FALLON AND MIDDLEGATE AREA RESOURCES
In 1859, James H. Simpson named Middlegate Station. Several sources list Middlegate as a Pony Express Station. “Pony” Bob Haslam rode 120 miles from Smith Creek to Fort Churchill (through Middlegate Station) with Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, fought off Paiutes, and is credited with getting message to the west coast that kept California in the Union. Today, Middlegate Station is a rustic restaurant, bar, gas station, and motel. It is said that some of Middlegate Station was made from the old lumber of the original homestead at Bench Creek Ranch.
Dixie Valley runs north-south in the west-central part of the state between the Stillwater Range and the Clan Alpine Mountains. Up until the 1980s, the valley was home to a number of ranching families, mostly involved in growing alfalfa and raising cattle. The Navy condemned most of the properties and bought out the ranchers and the valley is now an electronic warfare range. Dixie Valley is however, still used as range land for grazing cattle by Bench Creek Ranch.
Frenchman’s Station & Frenchman’s Flat
M. Bermond (the Frenchman) was the proprietor of Frenchman’s Station which was located on Highway 50 between West Gate and Sand Springs Pass east of Fallon, Nevada. Water had to be hauled several miles to supply the station which had a bar, served food, and included several motel rooms. With the development of the U.S. Navy electronic warfare range, Frenchman’s Station was demolished. the flat to the north of the highway and north of Frenchman’s Station, is called Frenchman’s Flat and is used by Bench Creek Ranch as grazing range for cattle.
La Plata City
La Plata, the first county seat of Churchill County, is located approximately 45 miles northeast of Fallon, Nevada. The La Plata mining district was discovered in 1862 and became quite a boom town in the mid-1860s. The town of La Plata was established about 1863 and was the county seat of Churchill County from 1864 to 1868. In 1869, the county seat was moved to Stillwater and in 1870 most of the miners deserted the district. Much of La Plata has reverted to natural vegetation and the area is now used by ranchers for grazing.
Cold Springs Station, located approximately fifteen miles east of Middlegate Station, was a Pony Express station. “The station was a wretched place half build and wholly unroofed, the four rough boys ate standing. Our animals found good water whilst we supped upon excellent steak from a freshly killed beef.” Sir Richard Burton – October 15, 1860, 4:15 PM – Today the quality of Cold Springs has greatly improved. You may still supp on excellent steak since Cold Springs Station has a restaurant, bar, and gas available for travelers.
Wonder, located 55 miles east of Fallon, Nevada, was a major mining center in the early years of this century. Thomas J. Stroud and several others made the first locations in March of 1906. Wonder’s boom was brief, but spectacular. Stores and saloons were in operation by mid-summer, 1906, and a school by 1907. Bench Creek provided water, and ice plant and swimming pool for the camp which made life somewhat more bearable. Much of Wonder has now reverted to native vegetation.