating one-two of the failure of the Wingfield banking chain and the national Depression which followed immediately after. Caught in the machinery activated to sort out the bank failure and bled by the decline in livestock prices, many of the ranches around Elko were
foreclosed. In 1931, the beef and wool economies in chaos, gambling was made legal by the state legislature. Elko, like towns everywhere in Nevada, had a new industry, and unlike most, it had an entrepreneur to make the most of it. Newton Crumley had operated saloons and hotels in Tonopah, Goldfield, and Jarbidge before he settled in Elko in 1925 and bought the Commercial Hotel. He and his son, Newton Jr., operated the hotel with an eye toward the future.
By 1937 they had added a two-hundred-seat cocktail lounge to the Commercial, and in 1941 they hired Ted Lewis, the "High-Hatted Tragedian of Jazz", his orchestra, and his 21-person Rhythm Rhapsody Review for an eight-day engagement. After Lewis came Sophie Tucker, then Skinnay Ennis and his band. For drowsy little Elko, more than 250 miles from the nearest radio station, the situation was stunning. Even more impressive was the effect on automobile traffic along U.S. 40: few travelers passed through Elko without a detour into the Commercial.
In 1946 the Crumleys began "remodeling" a ten-foot wide root beer stand into the sixty-eight room Ranch Inn Motel-Casino (at that materials-short time after WWII, new construction was prohibited but remodeling was permitted). The Crumleys had the largest non-ranching payroll in Elko County after the railroads.
With ranching restored to prosperity, with gambling and big-name entertainment adding a cosmopolitan flavor, and with newcoming ranchers like Crosby, Joel McRae, and Jimmy Stewart providing glamor and sophistication, Elko entered a golden age at the end of the 1940s.
A visitor's best first stop is at Sherman Station, an enormous log house brought to Idaho Street from its original location in a faraway valley. It serves now as Elko's Visitor Center where you can get current local information of all kinds.
The magnificent Ruby Mountains press up against the southern sky like Alps, and the country around Elko offers outdoor adventure of every kind. There are countless opportunities for hunting, fishing and hiking, and ATV trails are plentiful. There's cross-country and even heli-skiing in winter. It's hard to avoid having a good time in Elko.