Humboldt House

40.598625    118.251669

A marker honoring a desert oasis and siding along the Central Pacific Railroad.

  • Directions: Along I-80 @ Exit 138, 38 miles west of Winnemucca.

Exact Description:
Humboldt House (or Humboldt Station) was originally the point of departure for Humboldt City, Prince Royal and the mines in that vicinity. In September, 1866, it became a stage stop for historic William (Hill) Beachey Railroad Stage Lines.

As the Central Pacific Railroad advanced from eastern California it reached Humboldt House about September 15, 1868. From 1869 to 1900 Humboldt House was well known as one of the best eating houses on the Central Pacific Railroad. It was truly an oasis in the great Nevada desert, with good water, fruit, vegetables, etc. The large grove of trees to the west marks the site of this famous hostelry.

Between 1841 and 1867, 165,000 Americans traveled the California Emigrant Trail past here. In 1850 on the dreaded 40-Mile Desert southwest of present Lovelock, over 9,700 dead animals and 3,000 abandoned vehicles were counted.

The SHPO decided on this location so the marker would face the original Humboldt House (in the b.g.) Although the idea was sound, its location makes it extremely inconvenient for marker hunters. Some may even argue that its placement is a bit of a hazard (see the photos below).

  • Directions: Along I-80 @ Exit 138, 38 miles west of Winnemucca.
    Make a right, then a left onto the Frontage Road. Park in front of the NDOT fence yard.

NOTES: Allow me to introduce one of the most ridiculous placements in northern Nevada! [23] Humboldt House has one good thing going for it: it is directly signed from the interstate. At least that's its saving grace. Don't get me started about its placement. The only way to access this marker is by walking a few hundred yards off the frontage road paralleling the interstate at Exit 138. Bear a right from the off ramp onto the frontage road and then take an immediate left (eastbound) to notice a large NDOT fenced yard. This is your location. The photo below is what you'll see ...

Can you spot the marker?

Note that my directions are fairly simple and listed as "along Interstate 80." This marker is in fact located right alongside the interstate, but you can't see the marker from the freeway until you pass it right on by. The photo below is what you see when you pass it ...

Do your homework. This is a disheartening view when a lowly hunter completely misses this marker. If you are unfortunate enough to miss this exit, you'll have to wait another 7-8 miles to exit again!

A much better placement for this marker would be fifty yards east of the fenced area. Better yet, the marker could be placed in front of the Humboldt House on the opposite side of I-80.