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Battle Mountain, Nevada
Front Street in downtown Battle Mountain
Front Street in downtown Battle Mountain
Location of Battle Mountain, Nevada
Location of Battle Mountain, Nevada
Country United States
State Nevada
County Lander
 • Total 3.6 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Land 3.6 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
4,511 ft (1,375 m)
 • Total 3,635
 • Density 1,023/sq mi (395.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-04900
GNIS feature ID 0838652
Reference #: 95

Battle Mountain is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lander County, Nevada, United States. The population was 3,635 at the 2010 census. Though it has no legal status as a municipality, it still functions as the county seat of Lander County. Its primary economic base is gold mining and to a lesser extent, legalized gaming.

The town is located on Interstate 80 between Winnemucca and Elko.


Battle Mtn Au & Cu mines
Gold and copper mines in the Battle Mountain Mining District

The Battle Mountain area was home to the Northern Paiute and Shoshone peoples. The area was noted by fur trappers in the 1820s and '30s. It served as a waypoint for westward-bound travel on the Emigrant Trail along the Humboldt River by 1845. According to local legends the name stems from confrontations between Native Americans and early settlers during the 1850s and '60s.

When copper ore was discovered in 1866 and mining began, the Central Pacific Railroad started a station to support the mining activity. In 1870 the railroad moved the Argenta station to Battle Mountain and established a townsite to serve the Battle Mountain copper and gold mining district.

In 1874, the Nevada Legislature overrode the governor's veto and approved a railroad from Austin to Battle Mountain. The Nevada Central Railroad from Battle Mountain to Austin was completed in 1880. The rail line was constructed to connect the silver mines around Austin to the Central Pacific line at Battle Mountain. The rail line served the Austin area until it was abandoned in 1938.

Ulysses S. Grant spoke in the town in 1879 during his western speaking tour.

President Woodrow Wilson established Battle Mountain Indian Colony by executive order (Lander) in 1917.

In 1919, Nevada's Red Scare Miners held a ten-day strike at the Battle Mountain Copper Mines.

In a 1979 ruling, the Nevada Supreme Court moved the Lander County seat to Battle Mountain.

Chiefs Frank Temoke and Frank Brady refused the government's offer of a payoff under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley at Battle Mountain on December 11, 1992.

The 2008 Wells, Nevada earthquake of 6.3 magnitude that affected the northeastern part of the state severely damaged one of the city's oldest historical buildings, the Lemaire Building, which was condemned.


Copper mining started in 1866 and the Copper Canyon Mine operated from 1917 until 1955. The Tomboy-Minnie ore deposits were developed after the depletion of the West ore body, which was developed after the depletion of the East ore body. Open-pit mining started in 1967. Placer gold was discovered in 1912. Mining switched from the copper-gold-silver ores to gold-silver ores in 1979. The Fortitude gold-silver skarn body was discovered in 1981. The Surprise gold deposit was discovered in 1986.

The economic geologic zone is primarily in the Antler Sequence, consisting of the Middle Pennsylvanian Battle Formation, the Pennsylvanian to Permian Antler Peak Limestone, and the Permian Edna Mountain Formation. These Paleozoic rocks were intruded in the Tertiary by a granodiorite porphyry which generated the ore bodies as zones of disseminated sulfide minerals. These zones include copper-gold-silver next to the granodiorite, followed by a gold-silver zone, then a lead-zinc-silver zone.

Geography and climate

2014-05-31 15 23 35 View down the Humboldt River from Nevada State Route 806 in Battle Mountain, Nevada
The Humboldt River in Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Humboldt and the Reese. The town is in the Humboldt valley between the Shoshone Range to the southeast, the Battle Mountains to the southwest and the Sheep Creek Range across the Humboldt to the north.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 3.6 square miles or 9.3 square kilometres, all of it land.

Battle Mountain’s climate is cool semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk), receiving just enough precipitation to avoid arid classification. Due to aridity and high elevation, the area commonly experiences large diurnal temperature variation, particularly in summer, where it averages almost 45 °F or 25 °C. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 29.8 °F or −1.2 °C in January to 73.6 °F or 23.1 °C in July. There are on average fourteen afternoons of 100 °F or 37.8 °C or hotter maxima, 74 afternoons of 90 °F or 32.2 °C or hotter maxima, eleven afternoons where the high does not rise above freezing, and seven mornings falling to or below 0 °F or −17.8 °C annually; the average window for freezing temperatures is September 16 to May 29. By far the coldest month has been January 1949 with a mean of 4.6 °F (−15.2 °C) and a mean minimum of −12.0 °F (−24.4 °C) – between January 2 and February 3 the temperature did not reach freezing, whereas during the winter of 2011/2012 every single day topped freezing. The hottest month has been July 2013 with a mean of 79.9 °F (26.6 °C) and a mean maximum of 100.1 °F (37.8 °C), although July 2007‘s maximum was even hotter at 100.8 °F (38.2 °C).

With a period of record only dating back to 1944, extremes range from −39 °F (−39.4 °C) on December 22, 1990, up to 112 °F (44.4 °C) on July 12, 2002.

The mean seasonal snowfall of 19.1 inches or 0.49 metres on average occurs from November 25 to April 2, with half the annual snow falling during December and January alone. The snowiest season has been from July 1992 to June 1993, with a total of 53.2 inches (1.35 m), whereas only 2.2 inches or 0.06 metres fell between July 2014 and June 2015. Total seasonal precipitation has ranged from 15.87 inches or 403.1 millimetres between July 1997 and June 1998, down to only 2.97 inches or 75.4 millimetres between July 1958 and June 1959.

Climate data for Battle Mountain 4 SE, Nevada (1971 to 2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
Average high °F (°C) 42.8
Average low °F (°C) 16.8
Record low °F (°C) −35
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.86
Snowfall inches (cm) 5.4
trace 0.0
trace 0.4
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.1 7.0 7.5 7.1 7.5 4.7 2.3 2.7 3.6 4.3 6.6 6.2 66.6
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.2 2.3 1.6 0.9 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.5 2.4 12.2
Source #1: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Source #2: National Weather Service, Elko


2014-05-31 15 48 29 View east along Interstate 80 from the Exit 229 overpass in Battle Mountain, Nevada
I-80 in Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain is located along Interstate 80, approximately halfway between Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Battle Mountain is the starting point of Nevada State Route 305 which heads southward to Austin, Nevada.

The Union Pacific Railroad line runs through Battle Mountain.

The historic narrow-gauge Nevada Central Railroad line ran from Battle Mountain to Austin (long defunct).

Battle Mountain Airport (IATA: BAM, ICAO: KBAM, FAA LID: BAM), also known as Lander County Airport, is a public-use airport located 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the central business district of Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States. This general aviation airport is owned by Lander County and operated by the Battle Mountain Airport Authority.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,871 people, 1,053 households, and 731 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,588.3 people per square mile (612.4/km²). There were 1,455 housing units at an average density of 804.9 per square mile (310.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 81.30% White, 0.14% African American, 2.54% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 11.81% from other races, and 3.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.58% of the population.

There were 1,053 households out of which 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 33.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $42,981, and the median income for a family was $50,995. Males had a median income of $45,313 versus $25,417 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $16,975. About 7.8% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.

In popular culture

  • Downtown Battle Mountain, the debut album by American post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance, was released on May 15, 2007. According to an interview with vocalist Jonathan Mess, the album took its name from Battle Mountain, which the band visited while the album was being written. A sequel to the album, Downtown Battle Mountain II, was released on March 8, 2011.
  • The Glass Castle, a memoir written by former columnist Jeannette Walls, described a significant portion of her childhood in which she and her family lived in Battle Mountain while her father worked in the local mining industry.

National recognition

In December 2001, the Washington Post published an article by Gene Weingarten titled "Why Not The Worst?" that popularly titled Battle Mountain as the "Armpit of America." The town used the unofficial title as a publicity opportunity, and hosted an annual "Armpit Festival" from 2002–2005, which was sponsored by Old Spice and awarded deodorant-themed prizes to participants.

On January 2, 2009, The New York Times released an article entitled "A Nevada Town Escapes the Slump, Thanks to Gold". The article regards the national economic depression and discusses Battle Mountain's economy.

Battle Mountain meteorite

A meteorite fall was reported on 22 Aug 2012 on Battle Mountain at coordinates 40°40′05″N 117°11′21″W / 40.66813°N 117.18913°W / 40.66813; -117.18913. It is classified as an ordinary chondrite. Twenty-three fragments with a mass of 2.9 kg had been collected by 3 Oct 2012.

"Thanks to Gold," miners were hostile towards efforts to collect fragments, but a 1.4-pound (630-gram) fragment of the Battle Mountain meteorite is currently undergoing analysis at JPL.

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