2019 SIA Fall Tour Recap

2019 SIA Fall Tour

September 19 – 22, Reno, Nevada


The 2019 Society for Industrial Archeology Fall Tour took place September 19-22 in Reno, Nevada.

The “Rush to Washoe” began with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859. The mining boomtowns of Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City and Dayton sprang up overnight. The growth of the Comstock resulted in the development of towns across Nevada. Carson City became the Nevada state capital in 1864, and five years later the U.S. Mint and the Virginia & Truckee Railroad shops were completed. In 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad established the Town of Reno, which became an important agricultural and transportation hub for people and goods, to and from the Comstock. Other industries developed nearby to serve the mining interests, including lumber, ice, charcoal and hydroelectric power. Sparks was established in 1904 when the Southern Pacific Railroad moved its shops from Wadsworth.

After the decline of the mining industry, Reno established itself a major tourist destination. Drawn by gambling, easy divorces and the area’s natural scenery, automobile tourists flocked to Reno. In recent years the region has sought to diversify its economic base, becoming a growing center for technology, manufacturing and product distribution.

The 2019 SIA Fall Tour showcased the region’s diverse industrial heritage. The conference hotel was the Whitney Peak Hotel, located in the heart of downtown, next to the famous Reno Arch.


Thursday, September 19 
Verdi Hydroelectric Plant
West Verdi Concrete Arch Bridge
Donner State Park Visitor Center
Donner Pass Sites (China Wall, Snow Sheds, Summit Bridge)
Central Pacific Railroad Tunnel No. 6

Friday, September 20

Tour A
Ormat Geothermal Plant
Nevada State Railroad Museum
AVK Hydrants and Valves
Bently Heritage Distillery

Tour B
Lahontan Dam and Powerhouse
Tesla Gigafactory
Kimmie Candy
Havelock Wool

Saturday, September 21 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Virginia City
Comstock History Center
Chollar Mine Tour
Donovan Mill – Silver City