Dayton History

Our Very Own Dayton
“Best Seller!”
Images of America: DAYTON
by Laura Tennant
and Jack Folmar

First book on Dayton history since the 1920s!
This wonderful book is available for sale in our museum.
Sales benefit the Historical Society of Dayton Valley.
Contact Dayton Book, or call or text 775-508-9043.

Dayton Nevada’s historic past

Nestled in a fertile valley east of Carson City, Dayton is an oasis in western Nevada’s high-desert country. Dayton is the earliest settlement in the state, originating with prospectors and settlers attracted by gold and by the Carson River that runs through the valley.

A quaint reflection of our historic past, Old Town Dayton preserves its origins as the first Nevada settlement in spite of the bustling growth in the Dayton Valley around it.

In January 1999, a supermarket opened in Dayton Valley and has now become the nucleus of one of several Valley shopping complexes. Dayton Valley now boasts two medical complexes, two veterinary clinics, numerous eateries, several casinos, gas stations, mechanics, and the other amenities of a modern community. New subdivisions, five schools, a public library, a senior center, museums, churches, fire departments, an airstrip, industrial facilities, and business areas reflect rapid change.
In the summer of 1999, Dayton celebrated the 150th year since the first discovery of gold in Nevada, which occurred at the mouth of Gold Cañon in today’s Old Town Dayton. Then, in May 2001, Dayton celebrated the 150th anniversary of its settlement — the oldest permanent settlement in the state of Nevada.

Old Town Dayton’s Pike Street was once the Overland Trail, which brought many thousands of immigrants westward in the 1840s and 1850s. Today Old Town retains its board sidewalks and homes, shops, and eateries housed in buildings with origins in Dayton’s historic past.

At the historic Dayton Museum in Old Town on Shady Lane at Logan, young and old gather to review the town’s unique history. The Museum was established by volunteers in the early 1980s in an 1865 school house. It contains memorabilia, quilts, and photographs from Dayton’s history, including pioneers, prospectors and miners, woodcutters, Native Americans, Chinese, Italians, ranching, railroading, the Sutro Tunnel and early Lyon County history.

The museum is open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. We are closed in December, January, and February, depending on weather. The museum is also open by appointment. In May, to celebrate Nevada Archaelogical Awareness and Historic Preservation month, the museum is open every day of the week. For information or appointments, or to volunteer, call 775-721-3080 or 775-246-3256, or, email Museum or Historian.

The Carson River – named for mountain man Kit Carson – flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through Dayton and Dayton Valley, across the Lyon County desert, and sinks into the desert at the Carson Sink. The river provides recreation, including canoeing, rafting, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing along with swimming and boating at Lahontan Reservoir.

This old compressor is an example of the mining reminders that dot the landscape in the Dayton area.

Dayton enjoys four beautiful seasons, giving the area a new look with each. Nonetheless, the typical weather is pleasant and moderate year around.

Around Dayton

• 12 miles from the State Capitol – Carson City
• 40 miles from Reno and Reno/Tahoe Int’l Airport
• 45 miles from US Interstate 80
• 25 miles from Lake Tahoe
• 7 miles from historic Virginia City
• Part of the Comstock National District, one of the nation’s largest Historic Districts
• Access to the mining and milling sites of the Comstock
• On US Hwy 50, “the loneliest road in America”