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Also check with the Eureka Opera House for the current performance schedule775-237-6006
Welcome to Eureka
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Local Area Information
EUREKA COUNTY CHAMBER of COMMERCE.
THE OWL CLUB BAR & STEAK HOUSE.
EUREKA OPERA HOUSE.
A brief History & Description of
In any case, Eureka overtook Austin in size and mining productivity during the middle 1870s when the Eureka & Palisade Railroad was extended south from the Central Pacific without the necessity of bulging the city limits to meet it. By 1878, when Austin had already begun its decline, Eureka had a population of about 9,000 and had taken second place among Nevada cities. There were dozens of saloons, gambling houses and bawdy houses, three opera houses, two breweries, five volunteer firefighting companies, and two companies of militia as well as the usual complement of doctors, lawyers, merchants, bankers, hotels, newspapers, and other businesses. And fifty mines producing lead, silver, gold, and zinc for the smelters, which were capable of processing more than seven hundred tons of ore a day.
In 1879 though, flooding became more of a problem and economy measures were taken. One of these was to reduce the price paid for charcoal at the smelters. The carbonari - members of the predominantly Italian Charcoal Burner's Association - answered with a boycott. The smelters shut down for lack of fuel and passions flamed up. Threats and counter-threats raged between all the parties to the dispute. When the carbonari threatened to make charcoal of all of Eureka, a sheriffs posse ambushed a number of them, killing five and wounding more.
Mining production peaked in 1882 and tailed off rapidly after 1885; by 1891 the major mines had been shut down, and production lapsed into the long snooze that had claimed Austin a decade earlier.
A self-guided tour leaflet is readily available around town, and most of the prominent buildings display numbers relating to the leaflet.
Many of these buildings are impressive, but the city's architectural jewel is the recently refurbished Eureka Opera House. Built in the fall of 1880 on the smoldering site of the burned-down Odd Fellows' Hall, its Grand Opening was celebrated New Year's Eve with a gala masquerade ball. The Opera House now welcomes small conventions from around the state, performances by nationally recognized artists, even dinner theater, a cosmopolitan touch long unavailable in Eureka.
The old Eureka Sentinel Building has been converted to a wonderful museum, with the old back-shop as it was left when the last tramp printer finally called it quits, fully equipped with type cases and working presses, and papered with posters and handbills dating back to the 1880s. Local area touring information is available here as well.
Some of the buildings are less remarkable to look at than to know about. The Farmers and Merchants Bank building, for example, was originally a brewery, connected with the hotel across the street by an underground tunnel. The boom days were long over when the bank was organized by former District Attorney Edna Plummer, but it was solid enough to remain open through the National Bank Holiday of 1933 when banks were ordered to remain closed after the conclusion of business on the stated date. The Eureka Bank avoided the closing by not concluding business, staying open day and night until the "holiday" ended.
About those tunnels: the story is that because Eureka's breweries were located on opposite ends of town, the heavy winters (and the availability of skilled, experienced miners) prompted the business people to drive tunnels underground from one end of town to the other in order to ensure the prompt delivery of beer to the saloons along Main Street. The truth may not be so prosaic. According to family recollection, Nevada governor Reinhold Sadler (whose two story brick home is half a block north of the Colonnade House) used a tunnel to get to his Main Street store in the winter so that he wouldn't have to meet his neighbors on the street. Much of the old tunneling has collapsed or is unsafe, but in its heyday it was quite comfortable to use, fancy, even, with bricked walls, and arched brick chambers reminiscent of medieval dungeons.
There are several cemeteries in Eureka, including one that was set aside for smallpox victims.
Tax money derived from the Carlin gold mine at the far northern end of the county has built a new high school and other modern community facilities in Eureka, including the enclosed pool, open six days a week year-around.
There is a small handful of saloons at the heart of town. The brightest of them, The Owl Club, is also a regionally famous restaurant and bar. Eureka offers an exceptional range of overnight accommodations, from the classic period piece Jackson House and Colonnade House to the up to date Sundown Lodge motel, the brand new Eureka Inn and the elegant Parsonage House hideaway cottage.
And Eureka's mining fortunes are rising again as the Homestake company is working in the historic Ruby Hill property.
The country around Eureka will probably always provide excellent hunting, and simply breathing in the cedar-scented air of the wide open spaces is an act of pure pleasure, utterly unimaginable to the people who lived here breathing its poisonous smoke in the last century.