The friendliest town on the loneliest road

Take a step back in time when you visit historical Eureka, located on The Loneliest Road in America

by Maureen McEwan
The Eureka Sentinel Museum portrays some important aspects of Eureka's past. — Photo courtesy the Nevada Commission on Tourism

With a population of only 600, the town of Eureka, Nevada, may be small but its reputation certainly isn’t. Located along Highway 50, which is known as The Loneliest Road in America, Eureka has been dubbed The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road. 

“Highway 50 follows the old Pony Express Trail, and a lot of little towns dot that route,” said Chris Moran, public relations specialist with the Nevada Commission on Tourism. Eureka is one of these towns, and it has a rich history that began when an ore deposit was discovered back in 1864.

Eureka is one of five major towns along Highway 50 through Nevada; numerous ghost towns, cemeteries, fishing holes and a couple of state parks make the six-hour drive worthwhile. Be sure and pick up the Loneliest Road Survivor Kit so that you can collect stamps along the way; you’ll earn a certificate of survival when you're done. 

Investigate the terrain

Along with its reputation for being friendly, Eureka is also well known for its diverse landscape that ranges from mountain peaks to low-lying valleys; thus, it is a true haven for recreation enthusiasts. Hiking and biking trails abound in and around Eureka. One popular day trip is to head to Austin and visit the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

“This is only an hour west of Eureka and there’s a wonderful trail network,” said Moran.

Get to know the background

Since mining plays such an important role in Eureka’s history, visitors may want to tour the Barrick-Ruby Hill Mine, one of the longest surviving mines in Nevada. In 2010, this mine produced 81,000 ounces of gold. The mine, located less than one kilometre from town, offers mine tours by appointment. 

Many of Eureka’s original buildings are still standing, and can be appreciated by taking a self-guided tour of the town. Check out the tour link so you don’t miss anything during your historical walk around town.

The Eureka County Courthouse and the Eureka Sentinel Museum are both must-sees. The courthouse, a two-storey brick building, was constructed in 1879 at a cost of $50,000 and is still in use today. Upon completion, it was referred to as the finest courthouse in the state of Nevada, outside Virginia City. Look for the two large bells hanging out front; they were ready to use as fire alarms if the need arose. While walking through the courthouse, be sure to see the current art exhibit in the Gallery Hall.   

Just behind the Eureka County Courthouse is the Eureka Sentinel Museum. The museum occupies the original Sentinel Newspaper building. Also constructed in 1879, this building was used as the newspaper office until 1960. It still houses all of the original press equipment; the bottom floor showcases an actual press room from the 1800s. On the second floor, you’ll find a variety of exhibits that depict the early days of Eureka, including items from a barber shop, schoolhouse, parlour and kitchen as well as military uniforms and other interesting finds.

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