Elko, Nevada facts

Elko, Nevada
City
Downtown Elko
Downtown Elko
Motto: The Heart of Northeast Nevada
Country United States
State Nevada
County Elko
First settled 1868
Designated county seat 1869
Incorporated (city) 1917
Government
 • Mayor Chris Johnson
 • Senate Pete Goicoechea (R)
 • Assembly John Ellison (R)
 • U.S. Congress Mark Amodei (R)
Area
 • Total 17.6 sq mi (45.7 km2)
 • Land 17.6 sq mi (45.7 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 5,066 ft (1,544 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,297
 • Density 1,037/sq mi (400.5/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 89801-89803
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-22500
GNIS feature ID 0845452
Website www.ci.elko.nv.us
Nevada Historical Marker
Reference #: 106

Elko (Shoshoni: Natakkoa, "Rocks Piled on One Another") is the largest city and county seat of Elko County, Nevada, United States. The population was 18,297 at the 2010 census. The city straddles the Humboldt River.

Elko is the principal city of the Elko Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Elko and Eureka counties. It is the largest city for over 130 miles (210 km) in all directions, making it, as its city motto states, "The Heart of Northeast Nevada".

It is home to Great Basin College, as well as to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office serving most of northern and central Nevada.

History

2014-06-04 12 04 00 View east along the Union Pacific Railroad from the 5th Street Bridge in Elko, Nevada
Elko was settled with the coming of the railroad, which still runs past downtown Elko near the Humboldt River.

Though Elko lies along the route of the historic California Trail, it was first inhabited only in 1868, when it was at the east end of the railroad tracks built by the Central Pacific Railroad (the portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad built from California to Utah). When the railroad crews moved on, Elko remained, serving as a center for ranching, mining, rail freight and general supplies.

2013-05-31 18 22 04 View southwest along the Humboldt River from the 9th Street Footbridge in downtown Elko Nevada
View southwest along the Humboldt River from the 9th Street Footbridge in downtown Elko

Elko is said to have been named by Charles Crocker, a superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was especially fond of animal names and added the letter "o" to Elk. There is no definitive evidence of this naming history, but it has become the widely accepted version.

The first Elko County Courthouse was built in 1869. Elko was officially incorporated as a city in 1917.

In 1925, the Kelly Act (also known as the Airmail Act of 1925) authorized the United States Postal Service to contract with private airlines for the feeder routes that fed the main transcontinental route. The first commercial airmail flight in the United States was on the 487-mile (784 km) Airmail Route #5 from Pasco, Washington, to what would become Elko Regional Airport on April 6, 1926. The flight was piloted by Leon D. Cuddeback and included a brief stop in Boise, Idaho, to pick up more mail.

The 1910 replacement for the original courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The U.S. Post Office-Elko Main, built in 1933, is also listed.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.6 square miles (45.7 km2), all land, though the path of the Humboldt River fills from time to time.

Climate

Elko's climate is semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk). January is normally the coldest month of the year, with a daily average temperature of 25.1 °F or −3.8 °C, and July the hottest of the year, with a daily average of 70.2 °F or 21.2 °C. There are an average of 1.8 days with 100 °F (37.8 °C) highs, 44 days of 90 °F or 32.2 °C highs, 24 days that do not top freezing, 198 nights with freezing lows, and 12 nights with sub-0 °F (−17.8 °C) lows; the growing season here is short, as the average window for freezing temperatures is September 10 through June 9. Annual precipitation averages 9.89 inches or 251.2 millimetres, falling on an average of 81 days, while annual snowfall averages 41.5 inches or 1.05 metres. There are normally 130 sunny days each year. The highest temperature on record is 107 °F or 41.7 °C, most recently on July 4, 1981, and the lowest on record is −43 °F or −41.7 °C on January 21, 1937.

The most rainfall in 24 hours was 4.13 inches (104.9 mm) on August 27, 1970, and the most precipitation in one month 5.71 inches (145.0 mm) – all as snow – in January 1916. The most rainfall in one calendar year was 18.34 inches (465.8 mm) in 1983, and the least 4.35 inches (110.5 mm) in 1919, though from July 1923 to June 1924 only 3.72 inches (94.5 mm) was recorded. The most snowfall in one month was 69.0 inches (1.75 m) in January 1890, with the most in one season being more than 91.00 inches (2.31 m) from July 1889 to June 1890 (some days being missing) and the least 6.00 inches (0.15 m) from July 1939 to June 1940. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was 24 inches or 0.61 metres on February 5, 1932, though an average winter will see a maximum snow cover of 7 inches or 0.18 metres.

Climate data for Elko, Nevada (Elko Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
(18.3)
70
(21.1)
78
(25.6)
87
(30.6)
97
(36.1)
104
(40)
107
(41.7)
107
(41.7)
99
(37.2)
92
(33.3)
83
(28.3)
65
(18.3)
107
(41.7)
Average high °F (°C) 36.3
(2.39)
41.4
(5.22)
51.6
(10.89)
59.4
(15.22)
69.2
(20.67)
80.0
(26.67)
90.3
(32.39)
88.5
(31.39)
78.5
(25.83)
64.5
(18.06)
48.2
(9)
37.2
(2.89)
62.09
(16.718)
Average low °F (°C) 13.9
(-10.06)
18.4
(-7.56)
26.2
(-3.22)
31.0
(-0.56)
37.6
(3.11)
44.4
(6.89)
50.1
(10.06)
47.9
(8.83)
39.1
(3.94)
28.7
(-1.83)
21.2
(-6)
14.7
(-9.61)
31.1
(-0.5)
Record low °F (°C) −43
(-41.7)
−41
(-40.6)
−15
(-26.1)
−2
(-18.9)
8
(-13.3)
12
(-11.1)
28
(-2.2)
20
(-6.7)
9
(-12.8)
0
(-17.8)
−16
(-26.7)
−41
(-40.6)
−43
(-41.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.12
(28.4)
0.84
(21.3)
0.99
(25.1)
0.97
(24.6)
0.96
(24.4)
0.65
(16.5)
0.37
(9.4)
0.37
(9.4)
0.57
(14.5)
0.75
(19.1)
1.11
(28.2)
1.20
(30.5)
9.89
(251.2)
Snowfall inches (cm) 10.3
(26.2)
6.6
(16.8)
5.2
(13.2)
3.4
(8.6)
0.5
(1.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.6
(1.5)
5.0
(12.7)
9.9
(25.1)
41.5
(105.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.1 8.3 8.8 8.8 8.1 4.8 3.4 3.4 4.2 5.3 7.7 9.2 81.1
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 7.4 5.7 4.8 3.3 0.8 0 0 0 0 0.7 4.0 7.2 33.9
Source: NOAA (extremes 1890–present)
2014-06-13 12 20 53 View of Elko, Nevada from "E" Mountain in the Elko Hills of Nevada
View of Elko from "E" Mountain

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 1,160
1880 752 −35.2%
1890 766 1.9%
1900 849 10.8%
1910 1,677 97.5%
1920 2,173 29.6%
1930 3,217 48.0%
1940 4,094 27.3%
1950 5,393 31.7%
1960 6,298 16.8%
1970 7,621 21.0%
1980 8,758 14.9%
1990 14,736 68.3%
2000 16,708 13.4%
2010 18,297 9.5%
Est. 2015 20,279 21.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2014-06-04 12 52 00 View northeast along Idaho Street southwest of 5th Street in Elko, Nevada
View northeast along 5th Street (SR 535) in downtown Elko

As of the census of 2000, there were 16,708 people, 6,200 households, and 4,216 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,153.3 people per square mile (445.2/km²). There were 6,948 housing units at an average density of 479.6 per square mile (185.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.16% White, 0.37% African American, 2.66% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 9.63% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.12% of the population.

There were 6,200 households out of which 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.0% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city, the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,608, and the median income for a family was $52,754. Males had a median income of $43,397 versus $27,366 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,101. About 6.1% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Arts, culture and tourist attractions

Annual cultural events

Elko has been the home of the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for the last 27 years. This festival is held each January and is a week-long celebration of life in the rural West, featuring poetry, music, stories, gear, film, photography, and food.

Every July, since 1963, Elko is host to the National Basque Festival. In 2013 they were scheduled to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Humorously referred to as the "Basquo Fiasco", it is a celebration of traditional Basque culture and its ties to the Elko community. The festival includes strongman competitions, handball, a running of the bulls, traditional food and wine, and Basque dancing.

The annual Elko Motorcycle Jamboree, also known as the "Rumble in the Rubies Motorcycle Rally", is usually held in June.

2014-06-04 12 17 12 View across the Elko Hot Hole
Elko Hot Hole, a hot spring on the southwest edge of the city

Museums and other points of interest

Elko is the home of the Western Folklife Center, a regional nonprofit organization that works to expand understanding of the everyday traditions of people who live and work in the American West. The Western Folklife Center is located downtown in the old Pioneer hotel.

2015-03-16 13 24 39 "White King" polar bear on the Commercial Casino in Elko, Nevada
The iconic "White King" at the Commercial Casino in downtown Elko

A number of casinos are located in Elko, including Stockmen's Casino & Hotel, the Commercial Casino, the High Desert Casino, Gold Dust West, the Red Lion Casino, and the Gold County Inn & Casino. The Commercial Casino is notable for having a stuffed 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) polar bear on display. For many years the Red Lion brought gamblers to Elko from many parts of the country through flights on Casino Express. The flights to Elko ended in February 2006.

Several geothermal features are located in Elko, the largest of which is the Elko Hot Hole. These features were utilized by travelers on the California Trail and subsequently by settlers.

Notable attractions in the Elko region include the Ruby Mountains, within which is located the popular Lamoille Canyon. To the north, the Jarbidge Wilderness is among the least visited and cleanest wilderness areas in the United States.

Images


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