Nevada County Regional Profiles
European explorers traveled through Nevada in the early 19th century, but it was not until 1851 that the first settlements were established. An act of Congress created the Territory of Nevada in 1861. President Lincoln proclaimed Nevada’s admission to the Union as the 36th state in 1864. Today, Nevada has 17 counties, including Carson City, which is a municipal government.
The first Nevada Territorial Legislature established nine counties on November 25, 1861, including Churchill, Douglas, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lyon, Ormsby, Storey, Washoe and Lake. Lake County was renamed Roop County on December 5, 1862 and then consolidated with Washoe County in 1889 because of its very small population. Two more counties, Lander and Nye, were organized when Nevada was a territory, so that the total number of counties in Nevada when it became a state was 11. In the first 10 years of statehood four more counties were organized: Elko (1869), Eureka (1873), Lincoln (1866), and White Pine (1869). Over three decades passed before the organization of any additional counties.
After the turn of the century, the last three counties were created, Clark (1909), Mineral (1911), and Pershing (1919). In 1969 Ormsby County and Carson City were consolidated into one municipal government known as Carson City.
In 1987, the Legislature created Bullfrog County, a 144-square mile enclave within southern Nye County. The purpose of Bullfrog County was to enhance the state's ability to receive funds from the Federal Government pursuant to the "Grants Equal to Taxes" provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Following a challenge by Nye County in the Nevada district court, the legislation was judged to be unconstitutional and subsequently was repealed by the Legislature in 1989.