Big Smoky Valley
"I'm sad to say that this one too isn't very exciting. I was expecting this one to give me a pump of adrenaline considering I love this portion of Nevada! Somehow, #42 would better fit somewhere more isolated, maybe towards the valley's southern end near Peavine Creek where the population is the lightest. Another great locale would be in Lander (County) along US 50. This would give a much better feel to this marker rather than a boring rest area. But man, those Toiyabes! ..." -- Journal Entry, April 2008
Original Date Visited: 4/15/08
Signed: Severely faded signs on both lanes of SR 376
Named for its hazy distances, this valley has seen a parade of famous men and stirring events.
Prior to the white man, the valley and its bordering Toiyobe and Toquima Ranges were favorite Shoshone haunts.
Jedediah Smith, intrepid trapper and trail blazer, was the first white man here, crossing the valley's southern end from the west in 1827. In 1845, came John C. Fremont, accompanied by such figures of the American West as Kit Carson and Basil LaJeunesse.
In 1859, Captain James Simpson located the central route across the valley's northern end. Thus began the historic decade 1859-1869, which saw Chorpenning's Jackass Mail, the Pony Express, the Overland Telegraph and the Concord Coaches of the Overland Mail and Stage Company crossing the valley.
Silver strikes at Austin (1862-1863) initiated the valley's first mining boom. A myriad of bustling mining camps sprang up: Bunker Hill, Kingston, Geneva, Santa Fe, Ophir Canyon, Jefferson, etc.
Following the 1900 Tonopah silver strike, mining surged again. During this time, two new towns-- Manhattan and Round Mountain--started with a brief revival of many earlier camps.
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