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 Bowers Mansion

Prior to the formation of the Nevada Territory, Mormon settlers engaged in agriculture in the Washoe Valley. Washoe was one of the original nine, pre-statehood counties. It was formed by act of the Territorial Legislature and officially recognized on November 15, 1861. At that time, the population was estimated at less than 2,000 residents. Washoe City was named the first county seat. Lake County was also one of the original nine counties. Lake County was changed to Roop County in 1862. Roop County was named in honor of Isaac Roop, who was the provisional Territorial Governor in 1859. Roop County had a very colorful history. To include the Roop County boundary wars with California, etc. If you have a chance, read up on it. Roop County was fully absorbed into Washoe County in 1883. At the time of Washoe's original formation in 1861, Nevada was in the midst of the Comstock boom. For those unfamiliar with the Comstock Lode, that is also an outstanding history of its own. See the histories on neighboring Storey and Lyon Counties. The Comstock Lode was one of the richest mining discoveries in history. Comstock money made San Francisco what it is today. The Comstock is also responsible for Nevada becoming a state in 1864. While Washoe didn't have the rich mining booms that the Comstock had, it did engage in prosperous and profitable support operations. The mines needed to be timbered. Mining towns that sprang up such as Virginia City, Gold Hill, Dayton and Silver City, also needed lumber for building homes and businesses, etc. Washoe County was very timber rich. Washoe also supported Comstock ore by building large processing mills. Agriculture continued to be a huge staple for the Washoe economy as well. Many areas of Washoe County are very lush and fertile. Most of the county is also very good for cattle grazing. Early towns like Washoe City and Franktown formed and operated around these industries. Reno originally consisted of a few separate settlements (such as Lakes Crossing, etc.) The actual town of "Reno" wouldn't be given its official name until 1868. It became a prominent stop on the Central Pacific Railroad. It acted as a supply hub for the Comstock mines and towns. By 1870, Washoe County had a population of 3,091 residents, with 1,035 of them being in Reno. In 1871, Reno took the county seat away from Washoe City. By 1900, the population of Washoe County was 9,141 residents, with 4,500 being in Reno. Washoe County has continued to grow substantially. The Reno/Sparks area is now a major urban area. The population of Washoe County was 493,000 residents in 2022. The population of Reno was 269,000 residents in 2021. Reno remains the county seat of Washoe County today. Washoe is also one of two Nevada counties that I am severely lacking in when it comes to exploration. I am going to do my best to change that.  

WASHOE COUNTY