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Gridley Store

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1863. Northwest corner of Main (U.S. 50) and Water sts.
  • Gridley Store (Bret Morgan)
  • Gridley Store (Julie Nicoletta)

Representative of the early commercial buildings erected in Austin's boom period, this one-story granite structure is simple in form and unadorned. The store is famous for its association with one of Nevada's legends, Reuel Gridley, who lost a bet and had to carry a fifty-pound flour sack across town. He then auctioned off the sack and sent the proceeds to the Sanitary Fund to help wounded Union soldiers during the Civil War. So successful was the auction that Gridley auctioned the sack several times in Nevada, California, and New York, raising thousands of dollars. Mark Twain recounts these exploits in Roughing It. In the 1980s the building's owner rehabilitated the old store with a grant from the federal government, adding a new roof and installing multipane doors.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Gridley Store", [Austin, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 173-173.

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