Ely - Forging the Link
"So ... Where is 268? Why did the SHPO jump a number? Never a rest for the weary marker hunter." -- Journal Entry, August 2011
Original Date Visited: 8/13/11
Forging the Link
Didn't know this one existed? I can't say I blame you because without a bit of Internet browsing, there is no way any of us would know about this recent addition to the Nevada Marker System. I found  through a website called "Historic Insight." Erich Obermayr is the lead author of the website who specializes in archaeological projects and other media processes. In short, he is the one responsible for actually writing, designing, and erecting this new historic marker. The website shows him actually standing next to his proud creation.
It is safe to assume that he worked in cooperation with the SHPO for this one, but the details are unclear. Upon learning about this new marker, I quickly contacted Erich and he told me of the marker's exact whereabouts. A day later, I planned a one-way 268-mile trip just to capture this single marker.
The site, just south of the old Hotel Nevada in Ely, is actually a new park constructed by the Ely Renaissance Society in 2010 in cooperation with the White Pine Chamber of Commerce. The park, fittingly named the "Ely Renaissance Society Sculpture Park," is adorned with unique works of art symbolizing Ely and its centralized location in eastern Nevada. For this, Erich built two markers, one for the Renaissance Society and the other describing the history of Ely "forging the link," between east and west Nevada. Hence we have, , one of Nevada's newest and unknown historic markers. If nothing else, I am pleased to bring this one to your home -- a marker that was seemingly forgotten by the SHPO. It just comes to show that if you know the right people anybody can bring a piece of history to a visual scale.
James H. Simpson put the future site of Ely on the map during his 1859 exploration through the Great Basin. In the 1860's, silver and gold deposits were discovered nearby in what became the Robinson Mining District. Ely developed as a regional center, becoming the White Pine County seat in 1887. The area grew dramatically in the early 1900s with major copper discoveries. The Nevada Northern Railway, headquartered in East Ely, carried ore from the mines at Ruth to the McGill smelter, as well as connecting Ely to the world on its 150 mile route north to the transcontinental railroad.
The towns of eastern Nevada were joined during the late nineteenth century by a network of wagon roads. In 1913, the road through Ely was incorporated into the transcontinental Lincoln Highway, though it was not paved until 1922. Ely had over 2,000 residents and offered many services, making it an excellent stopping place on the long road across the Great Basin. When the copper industry declined during World War I, the struggling town turned to travelers for income.
The Lincoln Highway was designated US 50 in 1926. By mid-century the popularity of the Victory Highway, now Interstate 80, reduced US 50 to the status of "The Loneliest Road in America."
In addition to the Lincoln Highway, two other major national roadways converge at Ely. The Midland Trail, designated Route 6 in 1937, was an early coast to coast automobile road that also connected Ely to Tonopah and Southern California. US 93, which passes north-south through Ely, takes travelers from Canada almost to the Mexican border.
Related Links & Markers
 -- Copper Country  -- Northern Nevada Railway "Historic Insight" -- Making of Marker 269
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