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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 11:33 PM

The City of Ely

At the eastern end of U.S. Highway 50 in Nevada is the bustling mountain town of Ely. In 1878, Vermont resident J.W. Long came to White Pine County and soon set up a camp known as Ely, after discovering gold.

The name "Ely" had been credited to several possible origins: Long's hometown of Ely, Vermont; a New York congressman with the surname Ely, who sent Long as a representative according to local historians; Smith Ely, a Vermont native who financed one of the city's early mineral operations; and John Ely, an Illinois native who came to Nevada for mining.

Ely was designated as to official county seat in 1887. But its mining boom came later than the other towns along U.S. 50. What started as a Pony Express post office and stagecoach station grew rapidly with the discovery of copper in 1903. As the Nevada Northern Railway steamed into town Ely continued to grow. While many railroads connected to the transcontinental railroad have long been removed, the railroad to Ely is preserved as a heritage railway also known as the Ghost Train of Old Ely.

Like many towns founded in mining it was susceptible to the boom-and-bust cycle of the industry. Ely has weathered many downturns but has managed to bounce back better each time. The town is experiencing its present boom with outdoor recreation. A destination for mountain bikers and off roaders alike, downtown Ely acts as the most historic trailhead in the state. The basecamp and economic center for the county, Ely is home to 5,000 residents with all the amenities travelers need to enjoy their time in White Pine County.

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