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aerial photograph of Gerlach Nevada taken by Tazameir

Gerlach is named for Gerlach Land and Livestock Company from the Gerlach and Waltz Ranch, owned by Louis Gerlach. The town was settled in 1906 when the Western Pacific Railroad was built. The Gerlach Post Office was created on October 9, 1909.

Gerlach NV is at Highway 447 mile marker 75, and is 103 miles from Reno. Highway 447 was formerly known as Highway 34.


The population over the years.


Situated between Black Rock Desert on the east and Smoke Creek Desert on the west, the townsite of Gerlach lies in country long occupied by prehistoric man. John C. Frémont traveled through Northern Paiute Indian lands when he camped here in 1843 and named "Boiling Springs" 1/4 mile north of town. This was also emigrant country; the Noble Road left the Applegate-Lassen Trail at Black Rock Springs, went past this site and southward through Smoke Creek Desert toward Susanville. The town was established when the Western Pacific Railroad was constructed in Nevada 1905-1909. It still functions as a railroad division headquarters.

Gerlach—A town on the Western Pacific Railway, 125 miles northeast of Reno, 438 miles northeast of San Francisco, 483 miles west of Salt Lake City, 94 miles west of Winnemucca, Nev. ; railroad division point. Stages from this town to Eaglesville, Cedarville, Bidwell-Modoc Co., California. Population, 500. Has express, Western Union telegraph, hotels, several stores, school house. Shipping point for many towns north and west.

  • The 1914-1915 WPRR Descriptive Time Table states: "The substantial station of Gerlach marks the time change from the Eastern to the Western Division of the Western Pacific Railway. The locality is noted for its group of warm hot springs and their battered adobe fort, at the base of the hills a mile and a half to the right. Amidst high sandstone ridges scored by wind and weather, through soda and borax flats imprinted with antelope tracks the train passes into the lava district of the Black Desert"[2]
  • Trego, Robert, "Black Rock Desert Roads," Nevada State Journal, October 23, 1955, p10-11. Mentions the Stanley Cafe at Gerlach. Also mentioned are Trego, Sulphur and Jungo.
  • Reno Evening Gazette, February 11, 1965, "Water System Study Set," p. 22. - Feasibility study for Gerlach to own and maintain its own water system.
  • Reno Evening Gazette, September 8, 1965, "Little Gerlach Faces a Big Problem," p. 16. Western Pacific Railroad, which owns the land, wants to sell. There are about 35 to 40 people leasing land.
  • New York Times, August 17, 1975, "Railroad sells town in Nevada for $18,000". Papers were signed that week. 219 acres and the water system were sold.
  • Residents buy town, August 16, 1975, Victoria Advocate. Joe Ugalde quoted.


Findagrave: Gerlach Cemetery


  • Paul L. Henchey, "Gerlach, Nevada," UCD.PIC.D515.2010.0588, SV-588 1952 October 4 Physical Description: 1 photograph: negative, UC Davis.

See Also