First depot built on the Carson & Colorado Railroad
Beginning in 1881, the Carson & Colorado narrow-gauge railroad operated from Mound House, where it connected with the standard-gauge Virginia & Truckee, through Dayton, to Keeler, California, at the southeast end of Owens Lake. In the supposed words of Darius Ogden Mills, one of the founders, the railroad was built “300 miles too long or 300 years too soon.” It was the ultimate in economy to serve the mines and mills in the deserts of Nevada and Southern California. Soon after the first trains departed in early 1881 they were returning with tons of ore for processing in the mill at Rock Point in Dayton and other mills in the area.
The Dayton depot was the first built on the line and was the pattern for all that followed. Before the tragic fire of 2020, it was one of only three original C&C passenger depots remaining and the only one in Nevada. When the line from Mound House to Churchill was abandoned in 1934 the Dayton Depot was converted to a private residence.
When the line from Mound House to Churchill was abandoned in 1934 the Dayton Depot was converted to a private residence. Then, when U.S. Hwy. 50E was widened in the 1950s it was moved out of the right-of-way and across the road to the corner at Main Street, where it continued to serve as a private residence.
The Dayton Depot was purchased with federal “Transportation Enhancement” funds through a grant from the Nevada Department of Transportation. Now owned by Lyon County with a stewardship agreement with the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, the depot will be rebuilt to the original 1880s appearance to serve as the “Gateway to the Comstock,” including a Visitor’s Center and site for C&C railroad exhibits.