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If it were possible to be a mining brat, I would definitely classify as one. My father, Blake Brown, worked in gold mining for many years and now inspects mines for the State of California.
I was born in Spearfish, South Dakota, where Blake was employed by Homestake Mining Company. I have fond memories playing in my backyard as a young child with a picturesque view of the Black Hills (you may have heard of Black Hills Gold) in the background.
In 1987, Blake was transferred to Lake County, California, where I lived until I attended California State University, Chico from 1999 to 2003. The moral of the story is that the mining industry offers lengthy careers—lifelong in some cases—to many of its employees. It’s the reason why many children become Nevada residents, growing up in towns such as Carlin, Elko, or Winnemucca.
During our tour with Coeur Rochester in September, General Manager Robert Stepper told us that he commutes daily more than 70 miles one way from Winnemucca. His son is studying mining law currently in Montana. In other words, mining is a way of life for many Nevadans and their families. In one of this issue’s feature stories, we delve into modern mining and the technicalities of extracting gold and silver from Nevada’s dirt and rocks.
We understand that mining can be controversial, and we’re most definitely not choosing sides. We’re merely illustrating in words and photos that the industry is again booming in the Silver State, and its connection to Nevada’s roots can’t be ignored.
Rewind 150 years from now, and President Abraham Lincoln was able to rush Nevada into statehood based on the strength of a single industry: mining. That is the focus of our second feature story. Author and historian Ron Soodalter continues his eight-part sesquicentennial series with Part II, which explains how the innovative and lucrative Comstock district propelled Nevada into statehood in 1864. We thought it very appropriate to put the iconic Lincoln on the cover.
Also in this issue are other homages to Nevada’s pre-statehood era, including Fort Churchill State Historic Park and Sand Springs Pony Express Station. Enjoy our second of eight Sesquicentennial Special Editions. At Nevada Magazine, we recognize that this is a special time for Nevada and Nevada lovers, and we are honored to celebrate Nevada’s 150th birthday in our pages.
Matthew B. Brown, Editor