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Yerington serves as the commercial and political center for the rural areas of Smith and Mason valleys. The Northern Paiute Indians first occupied the valleys, creating ditches to direct water from the East and West Walker rivers toward naturally occurring plants that sustained the tribe. Later, Euro-American settlers built ditches to enlarge the fertile agricultural lands. Like Carson Valley, these two valleys throve in the late nineteenth century by raising beef and produce for the mining centers of Aurora, Nevada, and Bodie, California, to the south and the Comstock to the north. Though the Carson and Colorado Railroad bypassed Yerington in the 1890s, the town survived to become a tightly knit rural community of about 2,900 residents. Even during the 1950s to the 1970s, when Anaconda Copper ran a huge mining operation to the west of town, Yerington retained its rural roots. The town stands on a small grid, with a thriving main street running through the center. To the east of Main Street are many older homes—mostly bungalows and ranch houses—and the town's public schools. Suburbia has, for the most part, been held at bay, though newer businesses have opened on the edges of Main Street rather than downtown.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta

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