Why is Nevada called "The Silver State"?
I'm driving through Nevada today and all along the way I've seen, "Silver Star Community ready for your business" and at first I went... so where's the gold star community? But then I remembered Nevada is the Silver State, so the Silver Star makes way more sense! Though it made me wonder why Nevada is called the Silver State, must be because of silver, right?
"The Silver State" nickname dates back to the Nevada silver-rush days of the mid 1800's. At that time, silver was literally shoveled off the ground in Nevada; heavy gray crusts of silver had formed on the surface of the desert over millions of years and were polished by dust and wind to the dull luster of a cow horn (called "horn silver").
A big silver bed could be tens of meters wide and more than a kilometer long (worth $27,000 a ton in 1860's dollars). The territory of Nevada and surrounding states were picked clean of silver within a few decades.
These "surface bonanzas" lasted only a few seasons, long enough to put up saloons and little else. The rough, violent life of many western movies reached its purest state in the Nevada silver camps.
Other nicknames for Nevada are "The Sagebrush State" (sagebrush is Nevada's state flower and appears on the state flag), and "Battle Born State" - the phrase "Battle Born" is featured on Nevada's state flag; it signifies that Nevada entered the Union during the Civil War (1864).
The Nevada Mining Association credits silver deposits as the key to statehood and a driving force in the state’s economy in the mid-nineteenth century. Mining is still vital to their economy. The Nevada mining industry directly employed over 11,000 workers in the metal ore mining sector as listed in its 2015 report. According to that report, Nevada’s production of gold, not silver, accounted for 77.6% of the U.S. total and helped make the U.S. the fourth leading gold producer in the world in 2015. Nevada alone accounted for 5.4% of world production of gold.