Dayton, Nevada

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Dayton, Nevada
Location of Dayton, Nevada
Location of Dayton, Nevada
Coordinates: 39°15′6″N 119°33′43″W / 39.25167°N 119.56194°W / 39.25167; -119.56194Coordinates: 39°15′6″N 119°33′43″W / 39.25167°N 119.56194°W / 39.25167; -119.56194
Country United States
State Nevada
 • Total 31.7 sq mi (82.2 km2)
 • Land 31.7 sq mi (82.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 4,396 ft (1,340 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,964
 • Density 186.3/sq mi (71.9/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 89403
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-17500
GNIS feature ID 0856226
Reference No. 7

Dayton is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lyon County, Nevada, United States. The population was 8,964 at the 2010 census.


Dayton is at the western end of the Twenty-Six Mile Desert at a bend in the Carson River. Immigrants stopping there for water would consider whether to follow the river south or continue west, giving the location its first name, Ponderers Rest. In 1849, Abner Blackburn, while heading for California, discovered a gold nugget in nearby Gold Creek, one of the tributaries of the Carson River.

By 1850, placer miners settled at the mouth of Gold Canyon, working sand bars deposited over the millennia along the path of the creek. Because many Chinese immigrants eventually lived there, some called the community "Chinatown," but it also went by several other names. In 1861, the town officially adopted the name Dayton, after John Day, a local surveyor.

Throughout the 1850s, Dayton served as the commercial hub for miners working in the canyon. With the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, newly founded Gold Hill and Virginia City, six miles to the north, assumed prominence. Dayton prospered by milling ore, using water from the Carson River.

On November 29, 1861, Dayton became the governmental seat for Lyon County.[1] Its 1864 courthouse was one of the first in Nevada. The 1869 opening of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad shifted ore processing upstream to Brunswick Canyon, but Dayton continued to serve as a center of commerce and government.

During the 1860s, the community's population eventually surpassed one hundred and finally reached a peak of nearly 600 in 1910. In 1909, fire destroyed the Lyon County Courthouse. Residents of the growing agricultural community of Yerington to the south called for a shift of the Lyon County seat. This occurred in 1911, leaving Dayton with a shrinking economy and population. By the 1920s, the Lincoln Highway was bringing some tourists to Dayton, but the town remained a quiet reminder of a time when Nevada's gold and silver strikes captured national attention.

In 1961, Dayton won fame as a setting for John Huston's film, The Misfits, the last movie appearances of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Beginning in the 1990s, Dayton experienced phenomenal growth as residential development expanded on the east side of the Carson River. The historic part of Dayton is within the Comstock Historic District, featuring a small but impressive main street, the monumental Odeon Hall, and a fine local museum located in an 1865 schoolhouse.

Dayton claims the designation of Nevada's oldest settlement, a title disputed by the residents of Genoa. Miners residing at the mouth of Gold Canyon noted Colonel Reese and his party passing along the Carson River as they headed for the Sierra foothills to establish Mormon Station, later called Genoa. Today's residents of Genoa point to the region's first post office and several other attributes of stability, correctly noting that their community deserves the title of "Nevada's first town."

Dayton is listed as Nevada Historical Marker 7.[2]


Dayton is located at 39°15′6″N 119°33′43″W / 39.25167°N 119.56194°W / 39.25167; -119.56194 (39.251707, -119.561943).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 31.7 square miles (82 km2), of which 31.7 square miles (82 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.06%) is water.


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 5,907 people, 2,198 households, and 1,674 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 186.3 people per square mile (71.9/km²). There were 2,322 housing units at an average density of 73.2 per square mile (28.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.42% White, 0.36% African American, 1.03% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 3.84% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.80% of the population.

There were 2,198 households out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% were non-families. 18.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $43,599, and the median income for a family was $46,859. Males had a median income of $33,038 versus $26,140 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,417. About 5.3% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Laws of the Territory of Nevada passed at the first regular session of the Legislative Assembly. San Francisco, CA: Valentine & Co. 1862. pp. 289–291. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nevada Historical Markers". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

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