Ely, Nevada is located at the eastern end of the Loneliest Road in America (U.S. Highway 50). What started as just a post office and stagecoach station grew rapidly with the discovery of copper over a century ago. Ely's first settlers were attracted by the grassy meadows, water, and towering mountains, as well as the lure of potential fortunes to be made mining gold and silver. By 1880, the town had acquired its name and a population of several hundred.
Ely's economy has nearly always been dependant on mining. Although originally prospectors came to the area looking for gold and silver, it was copper that brought this town fame. Mark Requa founded the Nevada Consolidated Copper Corporation in the early 1900s and, after securing financing, built several rail lines. This allowed for copper deposits throughout the county to be mined, transported, and refined.
At one time, the mine just outside of town was the largest human-made hole on Earth!
Ely now stands as a city proud of its economy and continually looking towards its future. Recently, a new green energy wind farm was completed east of town. Additional investments in the local economy come from major employers including the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, Robinson Nevada Mining, and the White Pine County School District.
Community members have worked hard to beautify Ely's downtown area. World renowned muralists have come to town to paint scenes from the old west onto downtown buildings. Public areas, such as the park near the library, have had decorative cement work completed, light posts added, and statues erected. The local Renaissance Village, featuring restored historical homes, is a cultural gathering place for locals and visitors alike.
Remnants of the city's early mining days are kept forever locked in the many ghost towns that dot this landscape. These quiet places are a great way to step back in time and see what life was like for the folks who built Nevada and mined the precious metals, ores, and minerals that would come to define the West. Just last year, aracheologists at Great Basin National Park discovered a 132-year-old rifle leaning against a tree in the park.
Ely experiences a semi-arid climate and consistently remains much cooler than southern Nevada. The Western Climate Center reports that average July temperatures are a maximum of 87.2°F and a minimum of 48.3°F. High temperatures of 90°F or higher occur on an average of 20.5 days annually. Low temperatures of 32°F or lower occur on an average of 217.5 days annually. Average annual precipitation is 9.65 inches. Average annual snowfall is 52.0 inches. A full forecast may be viewed here.
The small-town size of Ely, Nevada is a clever disguise for its ability to host destination-worthy events. Ely features an 18-hole golf course, a 700-seat convention center, a new $3-million swimming facility, almost 800 hotel rooms, several 24-hour dining facilities, an art-deco movie theater, multiple casinos, a national park, 3 historical museums, an art gallery and a small airport.
Population: 4,255 (2010)
Elevation: 6,437 ft
District: White Pine County
Coordinates (WGS84): 39.253333, -114.877222
Average July High: 87°
Partly cloudy. Lows overnight in the mid 20s.
Partly cloudy skies. Low near 25F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.
Some sun in the morning with increasing clouds during the afternoon. High 41F. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Last updated on
Thu, 27-Apr 8:45 pm
Ely, Nevada owes its existence to the nearby porphyry copper deposits discovered early in the 20th century. At one time, the open-pit mines were the largest human-made hole on the planet.
The Nevada Northern Railroad was created to haul copper ore from Ely to the Southern Pacific Railroad to the north. At a time when the United States was heavily adopting residential electrical power, the mines at Ely, Nevada were the dominant source of copper used in transmission lines.
Although the railroad isn't used to move copper these days, it still exists as a fully-functioning museum offering short-line excursions through the mining district. And Ely's copper mine is still one of the largest employers in the county.