Whatever I'm Thinking

The Lonely Road Through Eureka, Nevada

May 30, 2022
(Photos and memories of Eureka, Nevada from April 10, 1999, May 7, 2012, and May 10, 2021)

The Loneliest Road in America (US Highway 50). This stretch is between Ely and Eureka, Nevada.
Eureka County within the state of Nevada
Eureka, Nevada, along Highway 50 — “The Loneliest Road in America.” The Owl Club Casino is on the right.

Back in the day, in the 1880s, Eureka was a big silver and lead producer with multiple mines, smelters, saloons, and over 10,000 residents. Today Eureka has about 400 residents, yet its place on the “Loneliest Road in America” attracts new visitors every day.

Map of US Highway 50 across Nevada. Eureka is at #5 on the map, in east-central Nevada.

Traveling US 50 in Nevada is something like a roller coaster. Between Ely in the east and Fallon in the west, Nevada’s landscape is a series of north-to-south mountain ranges separated by deep desert valleys. Driving the Loneliest Road involves climbing a mountain range to its summit (mountain passes reach about 7,000 feet) and then descending to a flat sagebrush valley. Then repeat. Sometimes the valleys have dry alkali lakebeds. You’ll see a herd of mustangs grazing the sagebrush if you’re lucky.

Wild mustangs roam the open ranges along Highway 50 in northern Nevada.

The city of Eureka lies 70 miles west of Ely, Nevada, and 70 miles east of Austin, Nevada, along US Highway 50. There are no towns in between, not even a hamlet. It’s all open range, and travelers like me (and you) love it!

Despite its small population of 480, the town of Eureka can boast of being the county seat of Eureka County, Nevada, which has a population of 1,987. Their courthouse was built in 1879 and is still in use today.

Eureka County courthouse. Eureka, Nevada. Constructed in 1879.
Eureka County courthouse. Eureka, Nevada.

This is the District Courtroom in the Eureka County courthouse. Beneath chandeliers and a metal-plated ceiling, an old wood stove stands on one side of the courtroom while a flat-screen TV stands on the other. Built in 1879 and is still in use today.

District courtroom on the second floor of the Eureka County courthouse.
District courtroom. Eureka County courthouse

This shotgun is on display in the courtroom. Stagecoach drivers used this weapon to guard the stage line between Eureka and Ely, Nevada. Good at close range. The genesis of the term “riding shotgun.”

Rifles were used to guard the stage line between Eureka and Ely, Nevada.

The Eureka Opera House is across the street from the courthouse. I took this photo from the second floor of the courthouse.

Eureka Opera House. Built in 1880 and restored in 1993.

A number of Eureka’s other buildings have been restored to their 19th Century splendor.

The Jackson House Hotel, Saloon & Cafe. Eureka, Nevada
The Owl Club Saloon and Restaurant. Eureka, Nevada

Everyday essentials are available to Eureka residents from more commonplace structures in town:

I entered Eureka from the east along US Highway 50. This is the view I found along Highway 50 as I headed west towards the next town — Austin, Nevada, population 167.

The Loneliest Road in America with the Toiyabe Range in the distance. US 50 between Eureka and Austin, Nevada.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

All photos were taken by the author either on April 10, 1999, or May 7, 2012, or May 10, 2021.

I’m trying to travel to all of America’s county courthouses, and each month a post about my visit to the most interesting county seats. It’s a hobby and donations are greatly appreciated to help defer my costs.


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