Yep, Fernley is an interstate town!

(elev. 4,160)

N39 35′ 557″    W119 12′ 542″

An incorporated town in northern Lyon County, 63 miles east of Carson City.

Until 1904, there was no place named "Fernley" in the area. It was not until the Southern Pacific Railroad realigned its route through northwestern Nevada that the "Fernley siding" was created. Fernley first showed up as a station stop, but with no other services, many lines passed it by. By September 3, 1905, Fernley is listed with a day and night telegraph office and wye facilities. The descendants of the telegrapher James A. Galbraith, who arrived with his family in 1906, still reside in the region.

The few lines you read above was about the most excitement Fernley has seen. This lively interstate town, with 24-hour roadside services and multi-plex shopping centers, is a relatively newcomer to Nevada. After the Fernley siding was established on the map, a community emerged and took the name Fernley. If anything, the general area was part of the fledgling Truckee-Carson Reclamation Project, created by Congress in 1902. Like its neighbor to the east, Fernley was born by the Newlands Water Project, a project first authorized under the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902 and the 1903 construction contract for Derby Dam and the Truckee Canal. As such, Fernley was a part of the "Canal District" because of the newly created Truckee Canal that connected the Truckee River to Lahontan Reservoir. Workers and settlers found their way to the western edge of the first federal reclamation project. On June 9, 1904, the Lyon County Commissioners created the Canal Township and appointed a constable, Robert A. Benson, and a justice of the peace, Edgar I. Parker, both men filing for homesteads in late 1903. In 1907 more settlers arrived and established homesteads. Fernley was born. The Newlands Project, like many areas in the West, brought green to a sea of brown, allowing opportunity in a once barren landscape. Since then, Fernley has been able to produce agriculture. In addition, Fernley utilizes its location alongside a steadily busy interstate system for freighting purposes.

Today, Fernley's growth is mostly thanks to its busy interstate location. a half-hour east of Reno-Sparks. This location is an ideal jump-off point for not only shipping agriculture in Fallon, Yerington, and the Carson Valley, but also its use as a pit stop for commuters through Nevada. As such, companies nationwide have taken progressively flocked to this location! In 1965, the Nevada Cement Company started operation in a new plant built on the north side of the city between Fernley and Wadsworth. This was the first significant non-agricultural/ranching business to come to Fernley, aside from the railroad. Primary employment in Fernley began a steady transition to an industrial and commuter base continuing to the present time. Beginning in the 1970s, parts of the formerly agricultural and ranching-based lands were transitioning to housing subdivisions to support the growing population, much of which was spilling over from rapid growth in the Reno-Sparks area. Close proximity to Interstate 80 and abundant land for housing made Fernley an attractive alternative to the increasingly congested and expensive Truckee Meadows housing market. Beginning near the established parts of the town, growth moved to the Fremont Street area in the mid to late 1970s, nearer farming areas in the 1980s, and has continued along the Farm District Road areas to the present. Numerous subdivisions now exist along the Farm District Road, including an 18-hole golf course and a new elementary school. In 1999, opened a 750,000 square-foot order fulfillment center in the industrial park located in the northeast side of the city, following major initiatives and investments by investors from Seattle.[citation needed] Stanley Works had previously used the facility; redesigned the interior systems and greatly expanded the capacity in the years since. The investment has provided thousands of new jobs for the city and invigorated the economy in the metropolitan area. Since that time, more companies have opened facilities in the park, including Trex Inc., Allied Signal, UPS Worldwide Logistics (Honeywell), ARE Campers, Johns Manville, and Sherwin Williams Paint.

Though its population was slow at first, Fernley has practically quadrupled in population over the past decade swelling to "mini-city" status as a bedroom community of Sparks. Its people do not seem to mind. The peace and quiet found in Fernley affords relaxation while maintaining a comfortable half-hour distance from the city of Reno. What more can you ask for? Area attractions are numerous, but all require at least a 45-minute drive out of town. The nearest of which is Pyramid Lake, north of Fernley, home to the endangered Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. This world-class fishery produces fish that an average reach sizes of 18-24 inches and only here, in the sweltering heat and barren hills of Nevada, can these fish be found.

Fun Facts:

  • On January 5, 2008, a levee along the Truckee Canal broke, forcing the rescue and evacuation of 3,500 people from the town as houses filled with 3 to 6 feet of water.

Founded: January 1904
Zip Code(s): 89408
Population: 19,368 (2010)

Notable Nooks

  • Wigwam Casino & Restaurant
  • Silverado Casino
  • Chukars Sports Casino
  • Gold Bar Casino
  • Pilot Travel Center
  • Fernley Nugget
  • Black Bear Diner

City of Fernley

Mileages to Fernley, NV
From Fallon -- 28
From Sparks -- 30
From Yerington -- 46
From Carson City -- 51
From Lovelock -- 61
From Goldfield -- 230
From Elko -- 257
From Ely -- 285
From Las Vegas -- 417


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Great Basin Wilds Photography
Copyright Paul Sebesta