October 31, 1864 – Nevada Joins the Union as the 36th State


On this day in history, Nevada became the Union’s 36th state. Statehood for Nevada was expedited for political reasons. By 1864, although the Civil War was winding down, President Lincoln was facing a tough re-election campaign and he was also anxious to get the 13th Amendment passed abolishing slavery. Nevada Territory was correctly perceived to be both pro-Unionist and strongly Republican. Statehood would not only would this help Lincoln win the election, but afterward, it could help ensure the passage of the amendment.

Lincoln proclaimed Nevada a state on October 31, 1864, and, eight days later, Nevada voted strongly Republican in the Presidential, congressional, and legislative elections.


Despite popular belief, prostitution is illegal in Nevada, except in a licensed house of prostitution (NRS 201.354). For that matter, so is having sex with dead bodies, just in case it should occur to anyone (NRS 201.450). You can read these laws here.

Nevada, ironically nicknamed “The Silver State,” is the largest gold-producing state in the nation. Most of the gold comes from large open-pit heap leach mines. In 2012 the United States was the third-largest gold-producing nation, behind China and Australia. (The nickname came from the fact that America’s largest silver deposit, the Comstock Lode, was found in Nevada in 1859. It was the first major discovery of silver ore in the United States.)

Round Mountain gold mine, aerial view

Round Mountain gold mine, aerial view

But perhaps most apt, given Nevada’s Halloween date of establishment, is the alien activity believed to be common in the state. Nevada is home to the U.S. Air Force facility popularly known as Area 51, which is a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range. The base’s current primary purpose is publicly unknown, and the intense secrecy surrounding it has made it the frequent subject of conjectures and conspiracy theories relating to a military cover-up about captured unidentified flying objects.

Nevada State Route 375 (SR 375) travels near Area 51, and many travelers have reported UFO observations and other strange alien activity along this road. Such stories (and the tourism they inspired) prompted the state to designate the route officially as the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996.


But if you want to sample beer from the Area 51 Craft Brewery, you had better have a proper I.D.



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