Stillwater- THIRD COUNTY SEAT We Visited: 6-23-2001
00 00' 00"N, 117 00' 00"W - xxxxxxxxx quad

Directions: Take Highway 50 East for 4.9 miles to Stillwater Road; take Stillwater Road 10.5 miles to Stillwater.

From Fallon: 15.4 miles

What Was

Stillwater is a classic example of what happens to a town when transportation routes change slightly. Or did they revise transportation routes because of Stillwater's decline? You be the judge. Stillwater began as an overland stage station in 1862. Things began humming and it got a post office in 1865. In 1868 it became Churchill's third county seat, wrestling the honor away from the doomed La Plata. Utilizing the nearby lakes, local farmers developed one of the state's first irrigation systems to supply nearby mining camps with groceries. The community population peaked in 1880, It just happened to be far enough off the beaten track that it got sucker-punched by Fallon and was never quite able to get up from the canvas. When the county seat was removed to Fallon in 1904, barely three dozen residents remained. The National Wildlife Refuge of 22,000 acres of wetland habitat, natural breeding and feeding grounds for waterfowl, was created in 1948. (Nevada DOT - NHM216)

"It's [La Plata] courthouse was a dwelling acquired on October 15, 1864 for $700 from Anton Kaufman. By 1867 La Plata's mining boom declined and support for moving the county seat gained momentum. In a special election held on October 22, 1867, the electorate cast thirty-three votes for re-locating the county government to Stillwater, only seventeen voted for a move to Big Adobe, a small way station west

"When the Churchill Co. Seat moved to Stillwater in December 1868, officials dismantled the house-turned-courthouse in La Plata and reassembled it in the new location. Eventually, finding the one room wooden structure unsuitable, they finished construction on a more permanent two story courthouse in 1870." (James, Temples of Justice- County Court Houses of Nevada).

Post Office: Jan 1865 - Apr 1959

Newspaper: None

What is

Stillwater is a shadow of its former self. Lots of abandoned cars (or cars that should be abandoned) and dwellings and outbuildings in various states of decay- many of them in the last stages. There are some weird looking birds flying around out there at Stillwater- even if you don't consider yourself a bird watcher- you should drive out there just to take a gander at some of the unusual creatures that use Stillwater as a pit stop.

An abandoned home just east of the school. If I'm not mistaken, this is the home of the teacher.
Many birds rely on Stillwater as part of their migratory route. This is not one of them.
Stillwater Hotel
(Courtesy Churchill County Museum)
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