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Ophir Mill and Town Site

Location: Old U.S. Highway 395; Washoe Valley, Nevada

Dedicated: 1961

Marker Significance: On October 31, 1961, Nevada Sagebrush Chapter presented and dedicated a marker at the site of Ophir in observance of the centennial of the founding of Ophir.  Then Governor Grant Sawyer gave the dedicatory address at the 1961 marker dedication.  See photo below.  

In 1859, the discovery of silver in the Comstock Lode of Virginia City brought thousands of miners, loggers, and traders to the Washoe Valley.  The town of Ophir was situated on the pine clad banks of Washoe Lake at the base of the Sierra Nevadas.

In 1861 the Ophir Mining Company erected a mill for the reduction of ore from the famed Comstock Ophir mine.  The Ophir Mill was built on Washoe Lake's west shore and was reached by an elevated causeway across what was then Washoe Marsh. 

In 1872, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad began service through Washoe Valley, connecting Reno to Carson City.  By the late 1870's the mining boom was over and the towns around Washoe Lake were all but abandoned.

Directions: The marker is located on Old U.S. Highway 395 in Washoe Valley.  From Reno, go south on U.S. 395.  After you pass through Pleasant Valley, take a right (turn west) on Old Highway 395 at the north end of Washoe Valley.  You will pass Davis Creek County Park (a Washoe County park) and road signs for Davis Creek Circle and Old Mill Place.  The Ophir Mill marker is on the east (left) side of the road at a paved pull out on a boulder between highway mile markers NV 429 WA 7 and NV 429 WA 6.  If you reach Bower’s Mansion (at NV 429 WA 5) or Maranatha Road you have gone too far south.  The DAR marker is in front of a large mound of stones and a large solitary pine tree and is very visible from the road.  As you approach the marker from either side, there are State of Nevada Historical Marker signs.

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