Have you ever wondered why we’re called Galena Creek, or perhaps you wonder why there’s a big G plastered on the mountain when you’re driving here from Reno? Let’s dig through some history and figure it out!
This area was developed as a mining property in 1860 by R.S. and Andrew Hitch. Their goal was to mine for gold, but the rock they were mining was too high in Lead Sulphide to be profitable. This Lead Sulphide is also known as Galena, hence the name. The prospects of mining were much better at the Comstock silver mines in Virginia City so the town of Galena became a source of timber for the Virginia City mines. The lush, forested area surrounding Galena was cut down and sent to Virginia City by teamster, or teams of mules. On the way back, the mules brought ore from Virginia City that were processed by mills in Galena. Between 1860 and 1865, the small town of Galena grew as the lumber business and ore processing took off.
Then, from 1864-65, a severe winter halted much of the movement between Virginia City and Galena resulting in most of the Galena mills being shut down. To add insult to injury, two devastating fires in 1865 and 1867 destroyed the town of Galena and shut down industry permanently.
The land located in the Galena Creek Regional Park is now jointly owned and managed by the USDA Forest Service and Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space. They have created the beautiful picnic areas, visitor center, and trails we all know and enjoy today.
This blog is managed by the staff and volunteers of Galena Creek Visitor Center. We write about parts of the natural world that we find fascinating and want to teach others about, as well as keeping you updated on the Visitor Center and park. If you want to learn more, please sign up for our monthly newsletter, where we share upcoming events, updates on the ecology of the park, and highlights from each month.