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Winnemucca, Nevada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winnemucca, Nevada
Downtown Winnemucca viewed from Winnemucca Mountain
Downtown Winnemucca viewed from Winnemucca Mountain
Humboldt County and City of Winnemucca, Nevada
Humboldt County and City of Winnemucca, Nevada
Coordinates: 40°58′6″N 117°43′36″W / 40.96833°N 117.72667°W / 40.96833; -117.72667
CountryUnited States
Named forChief Winnemucca
 • MayorRich Stone
 • Total9.79 sq mi (25.36 km2)
 • Land9.79 sq mi (25.36 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
4,295 ft (1,309 m)
 • Total7,396
 • Estimate 
 • Density791.79/sq mi (305.72/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)775
FIPS code32-84800
GNIS feature ID0844996

Winnemucca (/ˌwɪnəˈmʌkə/ (About this soundlisten)) is the only incorporated city in and is the county seat of Humboldt County, Nevada, United States.[3] As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 7,396,[4] up 3.1 percent from the 2000 census figure of 7,174. Interstate 80 passes through the city, where it meets U.S. Route 95.

History and culture

The town was named for the 19th-century Chief Winnemucca of the local Northern Paiute tribe, who traditionally lived in this area.[5] He and his band had a camp near here. Winnemucca, loosely translated, means "one moccasin." The chief's daughter, Sarah Winnemucca, was an advocate for education and fair treatment of the Paiute and Shoshone tribes in the area. Their family all learned to speak English, and Sarah worked as an interpreter, scout and messenger for the United States Army during the Bannock War of 1878. In 1883 Sarah Winnemucca published the first autobiography written by a Native American woman,[6] based on hundreds of lectures she'd given in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. It has been described as "one of the most enduring ethno-historical books written by an American Indian."[6]

On September 16, 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad reached Winnemucca, and was officially opened on October 1 of that year. It was on the First Transcontinental Railroad.[7] It was part of the transcontinental line.

Basque immigrants worked as sheep-herders starting in the mid-19th century. In honor of this heritage, Winnemucca hosts an annual Basque Festival.

On September 19, 1900, Butch Cassidy's gang robbed the First National Bank of Winnemucca of $32,640.

Winnemucca's brothel district, while smaller now than in the 1980s, is known as "The Line" or "The Ring Circle", based on the layout of the street where the brothels are located.[citation needed] Sex workers in the town must register their vehicles with the local police.[8]

According to a billboard along State Route 140 (the "Winnemucca to the Sea Highway"), Winnemucca styles itself "The City of Paved Streets".

Winnemucca is home to the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and Heritage Museum.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Winnemucca had a vibrant Chinatown. The Chinese originally came to the area as workers on the transcontinental Central Pacific Railroad, which reached Winnemucca in 1868. Some remained or returned to settle.

During the 1890s, around 400 Chinese formed a community in the town. Among their prominent buildings was the Joss House on Baud Street, a place of worship and celebration. In 1911 the community was visited by Sun Yat-Sen, later to become Chinese president. He was on a fund-raising tour of the United States to help the Xinhai Revolution.[9]

The Joss House, the last structure associated with Chinatown, was demolished on March 8, 1955, by order of the Winnemucca City Council.[10][11]

Geography and climate

Winnemucca straddles the Humboldt River
Winnemucca straddles the Humboldt River

Winnemucca is located at 40°58′6″N 117°43′36″W / 40.96833°N 117.72667°W / 40.96833; -117.72667 (40.968212, −117.726662).[12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.3 km2), all land.[4]

Winnemucca's climate is semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk), averaging 8.28 in (210 mm) of precipitation annually. Summer days tend to be hot, but the temperature drops significantly at night. Winters are cold with generally light snow, with 20.9 in (53 cm) falling during a typical year. The highest recorded temperature in Winnemucca was 109 °F (43 °C), on July 11, 2002, and the lowest recorded temperature was −37 °F (−38 °C) on December 22, 1990.[13] Freezing temperatures have been observed in every month of the year.

Climate data for Winnemucca, Nevada (Winnemucca Municipal Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1877–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 41.6
Average low °F (°C) 18.7
Record low °F (°C) −36
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.87
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.8
trace 0.0
trace 0.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.2 7.8 8.2 7.7 6.8 4.1 2.3 2.0 3.2 4.7 7.8 8.0 70.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.7 3.5 2.7 1.9 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.9 4.6 21.0
Average relative humidity (%) 69.9 61.9 55.3 46.5 40.4 37.6 28.8 30.0 36.5 47.8 63.0 69.3 48.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 161.2 174.5 228.3 263.3 331.1 346.6 398.3 358.5 306.5 257.5 153.3 148.9 3,128
Percent possible sunshine 54 59 62 66 74 77 87 84 82 75 51 52 70
Source 1: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990)[14][15][16]
Source 2: Weather Channel (extremes)[13]


South Bridge Street in downtown Winnemucca
South Bridge Street in downtown Winnemucca
Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)7,754[2]4.8%
Largest ancestries (2000) [19] Percent
German 55%
Mexican 23%
Irish 11%
English 9%
Basque 4%

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 7,174 people, 2,736 households, and 1,824 families residing in the city. The population density was 867.5 people per square mile (334.9/km2). There were 3,280 housing units at an average density of 396.6 per square mile (153.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.41% White, 2.23% African American, 0.89% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.60% from other races, and 3.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 20.74% of the population.

Basque Americans make up 4.2% of the population of Winnemucca, the highest percentage of any city in the United States.[21]

There were 2,736 households, out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 30.2% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,699, and the median income for a family was $53,681. Males had a median income of $47,917 versus $26,682 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,441. About 7.5% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under the age of 18 and 8.1% of those 65 and older.


The Winnemucca Indian Colony of Nevada has its headquarters in Winnemucca.[22] It is a federally recognized tribe of Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute Indians in northwestern Nevada.[23][24]


Winnemucca State Bank and Trust building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Winnemucca State Bank and Trust building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Interstate 80 in Winnemucca
Interstate 80 in Winnemucca
Winnemucca Basque Festival
Winnemucca Basque Festival

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Winnemucca. The California Zephyr provides a daily service in both directions between San Francisco and Chicago. The Winnemucca passenger rail station, at 209 West Railroad Street, is now unstaffed. Amtrak tickets for railway transportation in Winnemucca can be purchased online.

Historically, since 1867, Winnemucca has been a station on the Transcontinental Railroad.

Winnemucca is near the half-way point between Salt Lake City and San Francisco along Interstate 80, which passes through town. US Route 95 also goes through Winnemucca.

Local aviation needs are served by the Winnemucca Municipal Airport, located about 5 miles southwest of downtown. There are no scheduled passenger services. The closest commercial airports are Reno–Tahoe International Airport in Reno and Elko Regional Airport in Elko.


The Humboldt Sun is the local Winnemucca twice weekly area newspaper.

Nomadic Broadcasting operates radio station KHYX-FM with a 50,000 watt signal on 102.7 FM and Translator K232BK on 94.3 FM, serving Winnemucca and its outlying communities. 102.7 is an adult contemporary format while 94.3 is a rock format. These two signals are HD.

Buckaroo Broadcasting operates radio station KWNA-FM[25] with a 25,000 watt signal and a country format.


Many of Winnemucca's residents are employed by large mining companies such as Newmont and Barrick Gold and by many companies servicing the gold mining industry. Carry-On Trailers employs over 100 residents at their manufacturing facility in the Airport Industrial Park. Winnemucca also has a decent and growing Nevada tourism base. Other area employers include Winnemucca Farms, casinos, hotels, motels and restaurants located in the city. Until 2013, Winnemucca Farms operated the world's largest potato dehydration plant. The Winnemucca area is still one of the largest potato farming areas in the world.[26]


Humboldt County School District operates the area schools serving Winnemucca.

There are three K-4 elementary schools, Grass Valley, Sonoma Heights, and Winnemucca Grammar School, serve sections of Winnemucca. All of Winnemucca is zoned to French Ford Middle School (5–6), Winnemucca Junior High School (7–8), and Albert M. Lowry High School (9–12). Lowry High's mascot is the Buckaroos.

Winnemucca has a public library, a branch of the Humboldt County Library.[27]

Notable people

In popular culture

Winnemucca is mentioned in the American version of the song "I've Been Everywhere", recorded, for instance, by Hank Snow (1962), the Statler Brothers (1973), Lynn Anderson (1970), and Johnny Cash (1993). The song begins, "I was totin' my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road."

The popular podcast Small Town Murder featured Winnemucca on an episode released August 7, 2019.

Winnemucca is featured prominently in the novel Revoltingly Young by C.D. Payne.

In the game Civilization V, Winnemucca is one of the cities which the Shoshone nation can found.

Winnemucca is also a setting in two Tales of the City novels – More Tales of the City and The Days of Anna Madrigal,[28] a series of nine novels by American author Armistead Maupin. Over 6 million copies of the novels have been sold worldwide. A character in the series, Mother Mucca, takes her nickname from the town. The series began as a newspaper column in the Pacific Sun in 1975, before moving to the San Francisco Chronicle. It features some of the first positive portrayals of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lives. Anna Madrigal, a transgender character, was depicted as having been born as Andy Ramsey in Winnemucca, Nevada. The series was made into a TV series with the character of Anna Madrigal played by Olympia Dukakis.[29]

In the movie The Encounter, Jaci Velasquez's character Melissa is on a trip to Winnemucca when the primary plot unfolds.

Rod McKuen's poem "Winnemucca, Nevada", in his book Come to Me in Silence, describes his first desk in school.[30]

The town serves as the namesake for the alternative country band Richmond Fontaine's 2002 album, Winnemucca, which prominently features the town in the opening track "Winner's Casino".[31]

Winnemucca is an explorable town in the 2016 vehicle simulation game American Truck Simulator.

Winnemucca is mentioned in the song "Wait So Long" by Minnesota folk band Trampled by Turtles.

Winnemucca serves as the inspiration for the 2018 song, “Winnemucca,” written by San Francisco singer-songwriter Philip J. Tacason.

The C.W. McCall song "Night Rider" features the line "Just a Winnemucca trucker with a load a' black sheep."


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Winnemucca city, Nevada". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1941). Origin of Place Names: Nevada (PDF). W.P.A. p. 39.
  6. ^ a b Omer Stewart, Review: "Gae Whitney Canfield, 'Sarah Winnemucca of the Northern Paiutes', Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1983", Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, 5(2), 1983, accessed February 12, 2014
  7. ^ Marden, J. P. (2005). "The History of Winnemucca" (PDF). Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Giang, Vivian (December 14, 2011). "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Prostitution In Nevada". Business Insider. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  9. ^ Chew, James R. "Boyhood Days in Winnemucca, 1901–1910." Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 1998 41(3): 206–209. ISSN 0047-9462
  10. ^ "Humboldt Pioneers effort to save famed Joss House rebuffed by City Council". Reno Evening Gazette. January 7, 1955. p. 8. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Miller, Stanley (September 1963). "Baud Street Winnemucca" (PDF). Desert Magazine. p. 23. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Winnemucca, NV (89445)". The Weather Channel. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  14. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "NV Winnemucca MUNI AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  16. ^ "WMO Climate Normals for Winnemucca/Municipal, NV 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  17. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850–1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 159.
  18. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Nevada 2000–2007". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 18, 2009. Archived from the original (CSV) on March 31, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  21. ^ "Ancestry Map of Basque Communities". Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "Federal Recognized Indian Tribes." National Congress of the American Indian. 2009 (Retrieved December 9, 2008)
  23. ^ "Winnemucca Indian Colony". Tribal Directory. National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  24. ^ Winnemucca Colony Council (March 5, 1971). "Constitution and Bylaws of the Winnemucca Indian Colony Nevada" (PDF). Harrison Loesch, Assistant Secretary of the Interior. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  25. ^ "Application Search Details". Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  26. ^ Sherril Steele-Carlin (May 27, 2001). "Basquing in Winnemucca".
  27. ^ "Nevada Public Libraries". Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  28. ^ Maupin, Armistead (2014). The Days of Anna Madrigal. Tales of the City. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062196248.
  29. ^ Strudwick, Patrick. "California dreaming: Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City'". The Independent.
  30. ^ McKuen, Rod (May 27, 2005). "Flight Plan for 27 May". A safe Place to Land. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  31. ^ "Richmond Fontaine discography". Retrieved November 13, 2014.

External links

Winnemucca travel guide from Wikivoyage

This page was last edited on 18 April 2021, at 21:46
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