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Esmeralda County, Nevada


Esmeralda County, Nevada

Esmeralda County, Nevada
Seal of Esmeralda County, Nevada
Map of Nevada highlighting Esmeralda County
Location in the state of Nevada
Map of the United States highlighting Nevada
Nevada's location in the U.S.
Founded 1861
Seat Goldfield
Largest community Goldfield
 • Total 3,589 sq mi (9,295 km2)
 • Land 3,582 sq mi (9,277 km2)
 • Water 7.2 sq mi (19 km2), 0.2%
 • (2010) 783
 • Density 0.2/sq mi (0/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Website .com.accessesmeraldawww

Esmeralda County is a county in the west of U.S. state of Nevada. As of the 2010 census, the population was 783,[1] making it the least populous county in Nevada. Esmeralda County has no incorporated communities. Its county seat is the Census Designated Place of Goldfield.[2]

Its 2000 census population density of 0.2706 inhabitants per square mile (0.1045/km2) was the second-lowest of any county in the contiguous United States (above Loving County, Texas). Its school district has no high school, so students in grades 9-12 go to school in Tonopah and are in the database of the Nye County School District. Esmeralda is the only Nevada county in the Los Angeles TV market (or any California market) as defined by A.C. Nielsen.[3]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
    • National protected areas 2.3
  • Law and government 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Education 5
  • Communities 6
    • Unincorporated communities 6.1
    • Ghost towns 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Esmeralda County is one of the original counties in Nevada, established in 1861. Esmeralda is the Spanish and Portuguese word for "emerald". An early California miner from San Jose Ca (descended from the Cory family of New Jersey), James Manning Cory, named the Esmeralda Mining District after the Gypsy dancer, Esmeralda, from Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[4]

Esmeralda has had three county seats: Aurora until 1883, Hawthorne from 1883 to 1907 and finally Goldfield. At one point, due to the disputed border with California, Aurora was simultaneously the county seat of both Mono County, California and Esmeralda County, Nevada. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) wrote about his time as a miner in the Esmeralda District in his book Roughing It.

Esmeralda grew from a gold mining boom in the first years of the 20th century. The mines were largely tapped out by the end of the 1910s and the economy and population declined afterwards.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,589 square miles (9,300 km2), of which 3,582 square miles (9,280 km2) is land and 7.2 square miles (19 km2) (0.2%) is water.[5] It is the fourth-smallest county in Nevada by area. A very small part of Death Valley National Park lies in its southeast corner.

The county is dominated by the Silver Peak and Monte Cristo mountain ranges. Mountains in the county include:

  • Boundary Peak, 13,147 feet (4,007 m), the highest natural point in Nevada
  • Piper Peak, 9450 feet (2,880 m), the most prominent peak in Esmeralda County
  • Magruder Mountain 9044 feet (2,756 m)
  • Montezuma Peak, 8373 feet (2,552 m)
  • Emigrant Peak, 6790 feet (2,069 m)

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Boundary Peak, the highest point in both Esmeralda County and the state of Nevada, is in the Inyo National Forest

National protected areas

Law and government

The county seat of Esmeralda County is Goldfield. It was moved to Goldfield on May 1, 1907. The courthouse was opened on May 1, 1908 and has been in continuous use since then. Currently, the Offices of the Assessor, Auditor/Recorder, District Attorney, Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, Treasurer, District Court, and Commissioner are located in the building.[6]


As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 971 people, 455 households, and 259 families residing in the county. The population density was 0 people per square mile (0/km²). There were 833 housing units at an average density of 0 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.98% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 5.15% Native American, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 7.62% from other races, and 4.94% from two or more races. 10.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 455 households out of which 21.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.40% were married couples living together, 6.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.90% were non-families. 36.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.50% under the age of 18, 6.00% from 18 to 24, 23.40% from 25 to 44, 33.00% from 45 to 64, and 17.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 123.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,203, and the median income for a family was $40,917. Males had a median income of $39,327 versus $25,469 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,971. 15.30% of the population and 7.50% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 9.70% are under the age of 18 and 11.40% are 65 or older.


The Esmeralda County School District has three elementary schools that currently serve approximately 90 students.


An abandoned building in Palmetto, an Esmeralda County ghost town

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Nielsen DMA-Designated Market Area Regions 2012-2013, The Nielsen Company, 2012.
  4. ^ Paul F. Starrs, "Esmeralda County, Nevada: Empty Land? Poor Land? Fair Land? Masters thesis, Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 1984
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ Esmeralda County web site
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder".  

External links

  • Official website
  • Esmeralda County School District

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