Old-West History Massacres at Palisade Nevada Part 1

About the town Palisade, Nevada in the old-west which got a reputation as one of the most violent cities in the west because of the strangely constant massacres.


You've never heard of Palisade, Nevada? Well, that's quite understandable, for today Palisade does not create anything more newsy than a reunion notice in the Elko paper.

Naturally, it wasn't always that way.

In the 1870s, Palisade, Nevada, was known the length and breadth of the combined lines of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads as being the toughest town west of Chicago. All of the large metropolitan dailies, especially those in San Francisco, carried stories of the massacres that took place in Palisade, and editorials were written deploring the needless waste of life and entreating the local government to clean up their town. This the local government could not do, for they, and every man, woman, and child in the town, plus several dozen Shoshone Indians, were responsible for all the massacres that took place.

Palisade was a railroad town which served as watering spot on the Humboldt River for the thirsty tanks of the dehydrated engines of the Central Pacific Railroad. In time, some corrals were built and a loading dock for cattle was erected as the ranchers in Elko County found that it was the most logical spot from which to ship their cattle and sheep. But as a town it grew slowly and, apparently, would never amount to anything but a watering stop.

Suddenly the big news came to Palisade. It was to become a railroad terminus. Ore had been discovered in Eureka, and a railroad called the Eureka and Palisade Railroad was going to be built which would handle all of the ore shipments, transient supplies, and passenger service from the Central Pacific line to the interior of Nevada.

Palisade boomed! From a few families and railroad employees, the population expanded to 290 people. It had added three new saloons, a dry goods store, two grocery stores, and a sporting house to the main street. Since the trains were stopping longer, a new depot and cafe had been built for the convenience of all the passengers who would now be stopping in Palisade.

And stop they did!

Scores and scores--Easterners bound for the West, the mighty, untamed, and glorious West. Each and every one of them ready, willing, and able to believe anything and everything. Wildly impossible stories? It was a cinch to hold a dude's interest with the most outrageous one. Salt mines? They were sold every day to the gullible travelers. It got to the point where if something didn't happen, they were actually disappointed, for the story of Custer's Last Stand was still finding newspaper space, and stories of the fast guns were available in every paper and penny dreadful for sale. The Easterner wanted to see these things in person--and the town of Palisade, upon the suggestion of one of the Central Pacific's conductors, decided that they should see, and experience, some of the impossibly wild things they had heard and read about.

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