Nevada’s 11 most endangered places

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Goldfield High School, built in 1907 served as a learning facility for the children of miners. Photo credit: UNLV special collections

   Nevada is home to a variety of scenic and historic locations, but the toll of time combined with human expansion threatens their existence.

   Preserve Nevada released a list of the 11 most endangered places in Nevada. The goal of the list is to spotlight historically significant buildings, sites and landscapes across the state that are in threat. The organization hopes to garner support for preserving and recording the history of Nevada by showcasing some of these locations.

   Preserve Nevada works closely with the Public History Program at UNLV . 

1. Lear Theater, Reno

Constructed in the late 1930s originally served as a church until it was donated to the Reno-Sparks Theater Coalition. It is one of the few remaining historic interiors of Reno. 

2. Owyhee Stone Buildings, Owyhee Reservation

Built from volcanic stone, these are the earliest stone buildings on the Owyhee Reservation that date to the late 1890s and early 1900s. The reservation represents the toils of Native American labor.

3. Commercial Hotel, Elko

This hotel and casino opened in 1869, during the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. The building is allegedly haunted and served as an early location for performances.

4. Goldfield High School, Goldfield

The school was constructed in 1907 and is one of the few buildings to survive rampant fires in the 1920s. Originally miners’ children attended during the gold boom, the school served the community until being closed in 1953.

5. Austin Buildings, Austin

St. Augustines, built in 1866, is the oldest Catholic church in Nevada and contains the only surviving Henry Kigen church organ that is still functional.

6. Nevada’s Indigenous Languages

Vital Indegnous Nevadans, including the Northern Paiute, the Southern Paiute, Shoshone and Washo, all face the threat of their native languages disappearing. 

7. Tonopah Army Airfield, Tonopah

This airfield served as a training facility during World War II for the B-24 Liberator plane. The first man to break the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager served at this base.

8. Stewart Indian School, Carson City

Built in 1890 and closed in 1980, this boarding school forced the integration of Native Americans into white culture. 

9. Huntridge Theater, Las Vegas

The theater was the first desegregated theater in Las Vegas. Opening in 1944, it served as both a concert venue and movie theater until its closure in 2004.

10. Hawthorne, Tonopah, and Austin Courthouses

The Nye County Courthouse in Tonopah is a historic location where Nevada figures like Pat McCarran and Key Pittman practiced law. The Mineral County Courthouse in Hawthorne is the only courthouse to serve two counties. The Austin Courthouse, built in 1871, is still used today.

11. Historic Cemeteries and Burial Sites

Nevada’s rural cemeteries contain historical information, both on tombstones and in their sites. Burial sites of indigenous Nevadans on reservations, Chinese laborers in Tonopah and Jewish individuals in Eureka all play a vital role in the state’s history. 

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