Silver City, Nevada

Quick early facts

1859 Silver City was established
1861 Population reached 1,200 people
1869 Decline of Silver City after the V&T (Virginia and Truckee) Railroad was built 

Lyon County Times title changes

1874-1907 Lyon County Times
1907-1932 Yerington Times

Devil’s Gate, Silver City (1860s)

Devil’s Gate, Silver City (1870s)

Panorama of Silver City (1870s)

French Mill, Silver City (1870s)

Devil’s Gate Mills, Silver City (1870s)

Street view, Silver City (1930s)

History of the newspaper Lyon County Times

Lyon County was one of the original counties created when the Nevada Territory was organized in 1861, and it encompassed the booming mining towns along Gold Canyon where gold and silver were first discovered in Nevada before the great Comstock strikes in 1859. These towns experienced the boom and bust common in the early bonanza days and their newspapers came and went accordingly. The travels of the Lyon County Times, the county’s paper of record, reflect the transient nature of these towns and their residents along the Comstock. The newspaper moved from Silver City to Dayton, the county seat, and finally, to Yerington, the site of the new county seat after the courthouse in Dayton burned down in 1911.

Following the demise of the Lyon County Sentinel [LCCN: sn86076194], which operated from 1864 to 1866, Lyon County had no newspaper of record, until July 4, 1874, when Frank A. Kenyon issued a new paper, which he called the Lyon County Times. Based in Silver City, Kenyon, its sole proprietor and editor, published a tri-weekly consisting of 24 columns, most filled with advertisements. From 1875 to 1877, Harry J. Norton joined Kenyon as associate editor. Famed Nevada newspaper writer Dan de Quille [William Wright] wrote of Silver City in his 1876 western classic, The History of the Big Bonanza:

At Silver City, about five miles below Virginia City, on Gold Canyon, are a considerable number of fine mills, in all of which steam is the motive power. A branch of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad runs to Silver City and supplies these mills with ore, wood, and all other articles required. Near the town are several mines – the Silver Hill, Dayton, Kossuth, Daney, and Buckeye . . . and a southern continuation of the Comstock is supposed to pass through the ground on which the village stands. It is already a lively camp, boasts a tri-weekly newspaper – the Lyon County Times – and should the hopes of the mining companies now at work in the vicinity be realized, will soon be one of the leading mining towns of the state.

The ambitions of the town of Silver City were reflected in the newspaper, which quickly increased in size. In 1876, the Lyon County Times began publishing as a daily, only to cut back to a tri-weekly after three months, and to a semi-weekly by 1877. Kenyon sold the paper in 1878 and sailed to Guatemala and died en route. The paper was sold again, but by 1880, the town could no longer support a newspaper, and in December 1880 the owner, John M. Campbell, moved the press to Dayton, where he continued the Lyon County Times as a four-page Republican weekly.  Fred W. Fairbanks joined Campbell as a partner in 1883 and took over as sole proprietor and editor in 1885. Fairbanks continued publishing the Times in Dayton until 1901 when he moved the paper to the more populous Yerington. Fairbanks remained the editor until he sold the paper in 1907 to R. Leslie Smith who changed its name to the Yerington Times. The latter passed through the hands of a number of owners until J.A. McCarthy took it over in 1919; he ran the Times until its final suspension in 1932.

 

Photo courtesy:
– University of Nevada, Reno Digital Collectionswww.library.unr.edu/DigiColl
– University of Nevada, Las Vegas Digital Collectionswww.digital.library.unlv.edu

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