Gold & Silver Fever, plus the lure to Get-Rich-Quick, are what created the Great State of Nevada. It's colorful history is richly filled with the hopes, dreams and visions of a fortune-filled Lucky Strike.
The expectation of success and improvement are what drew hundreds of thousands of early pioneers to find their dreams in the Promised Land of the silver laded Territory of Nevada.
The quest for Instant Wealth was the magnetic attraction that lured these many men away from their roots and birthplaces.
In Nevada, 'the magnetic field of potential prosperity' came alive with the 1850 discovery of gold, near Dayton. Nine years later, the discovery of Virginia City's Comstock Lode pulled over 20,000 prospectors and merchants over the formidable Sierra Nevada Mountain Range - to search for Mother Nature's mineral blessing.
The forces unleashed by the Big Bonanza led to the official 1864 Battle Born formation of the Silver State of Nevada : the 36th state of the USA.
Nevada is a State of Mind and a State of Hope. Unlike any other state, Nevada started on a canvas of nothingness as a barren, forsaken, and hopelessly deserted place. With hardly any workable soil, with temperatures as extreme as they come, without the abundant agricultural resources of California, the timberland of the North Pacific, the grazing fields of the Mid-West, the oil deposits of Texas, or the seaport industries of the Atlantic states - the Territory of Nevada barely had any chance to exist, much less thrive in any conceivable way.
Yet, through the grace of Mother Nature's bountiful deposits of gold and silver ore, the 1850s provided Nevada with a fighting chance for survival. If God's Hand was responsible in fulfilling America's Manifest Destiny - to populate every United State - it was through the fortuitous deposits of minerals and Man's discovery of them, from which the State of Nevada was born.
After Nevada's first Big Bonanza was mined and played-out, over 500 once flourishing mining camps were left as ghosts of their former selves, abandoned and long-forgotten. But, in 1901 another Lucky Strike was found in the Southland of Nevada, which gave birth to the short-lived town of Goldfield (located less than 100 miles north-west of current day Las Vegas).
If anything, Goldfield was the template for early Las Vegas with its boisterous, mining town nature and its opulent and arrogant, pioneering spirit.
The story of Nevada and Goldfield and the early days of Las Vegas can all be found in my In Old Las Vegas Website, where you can see and read more about the ways Las Vegas grew as large as it has now become.
After the Mining Days of Old Nevada, Las Vegas was left to its own devices to seek a way to survive. The creation of Boulder Dam gave Las Vegas its fighting chance and from that point on the Mind of Men would take things from there.
With minimal resources at hand, other than almost perpetual sunlight during the winter months and a bit of magnesium deposits, Las Vegans milked their limited resources for all they were worth.
With not much more than a rich mining history and good winter weather, Las Vegas began transforming itself into a tourist destination and promoted itself as a free-wheeling Frontier Town, with liberal gambling laws in place, a pioneering past and a rambunctious Saloon Spirit.
It is this Saloon Spirit, which dates back to the Big Bonanza, that Las Vegas offers our nation and the world. This is basically Las Vegas' only resource and we harvest it to full advantage, just as every other city is required and expected to do.
From its very inception, Nevada has been THEE place to Get-Rich-Quick. Its been a place where personal freedom comes first and individual merit and showmanship is honored. The Saloon Spirit is in our blood and is what Nevada provides and sells, just like Maine sells lobsters and Hollywood sells movies.
Las Vegas believes in the American Dream to Get-Rich-Quick or at least have one hell of a time trying. In this way we remain true to our Silver Rush Roots. Fore we Las Vegans are Battle Born, Fortune Seekers and darned proud of the fact. God Bless Nevada!