Welcome to Esmeralda County!
Esmeralda County is one of the original counties in Nevada, established in 1861. Esmeralda is the Spanish and Portuguese word for "emerald". An early California miner from San Jose Ca (descended from the Cory family of New Jersey), James Manning Cory, named the Esmeralda Mining District after the Gypsy dancer, Esmeralda, from Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Esmeralda has had three county seats: Aurora until 1883, then Hawthorne from 1883 to 1907. The county seat was moved to Goldfield in 1907 and Mineral County was carved out of Esmeralda County in 1911. At one point, due to the disputed border with California, Aurora was simultaneously the county seat of both Mono County, California and Esmeralda County, Nevada. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) wrote about his time as a miner in the Esmeralda District in his book "Roughing It".
Esmeralda grew from a gold mining boom in the first years of the 20th century. The mines were largely tapped out by the end of the 1910s and the economy and population declined afterwards.
Its county seat is Goldfield.
From 1903 to 1910, Goldfield was the largest city in Nevada. From 1903 to 1940, Goldfield's mines produced more than $86 million. Major fires in 1905 and in 1906 destroyed several businesses in the town. Another portion of the town was destroyed in l913 by a flash flood, and in 1923 a fire leveled 54 square blocks.
The 2000 census population density of Esmeralda County was 0.2706 inhabitants per square mile (0.1045/km2) was the second-lowest of any county in the contiguous United States (above Loving County, Texas).
1895 Atlas Esmeralda County - prior to northwestern portion split off to form Mineral County in 1911.
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Updated 1 January 2015
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