Seat of Lander County

The name "Battle Mountain" derives from a prospector named George Tannehill who discovered rich copper ore in the nearby Galena Range in 1866. Within a week he formed the Battle Mountain Mining District, and in 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad, the western half of the first transcontinental railroad, built a siding to offload supplies for the mines of the district. In 1870, the railroad decided to move their station from Argenta to this new area, aptly keeping the name, "Battle Mt." So what of the name? Mr. Tannehill told a newspaper that he chose the name because he and twenty-three fellow emigrants "fought the Indians here" in 1857. The only thing is, there are no records of any mention of a skirmish between George Tannehill, Captain Pierson, or twenty-three emigrants and local natives. With that, we're left to decipher the origins of "Battle Mountain," and out of a handful of historical possibilities, the most likeliest scenario indicates that Tannehill simply wanted to make himself sound prestigious. Rather than the stoic name of "Tannehill," he stuck with the much more interesting name, "Battle Mountain."

Battle is a rather new county seat in Nevada only given the title when it was moved from Austin in 1979. It's one of many "US 40 towns" that although today, service Interstate 80, before that, it served the original US 40, across the width of Nevada during the 1950s. Still, this small city carries on and its location earns it gold. Most people know Battle Mountain as little more than a strategic rest stop as they skirt quickly across the Silver State on I-80; after leaving Winnemucca, that car seat begins to gum to your pants, and then your soft drink runs out. Just as the interstate grind has become too much, Battle Mountain appears on the horizon saving the day as a mini oasis of population. For many people, it's caught as a fleeting town on the distance, but those people who do stop, immediately see that something is a little different here. Battle Mountain lacks the neon-bonanza common in other Interstate 80-towns like Elko, Wendover, Reno, and even Winnemucca, and instead, continues to retain a classic feel straight out of the 1950s; a town where residents still count the numbers of cars cruising down its main drag. Although Battle Mountain's main street treads through life at a tortoise's pace, it is ironic that it remains steadily dependent on the interstate, supporting itself from the thousands of tourists who stop for gas, food, and lodging. Above all though, the town's primary economic base is gold mining, home to some very rich operations that take place in the nearby hills of the Galena Range.

In 1987, Battle Mountain won a tongue-in-cheek designation against Bakersfield, California as "the armpit of America." The Battle Mountain Chamber and Visitors Board capitalize on the moniker with t-shirts and advertising campaigns. Later, it made headlines again when an Englishman set the land-speed luge record on nearby SR 305 at 315 mph, set in 1991.


Founded: February 5, 1870

Population: 3,635 (2010)

Zip Code: 89820

Motto:  "Are You Tough Enough?"

Distance in miles fromEdit

Carlin -- 49

Winnemucca -- 53

Elko -- 70

Austin -- 90

Eureka -- 139

Reno -- 218

Las Vegas -- 420

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