Ely is a city located in White Pine County, Nevada, USA. The history of Ely is closely tied to the development of the mining industry in the region.
In the late 19th century, the discovery of rich copper deposits in the area led to a mining boom. The town of Ely was established in 1868 and named after Smith Ely, a prominent New York industrialist. The town quickly grew as miners and prospectors flocked to the area in search of valuable minerals.
One of the major mining operations in the Ely area was the Ruth Mining District, which included towns like Ruth, McGill, and Kimberly. The area saw extensive copper mining operations, and the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company played a significant role in the local economy.
The Nevada Northern Railway, which connected Ely to the mainline rail network, was completed in 1906, further boosting the town's growth and facilitating the transportation of minerals.
Ely also played a role in labor history. In the early 20th century, there were several significant labor strikes in the area, including the 1903 strike in the Ely area and the 1913-1914 Copper Country Strike in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which was supported by Ely miners.
Over the years, the fortunes of the mining industry in the region fluctuated, and by the mid-20th century, many of the mines had closed. This led to a decline in the population of Ely and surrounding areas.
Today, Ely is known for its rich mining history and has preserved many of its historic buildings and sites. The Nevada Northern Railway has been designated a National Historic Landmark and operates as a heritage railroad, offering visitors a glimpse into the area's mining past.
In addition to its historical significance, Ely and White Pine County also offer natural attractions, including Great Basin National Park, which is located nearby and provides opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and stargazing.
Overall, the history of Ely in White Pine County is deeply intertwined with the mining industry that once thrived in the region, and it remains an important part of Nevada's historical heritage.
Top Tourist Attractions
The City offers a range of attractions for visitors interested in history, outdoor activities, and natural beauty. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in and around Ely:
- Nevada Northern Railway: This historic railroad, designated a National Historic Landmark, offers visitors the chance to experience a working steam locomotive and ride in vintage passenger cars. The railway also offers tours of the railyard and workshops.
- East Ely Railroad Depot Museum: Located at the Nevada Northern Railway, this museum showcases the history of the railroad and the role it played in the development of the region.
- White Pine Public Museum: This museum provides insights into the history and culture of White Pine County, featuring exhibits on mining, Native American heritage, and pioneer life.
- Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall: This historic hotel, built in 1929, is one of the tallest buildings in Nevada. It offers accommodations, a casino, and a restaurant, and it's a great place to soak in the town's history.
- Great Basin National Park: While not technically in Ely but nearby, this national park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers opportunities for hiking, camping, stargazing, and exploring Lehman Caves.
- Lehman Caves: Located within Great Basin National Park, Lehman Caves is a stunning underground cavern system known for its unique limestone formations and beautiful cave formations.
- Cave Lake State Park: Just a short drive from Ely, this state park offers fishing, boating, camping, and hiking opportunities. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
- Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park: These well-preserved charcoal ovens were used in the late 19th century to produce charcoal for mining operations. They're an interesting historical site and also offer hiking trails.
- Garnet Hill: This area is known for its vibrant garnet crystals and offers rockhounding opportunities. Visitors can search for their own garnets, and it's a popular spot for both amateur and experienced geologists.
- Steptoe Valley Scenic Byway: This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the Schell Creek Range and the Egan Range. It's a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of the region.
- Ely Renaissance Village: This outdoor museum showcases reconstructions and replicas of historic buildings from different eras, giving visitors a sense of the town's evolution over time.
These attractions offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring the area's mining history to enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Whether you're interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the sights, Ely and White Pine County have something to offer for every visitor.
The City experiences a semi-arid climate characterized by distinct seasons and relatively low precipitation. Here's an overview of the climate in Ely:
- Summer (June to August): Summers in Ely are warm with daytime temperatures often reaching into the 80s and occasionally the 90s Fahrenheit (around 27-37°C). Nights tend to be cooler, with temperatures dropping into the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (around 8-18°C). While rain is infrequent during the summer months, occasional thunderstorms can occur, bringing short-lived heavy rainfall.
- Fall (September to November): Fall brings gradually decreasing temperatures. Daytime highs range from the 60s to the 70s Fahrenheit (around 15-26°C). Nights become colder, often dropping into the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit (around 1-9°C). Precipitation starts to increase compared to the summer months.
- Winter (December to February): Winters in Ely can be cold, with daytime temperatures often in the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit (around 1-9°C). Nighttime temperatures frequently drop below freezing, with lows in the teens and 20s Fahrenheit (around -7 to -2°C). Snow is common in the winter months, and Ely can receive a significant amount of snowfall.
- Spring (March to May): Spring brings a gradual warming trend. Daytime temperatures start to rise, ranging from the 50s to the 60s Fahrenheit (around 10-21°C). Nights are milder, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit (around -6 to 4°C). Precipitation levels begin to decrease as spring progresses.
- It's worth noting that Ely's elevation of over 6,000 feet (approximately 1,830 meters) above sea level can influence its climate. Higher elevations tend to experience cooler temperatures, especially at night, and may receive more snowfall in the winter.
Overall, Ely's climate offers a distinct seasonal variation, with warm summers, cold winters, and pleasant transitional seasons. Visitors should be prepared for potential temperature swings and be aware of the likelihood of snow during the winter months.
The City is characterized by a combination of desert landscapes, mountainous terrain, and valleys. Here is an overview of the geography and notable geographical features in the Ely area:
- Elevation: Ely is located at a relatively high elevation, with its downtown area situated at around 6,437 feet (1,962 meters) above sea level. The surrounding terrain includes even higher elevations, which contribute to the region's climate and landscape.
- Schell Creek Range: To the east of Ely, you'll find the Schell Creek Range, which is part of the larger Snake Range. These mountains include several peaks that reach elevations of over 11,000 feet (3,350 meters), providing a scenic backdrop for the city. The Schell Creek Range offers hiking and outdoor recreational opportunities.
- Egan Range: To the west of Ely lies the Egan Range, another mountain range with peaks that exceed 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) in elevation. The Egan Range, like the Schell Creek Range, offers outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.
- Steptoe Valley: Ely is located within the Steptoe Valley, a broad and relatively flat valley that extends to the south. This valley is surrounded by mountain ranges, providing a dramatic contrast between the flat terrain and the rugged peaks.
- Great Basin National Park: Located to the east of Ely, Great Basin National Park is a prominent geographical feature. The park encompasses diverse landscapes, including mountains, caves (such as Lehman Caves), and the Wheeler Peak Glacier, which is the southernmost glacier in the United States. The park is a significant natural attraction and offers a wide range of outdoor activities.
- Desert Terrain: While Ely itself is nestled in a valley, much of the surrounding region consists of arid, desert terrain. The high desert environment is characterized by sagebrush and juniper vegetation and provides a unique and scenic backdrop to the city.
- Lakes and Reservoirs: There are several lakes and reservoirs in the area, including Cave Lake and Comins Lake, which offer fishing and recreational opportunities.
The combination of high mountain ranges, valleys, and desert landscapes contributes to the diverse and picturesque geography of Ely and White Pine County. This region is not only known for its natural beauty but also offers a range of outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy.