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|— City —|
|Elko High School|
|Nickname(s): The Heart of Northeast Nevada|
|Motto: The Best Small Town in America|
|Designated County Seat||1869|
|• Mayor||Michael J Franzoia|
|• Senate||Dean Rhoads (R)|
|• Assembly||John C. Carpenter (R)|
|• U.S. Congress||Dean Heller (R)|
|• Total||14.5 sq mi (37.5 km2)|
|• Land||14.5 sq mi (37.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||5,066 ft (1,544 m)|
|• Density||1,153.3/sq mi (445.3/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||0845452|
Although Elko lies along the route of the historic California Trail, it was first inhabited only in 1868, when it was at the east end of the railroad tracks built by Central Pacific Railroad (the portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad built from California to Utah). When the railroad crews moved on, Elko remained, serving as a ranch and mining freight and supply center.
Elko is said to have been named by Charles Crocker, a superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was especially fond of animal names and added the letter "o" to Elk. There is no definitive evidence of this naming history, but it has become the widely accepted version.
The first Elko County Courthouse was built in 1869.
In 1925, the Kelly Act (also known as the Airmail Act of 1925) authorized the U.S. Post Office to contract with private airlines for the feeder routes that fed the main transcontinental route. The first commercial airmail flight in the United States was on the 487 mile Airmail Route #5 from Pasco, Washington to what would become Elko Regional Airport on April 6, 1926. The flight was piloted by Leon D. Cuddeback and included a brief stop in Boise, Idaho to pick up more mail.
Elko is also the home of the annual Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and has been for the last 27 years. It plays host to all forms of western entertainment, from music and dancing, to poetry performances. One of the very renowned cowboy poets, who has been performing there for over 20 years, is Montana native Paul Zarzyski. 
Elko is considered the capital of Nevada's goldbelt. The state of Nevada produces more gold than all but four countries, most of which is mined near Elko. This has caused the town to have a boom and bust economy consistent with the rises and declines in the price of gold. The town is surrounded by hundreds of abandoned mining camps, and viewing them is a popular local activity. A gold boom in the 1980s that ended in a bust in the late 1990s left the town with large numbers of abandoned homes and left the local governments struggling to survive on reduced tax revenues. With a new gold boom starting in 2009, city officials have been reluctant to hire new employees and have decided to build a reserve in the city budget to prepare for the next bust.
Elko has struggled to bring in other industries, mainly due to its isolation, and the harsh desert environment. Hunter S. Thompson quipped that in Elko, "The federal government owns 90% of this land, and most of it is useless for anything except weapons testing and poison-gas experiments".
Elko's climate is semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk). January is normally the coldest month of the year, with an average maximum of 36.6 °F (2.6 °C) and an average minimum of 13.1 °F (−10.5 °C). July is normally the warmest month of the year, with an average maximum of 90.6 °F (32.6 °C) and an average minimum of 49.4 °F (9.7 °C). There are an average of 42 days annually with a maximum of 90° (32°C) or higher, and an average of 193 days annually with a minimum of 32° (0°C) or lower. Annual precipitation averages 9.89 inches (25.1 cm), falling on an average of 79 days. Annual snowfall averages with 41.5 inches (105 cm). There are normally 130 sunny days each year. The highest temperature on record is 108 °F (42 °C) on July 28, 1889, and the lowest on record is −43 °F (−42 °C) on January 21, 1937. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 4.13 inches (10.5 cm) on August 27, 1970. The most rainfall in one month was 5.71 inches (14.5 cm) in January 1916. The most rainfall in one year was 18.34 inches (46.6 cm) in 1983. The least rainfall in one year was 4.35 inches (11.0 cm) in 1919. The most snowfall in one month was 69.0 inches (175 cm) in January 1890. The most snowfall in one calendar year was 100.8 inches (256 cm) in 1996.
|Climate data for Elko, Nevada (Elko Regional Airport), 1981-2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||65
|Average high °F (°C)||36.6
|Daily mean °F (°C)||24.9
|Average low °F (°C)||13.1
|Record low °F (°C)||−43
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.12
|Snowfall inches (cm)||10.3
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.1||8.3||8.8||8.8||8.1||4.8||3.4||3.4||4.2||5.3||7.7||9.2||81.1|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||7.4||5.7||4.8||3.3||0.8||0||0||0||0||0.7||4.0||7.2||33.9|
|Source: NOAA |
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,708 people, 8,505 households, and 5,287 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,153.3 people per square mile (445.2/km²). There were 6,948 housing units at an average density of 479.6 per square mile (185.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.2% White, 0.3% African American, 2.7% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.4% of the population.
There were 8,505 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.5 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,656, and the median income for a family was $52,263. Males had a median income of $42,155 versus $26,823 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,680. About 6.1% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.
Elko is the largest city between Salt Lake City and Reno located along Interstate 80. Passenger service to Elko is available on Greyhound Lines, Amtrak's twice-daily California Zephyr, and from SkyWest Airlines, which serves Elko Regional Airport from Salt Lake City.
Each January, Elko is the host to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This festival is a week-long celebration of life in the rural West, features poetry, music, stories, gear, film, photography, and food.
Elko is the home to the Western Folklife Center, which is regional nonprofit organization that works to expand understanding of the everyday traditions of people who live and work in the American West. The Western Folklife Center is located Downtown in the old Pioneer hotel.
Every July, Elko is host to the National Basque Festival. Humorously referred to as the "Basco Fiasco," it is a celebration of traditional Basque culture and its ties to the Elko community. The festival includes strongman competitions, a running of the bulls, traditional food and wine, and Basque Dancing.
The annual Elko Motorcycle Jamboree, also known as the "Rumble in the Rubies Motorcycle Rally" is usually held in the summer months in Elko.
Elko is home to a number of casinos, including Stockmen's Casino & Hotel, the Commercial Casino, the High Desert Casino, Gold Dust West, the Red Lion Casino, and the Gold County Inn & Casino. The Commercial Casino is notable for having a stuffed 10-foot-tall (3.0 m) polar bear on display. For many years the Red Lion brought gamblers to Elko from many parts of the country through flights on Casino Express. The flights to Elko ended in February 2006.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Elko, Nevada|