Construction Progress on the California Trail Interpretive Center at Elko, Nevada.
Construction workers checking out the roof of the California Trail Center.

Elko Field Office, BLM

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News Release Date: July 5, 2007

Contact: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386

Contact: Chuck Milliken, (801) 741-1012 x116

Elko, Nev. — “We’re continuing to make progress on the thousand and one details at the construction site,” said Dennis Petersen, California Trail Center Construction Project Inspector. “West Coast Construction is doing the final grading in the plaza area. They excavated for a portion of the water feature that is based on the Humboldt River and Humboldt Sink.”


Petersen added that Jackson Drywall constructed light gage steel framing for the interior walls throughout the building. Venture Allglaze Glass installed window frames in the building. Kodiak Roofing installed the roof insulation, polypropylene roof covering and are preparing to install the rock ballast over the roof coverings.


When completed, the Trail Center will occupy an 11-acre footprint and will include 16,000 square feet in the main facility and a similar-sized interpretive plaza east of the building. Construction is scheduled to be completed in early 2008.




The story of traveling the California Trail through the Great Basin is the story of the Humboldt River. It’s had several names and its been called a lot of things - and not all of them polite. The last discovered American river, it was first known as Unknown River in the late 1820s. Next, it was called Ogden’s River, then Mary’s River (trapper lore bestowed a wife on Ogden), then St. Mary’s River and finally John C. Fremont named it the Humboldt after Baron Alexander von Humboldt. From Humboldt Wells in northeast Nevada to the “sink” and the start of the Forty Mile Desert in western Nevada, tens of thousands of emigrants traveled along its dusty path. 


One Iowa traveler in 1850 wrote this poem to the Mary’s River:


"Meanest and muddiest, filthiest stream, most cordially I hate you; Meaner and muddier still you seem since the first day I met you. Your namesake better was no doubt, a truth, the scriptures tell, Her seven devils were cast out, but yours are in you still. What means these graves so fresh and new along your banks on either side? They’ve all been dug and filled by you, thou guilty wretch, thou homicide. Now fare thee well, we here shake hands and part (I hope) to meet no more, I’d rather die in happier lands than longer live upon your shore."


from Dale Morgan’s, The Humboldt, Highroad of the West


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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National Trails Intermountain Region
California National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(801) 741-1012

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