Ragtown

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/3

Churchill County

AKA: Leeteville

Ragtown was a stop for emigrants en route to the Sierra Nevada, after crossing the Forty Mile Desert. It was an oasis on the Carson River and the first water available after crossing the Forty Mile Desert. A man named Asa Kenyon established a trading post here in 1854. He offered supplies to the emigrants passing through. At that time, Ragtown was not actually a town. It was simply a stop that consisted of a ranch, small station and trading post. It is said that Ragtown got its name from the ragged clothing that could be seen draped all over the bushes on the banks of the Carson. The emigrants had endured a long, dusty and waterless stretch of travel across the Forty Mile Desert by the time they reached the Carson River. Their clothing was filthy and tattered. It was a natural and obvious location to relax, recuperate, water stock, re-supply, refill water barrels, and clean up. By the end of the 1850's, Ragtown was known as a location where the dregs of society would congregate during the main traveling months. The obvious purpose was to take advantage of emigrant travelers. While I do not personally know the stories, Paher said the following in Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps: "That area between Carson Sink and Ragtown was the scene of countless pathetic tragedies told in old diaries, and many more deaths occurred on that horrible segment of the trail in a few short years than in the entire history of Death Valley!" A flood swept through the area in 1862 and unearthed approximately 200 emigrant graves. By 1863 or 1864, Ragtown had become an important location as part of the boom at Austin and Reese River. Several dozen people moved in and started farming operations. In 1895, a farming community was established in this area and changed the name to Leeteville. A post office was opened in that year and later closed in 1907. Today, the only thing that exists at Ragtown is a historical marker located in a place that simply feels like the western outskirts of Fallon. The two historical markers for Ragtown are located on the south side of Highway 50, right across the street from the Fallon Livestock building.

Post Office: May 14, 1864 to May 29, 1867; May 5, 1884 to April 19, 1887 (as Ragtown); January 28, 1895 to June 15, 1907 (as Leeteville)

Last Trip/ Road Conditions: It's on the south side of Highway 50 west of Fallon. I've driven past it more times than I can count. You probably have too. It's Highway 50 in Northern Nevada. Travel accordingly.