Nevada became the 36th state of the Union on October 31, 1864. Abraham Lincoln was trying to get re-elected and the Republicans wanted the extra three electoral votes the new state would bring. There wasn’t much time, so the Constitution of Nevada was telegraphed to Congress just days before the November 8 election. It was the largest and most expensive message to be sent by telegraph.
Nevada was first part of Spain and then Mexico until the United States got the land after the Mexican-American War in 1848. In 1850, Nevada was part of the Utah Territory until it became its own territory in 1861. A couple of years before, in 1859, the Comstock Lode was discovered near today’s Virginia City. This mine gave about $36 million of silver ore each year until it ran dry in 1882. By that time, it had produced more than $300 million in both gold and silver, earning Nevada the nickname The Silver State.
- The Hoover Dam was built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, between 1931 and 1936. It was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.” It was constructed on the Colorado River at the Arizona-Nevada border. Boulder City is a federal town, built by the government, to house the workers of the dam.
- Construction hats were invented for men working on the Hoover Dam.
- In the 1950s, Nevada was a test site for nuclear weapons with more than 1,000 nuclear bombs being set off in the desert.
- Area 51 was created in a remote desert northwest of Las Vegas to test secret military projects. Some people are convinced aliens are hidden there.