Welcome to the Historical Society of Dayton Valley

Protecting, preserving and promoting Dayton, Nevada history, and the historic Dayton Museum

Where Nevada Began: the Discovery of Gold

In July, 1849, Abner Blackburn made Nevada’s first gold discovery at the mouth of Gold Canyon, just above today’s old town Dayton

Old Town Dayton: a Colorful Past

As an iconic Old West commercial center and transportation hub, and a rich heritage embedded in mining, farming and ranching, Dayton has many stories to tell

Home to the C&C Railroad Depot

Beginning in 1881, The Carson and Colorado Railroad line ran between Mound House, Nevada, and Keeler, California

Innovation and Engineering: The Dredging Method

Nevada’s first floating dredge was designed and constructed by J. Hanse Rae Sr. for use in the Carson River near Dayton

Mills and Processing Methods

Adolph Sutro arrived in Dayton from San Francisco in 1861 and was one of several engineers who constructed mills in Dayton Valley

Dayton, Lyon County's First County Seat

Selected in 1861, Lyon was one of the first nine Nevada Counties when Nevada was still a Territory. The courthouse dates back to 1864

The California Trail

The original Emigrant Trail, the California Trail, went through Dayton on Pike Street, up Main Street and past the cemetery.

Dayton Cemetery

Many iconic Nevadans were laid to rest in the Dayton Cemetery including Ole’ Virginny (James Finney for whom Virginia City was named); Clark Guild (renown Nevada and Lyon County politician), and many other Nevada pioneers and statesmen.

Gateway to the Comstock

Welcome to Dayton’s Golden History. Nestled in a fertile valley east of Carson City, Dayton is an oasis in western Nevada’s high-desert country. Dayton is the earliest settlement in the state, originating with prospectors and settlers attracted by gold and by the Carson River that runs through the valley.

The Dayton Museum is a good starting point.  It is located at 135 Shady Lane in Old Town Dayton is open to the public on weekends from the beginning of March through the weekend before Thanksgiving in November.  Our hours are Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Private tours may be scheduled by calling the Museum. Admission is free but the Museum is managed by an all-volunteer staff, so donations are welcomed — all funds are used to preserve and promote Dayton’s 173-year history that was lost in time until the early 1990s when the HSDV formed.

Support historic preservation

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley is a non profit 501(c)3 organization founded and run by volunteers. No previous experience is required. The Society is responsible not only for the historic schoolhouse/museum but also for the historic Dayton firehouse and 1860s jail, which currently is open for special events or by appointment. 

The burning of the historic 1881 Carson & Colorado Railroad Depot on June 17, 2020 was a sad day for Dayton, Nevada. The Historical Society of Dayton Valley is raising money to help rebuild the Depot and fulfilling the dream of making the corner lot the “Gateway to the Comstock.” Any donation will help make an impact. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to us and the history of Dayton and Nevada.

Mailing address

Historical Society of Dayton Valley
P.O. Box 485
Dayton, Nevada 89403

Dayton Museum address

Dayton Museum
135 Shady Lane
Old Town Dayton, Nevada
Get Directions to Museum

Museum Hours

Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm
Sundays from 1 pm  to 4 pm
Private tours may be scheduled by calling the Museum.

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