Silver State Sights - The Eureka Opera House and Sentinel Museum

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 10:36 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - When you make the drive through the barren Nevada desert down America’s loneliest highway, it’s a welcome place to stretch your legs.

“Eureka prides itself on being the friendliest town on the loneliest road in America,” explained Tracie Barnthouse of Travel Nevada.

Like so many towns in Nevada, Eureka was once a mining town that had a lot more people than it currently does.

“Eureka had almost 9000 people living here,” said 15 year resident Luz Dory. “They came here for the gold.”

Now there are fewer than 1000 residents in a town that has been the county seat since 1873. It’s most famous building, The Eureka Opera House, opened seven years later.

“It had its opening night in 1880 on new year’s eve,” Barnthouse described.

Back then, you may have seen some operas there, along with silent films, and later, movies as we know them now. However, in the late 1950s, the opera house was shut down, and it took over 30 years for it to reopen.

Today, in addition to a place for conventions, the opera house serves as the cultural arts center of eureka, which you can see in several places including downstairs which is home to many of the area’s top pieces artwork and other historical relics.

And that is not the only place in town to find history on display.

“Down the road is the Eureka Sentinel Museum,” said Barnthouse. “The press room is still there from the 1860s, and the walls are plastered with news print that is more than 150 years old.”

All of the newspaper equipment dates back to the boom days of Eureka, when the building served two purposes: The family living upstairs, and printing downstairs.

For the last 20 years, both floors have been part of the museum.

If you want to check it out, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8-5.

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