Pyramid City

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Pyramid City is a former town located south of Sutcliffe, just outside of the reservation. This location consisted of Upper Pyramid (aka Jonesville) and Lower Pyramid.

Note that there is also a former stage stop, railway station and post office known as Pyramid[1], which is located north of Sutcliffe on the west shore of Pyramid Lake (GNIS 843007) appears on the 1964 Pyramid SW 1:24,000 topo.

Pyramid City's GNIS name is Pyramid (Historical).

Pyramid City is in the Pyramid District.

Thompson and West (1880) state, "Pyramid District lies a few miles west of the south end of Pyramid Lake. As early as 1860 prospectors were through this region, and ledges were discovered, but were considered of little value and were not worked. The croppings along the surface are exposed to view for a long distance, and lay unnoticed for a number of years. On the sixth of March, 1876, Dr. S. Bishop, of Reno, located the Monarch and was soon followed by many others. The doctor had been on a professional visit to the neighborhood, and had found on a table in the house a piece of the rock, which he took home with him, the result of the assay inducing him to make the above location."

"A two-stamp prospect mill was erected by Bishop, and the result of its workings caused quite a rush of people to the new district. The ore so closely resembled that of the Comstock that it was proclaimed that "another Comstock" had been found, and some went so far as to assert that it was the same vein as its noted predecessor of Mount Davidson."

"Pyramid City was at once laid out, and a boarding house and a few buildings were erected, the population soon amounting to nearly 150. During the summer of 1876 daily crowded stages ran from Reno to Pyramid City. Another town, called Cold Springs, was also started some three miles to the east. The district was organized at a miners' meeting, held April 12, 187G. Five town sites were surveyed, and all the springs and mill sites in the vicinity were located."[2]

Thompson and West (1881) state, "Jonesville was laid out two miles from Pyramid City, at which point is situated the Jones & Kinkead Mine, the most important in the district, and the one on which the most work has been done. Work has been temporarilj' suspended on this mine, and as the developments in other claims have not proved as satisfactory as hoped, the district is but lightly populated. Pyramid City contains a post-office and four buildings, and the town of Jonesville, a hotel, a store and a dozen cabins."[3]

An 1884 Gazetteer states, "PYRAMID A town in Washoe county 86 miles northeast of Virginia City and 34 northeast of Reno the county seat nearest railroad station and banking point It contains a quartz mill and ships ore and lumber Population 100. Mail daily. Morral postmaster"[4].

In 1911, The Nevada Historical Society stated: "Pyramid City. While Carson and Fremont were reconnoitering on Fremont's second exploring expedition in January 1844 they came upon a sheet of green water estimated to be about twenty miles in length. Rising from the middle of the lake was a remarkable rock which they judged to be six hundred feet in height and which had the appearance of the Pyramid of Cheops whereupon they named the lake Pyramid Lake. (footnote: Bancroft History of Nevada Colorado and Wyoming 58) Now in 1876 a town was laid out (footnote: Angel History of Nevada 148), which was called Pyramid City on account of its location on Pyramid Lake. The population of the place soon amounted to three hundred and stages were run between Reno and Pyramid City."[5]

Carlson states that Pyramid City was 26 miles from Reno and about 6 miles west of the south end of the lake.[6] Carlson states that the camp had two parts, Upper Pyramid and Lower Pyramid.

Upper Pyramid and Lower Pyramid are shown on the 1878 plat map.[7]


  1. GNIS Pyramid - located on the shore of Pyramid Lake, about 60 miles north of Virginia City and 43 miles northeast of Reno.
  2. Myron Angel, David F. Myrick, "Reproduction of Thompson and West's History of Nevada, 1881," p. 544, (1881, 1958).
  3. Myron Angel, David F. Myrick, "Reproduction of Thompson and West's History of Nevada, 1881," p. 643, (1881, 1958).
  4. "Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona Gazetteer and Business Directory," p. 511, 1884.
  5. Audrey Winifred Ohmert, A.B., "The Significance of the Nomenclature in Washoe County, Nevada," Biennial Report of the Nevada Historical Society, Issue 2, p, 90, 1911.
  6. Helen Carlson, "Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary," p. 196.
  7. "Township 10 North -- Range 21 East (T10NR21E)," 1878.

External Resources

  • GNIS Pyramid (historical) - located south of Sutcliffe, about 25 miles northeast of Reno.
    • Variant: Lower Pyramid, Citation, "Original township survey plats, published in the 1800's. 1888"
    • Variant: Pyramid City, Citation: "Paher, Stanley W. Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Berkeley: Howell-North Books, 1970, 492 pp. Gives historical background for mining towns and camps in Nevada. p35"
  • Edward Waterman Townsend, "Anonymie at Pyramid City," in '"Chimmie Fadden" ; Major Max: And Other Stories", p. 295-302, 1885. Short story about bread baking set in Pyramid City.
  • Topo map, "Reno (1893, Rp. 1945)." "Pyramid" is shown west of the south end of Pyramid Lake.
  • Joyce M. Cox, "Washoe County," p. 62. Image of the Bishop's Monarch Mine, Nevada Historical Society WA00184.