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Battle Mountain, Nevada


Battle Mountain, Nevada

Battle Mountain, Nevada
Census-designated place
Front Street in downtown Battle Mountain
Front Street in downtown Battle Mountain
Location of Battle Mountain, Nevada
Location of Battle Mountain, Nevada
Country United States
State Nevada
 • Senate Dean Rhoads (R)
 • Assembly John Marvel (R)
 • U.S. Congress Open Seat
 • Total 3.6 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Land 3.6 sq mi (9.2 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 4,511 ft (1,375 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,635
 • Density 1,023/sq mi (395.1/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 89820
Area code(s) 775
FIPS code 32-04900
GNIS feature ID 0838652
Reference no. 95

Battle Mountain is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Lander County, Nevada, United States. The population was 3,635 at the 2010 census.[1] Though it has no legal status as a municipality, it still functions as the county seat of Lander County.[2] Its primary economic base is gold mining and to a lesser extent, legalized gaming.

The town is located on Interstate 80 between Winnemucca and Elko.


  • History 1
  • Geography and climate 2
  • Transportation 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Sports 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • Education 7
  • Notable residents 8
  • National recognition 9
  • Battle Mountain meteorite 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Gold and copper mines in the Battle Mountain Mining District

The Battle Mountain area was home to the Northern Paiute and Shoshone peoples. The area was noted by fur trappers in the 1820s and 30s. It served as a waypoint for westward-bound travel on the Emigrant Trail along the Humboldt River by 1845. According to local legends the name stems from confrontations between native Americans and early settlers during the 1850s and 60s.[3]

When copper ore was discovered in 1866 and mining began, the Central Pacific Railroad started a station to support the mining activity. In 1870 the railroad moved the Argenta station to Battle Mountain and established a townsite to serve the Battle Mountain copper and gold mining district.[4]

In 1874, the Nevada Legislature overrode the governor's veto and approved a railroad from Austin to Battle Mountain. The Nevada Central Railroad from Battle Mountain to Austin was completed in 1880. The rail line was constructed to connect the silver mines around Austin to the Central Pacific line at Battle Mountain. The rail line served the Austin area until it was abandoned in 1938.[5]

Ulysses S. Grant spoke in the town in 1879 during his western speaking tour.

President Woodrow Wilson established Battle Mountain Indian Colony by executive order (Lander) in 1917.

In 1919, Nevada's Red Scare Miners held a ten-day strike at the Battle Mountain Copper Mines.

In a 1979 ruling, the Nevada Supreme Court moved the Lander County seat to Battle Mountain.

Chiefs Frank Temoke and Frank Brady refused the government's offer of a payoff under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley at Battle Mountain on December 11, 1992.

A 2008 earthquake of 6.3 magnitude that hit northeastern Nevada severely damaged one of the city's oldest historical buildings, the Lemaire Building, which was condemned.

Geography and climate

The Humboldt River in Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Humboldt and the Reese. The town is in the Humboldt valley between the Shoshone Range to the southeast, the Battle Mountains to the southwest and the Sheep Creek Range across the Humboldt to the north.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km2), all of it land.[1]

Battle Mountain's climate is semi-arid (Köppen climate classification 'BSk'), receiving just enough precipitation to avoid arid classification. Due to aridity and high elevation, the area commonly experiences large diurnal temperature variation, particularly in summer, where it frequently approaches and exceeds 40 °F (22 °C).[6] The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 30.9 °F (−0.6 °C) in January to 75.5 °F (24.2 °C) in July. There are 14 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, 74 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, 11 days where the high does not rise above freezing, and 7 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually; the average window for freezing temperatures is September 16 to May 29.[7] The average seasonal snowfall of 20 in (51 cm) on average occurs from November 25 to April 2, the majority of it occurring in December and January. With a period of record only dating back to 1944, extremes range from −39 °F (−39 °C) on December 22, 1990, up to 112 °F (44 °C) on July 12, 2002.

Climate data for Battle Mountain, Nevada (Lander County Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41.2
Average low °F (°C) 20.6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.90
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.3 7.0 7.6 7.3 7.0 4.7 2.2 2.4 3.4 4.5 6.0 6.6 66.1
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.0 2.5 1.9 .8 .2 0 0 0 0 .1 1.6 2.6 12.6
Source: NOAA[7]


I-80 in Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain is located along Interstate 80, approximately halfway between Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Battle Mountain is the starting point of Nevada State Route 305 which heads southward to Austin, Nevada.

The Union Pacific Railroad line runs through Battle Mountain.

The historic narrow-gauge Nevada Central Railroad line ran from Battle Mountain to Austin (long defunct).

Battle Mountain Airport (IATA: BAM, ICAO: KBAM, FAA LID: BAM), also known as Lander County Airport, is a public-use airport located 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the central business district of Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States. This general aviation airport is owned by Lander County and operated by the Battle Mountain Airport Authority.


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 2,871 people, 1,053 households, and 731 families residing in the community. The population density was 1,588.3 people per square mile (612.4/km²). There were 1,455 housing units at an average density of 804.9 per square mile (310.4/km²). The racial makeup of the community was 81.30% White, 0.14% African American, 2.54% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 11.81% from other races, and 3.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.58% of the population.

There were 1,053 households out of which 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.28.

The population is spread out with 33.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.4 males.

The median income for a household in the community was $42,981, and the median income for a family was $50,995. Males had a median income of $45,313 versus $25,417 for females. The per capita income for the community was $16,975. About 7.8% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.


Battle Mountain hosts an annual bike race on a long, straight, flat stretch of Highway 305 just outside of town. The event draws teams from all over the world as they attempt to build and pedal the fastest bicycles on earth. The event is known as the "World Human Powered Speed Challenge".[9]

On September 14, 2013, Sebastiaan Bowier from the Netherlands established himself as "the fastest man alive" by pedaling a streamlined bicycle at 83.13 mph (133.78 km/h) over a 200 meter distance. Bowier's run eclipsed the prior record of 82.8 mph (133.3 km/h) set on September 18, 2009 by Sam Whittingham. Whittingham's record run in 2009 won the .decimach prize for going one tenth the speed of sound (with adjustments for slope and elevation).[10]

In 2009, Barbara Buatois, a French woman, became the "Fastest Woman Alive" by setting the world woman's bicycle speed record at 75.69 mph (121.81 km/h).

Also annually held on the same stretch of road is the "Pony Express",[11] an open road event from Battle Mountain to Austin and back. It is the longest open road race in the country, averaging a total of 130 miles (210 km). The race consists of cars from the 1960s-era muscle cars to the most modern sports cars.

In popular culture

  • The Glass Castle, a memoir written by former columnist Jeannette Walls, described a significant portion of her childhood in which she and her family lived in Battle Mountain while her father worked in the local mining industry.
  • Bestselling author and former US Air Force pilot Dale Brown has used a fictional, futuristic subterranean air base in the vicinity of Battle Mountain as a setting of several of his novels.[12]


Notable residents

National recognition

In December 2001, the Washington Post published an article by Gene Weingarten titled "Why Not The Worst?" that popularly titled Battle Mountain as the "Armpit of America."[13] The town used the unofficial title as a publicity opportunity, and hosted an annual "Armpit Festival" from 2002-2005, which was sponsored by Old Spice and awarded deodorant-themed prizes to participants.[14]

On January 2, 2009, The New York Times released an article entitled "A Nevada Town Escapes the Slump, Thanks to Gold".[15] The article regards the national economic depression and discusses Battle Mountain's economy.

Battle Mountain meteorite

A meteorite fall was reported on 22 Aug 2012 on Battle Mountain at coordinates . It is classified as an ordinary chondrite. Twenty-three fragments with a mass of 2.9 kg had been collected by 3 Oct 2012.[16]

"Thanks to Gold," miners were hostile towards efforts to collect fragments, but a 1.4-pound (630-gram) fragment of the Battle Mountain meteorite is currently undergoing analysis at JPL.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Battle Mountain CDP, Nevada". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Battle Mountain Community, Lander County Online Government
  4. ^ About Battle Mountain
  5. ^ in Narrow Gauge and Short Lines Railroads of the WestNevada Central Narrow Gauge,Michael Brown,
  6. ^ "Battle Mountain Monthly - Weather Averages Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data".  
  8. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  9. ^ The Recumbent Bicycle and Human Powered Vehicle Information Center. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  10. ^ The Recumbent Bicycle and Human Powered Vehicle Information Center. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  11. ^ Pony Express 130 - Event History & Coverage - Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Why Not The Worst?. (2006-11-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  14. ^ Armpit Festival: Old Spice sponsored-event draws big crowd. (2003-08-17). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  15. ^ NYT article
  16. ^ Battle Mountain meteorite, The Meteoritical Society
  17. ^ NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2012, October 12). Meteorite hunters: How to hunt a space rock. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 13, 2012, from /releases/2012/10

External links

  • Complete Battle Mountain information with Photo Gallery
  • Battle Mountain history and description
  • Battle Mountain Chamber of Commerce
  • Lander County
  • Battle Mountain Branch Library
  • Battle Mountain Bugle
  • Battle Mountain Arts
  • Pony Express 130
  • Weingarten, Gene. "Why Not the Worst?" Washington Post Magazine, 2 December 2001.
  • Battle Mountain Human-Powered Vehicle Race Site
  • A Nevada Town Escapes the Slump, Thanks to Gold
  • Nevada Central Narrow Gauge
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