Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Town in Two States

by Shanna Hatfield

The unexpected paths I traverse in the name of research for my books never ceases to amaze me.

Recently, I was digging out a stack of books to begin diving into details for my next sweet historical romance when I unearthed an old book I purchased a few years ago at a used book fundraiser.

As I flipped through it, a photo caught my eye.


What you see in the image is a very tiny town in Nevada (current population less than 100) named Denio. The saloon in the photo shared the building with the town's post office, which happened to be in Oregon.

The town straddles the Nevada-Oregon line on what is now Highway 292. The post office still exists, along with a small library, a community center, and a bar.

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many towns popped up in boom-or-bust pursuits, such as mining. Denio was one such town.

Aaron Denio moved to the area in 1885. He was born in 1824 in Illinois and traveled to California in 1860. He worked in milling, farming, and mining. After spending time in Nevada and Idaho at places like Humboldt and Silver City, he realized the need for beef and bread to keep the miners alive and going.

He brought his family to what would become Denio and settled them into a little sod and mud hut he built then began to farm and mine. He opened a station for travels to stop. The post office was established on the Oregon side of the town in 1888 and Denio was the postmaster.

Following WWII, a number of businesses relocated south of the state line to take advantage of Nevada's lack of income tax and more liberal laws in regard to questionable enterprises such as liquor, gambling, and brothels. Eventually, the post office followed, moving to the Nevada side of the line in 1950.

Today, visitors to the area who enjoy a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities like camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, visiting a wildlife refuge, or soaking in the hot springs. It's also a great playground for rock hounds.

The geology of the area was produced by fault uplift, volcanic magma movements, and an ancient inland sea. It's been said the hills are full of opals.

The black fire opal, the official gemstone of Nevada, is found here, too.

The Royal Peacock Opal Mine, owned and operated by the Wilson family since 1944 just south of Denio, is open to the public for pay-to-dig exploration and gem hunting.

What about you? Do you know of any little towns that straddle a state line? 

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
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1 comment:

  1. How interesting. The early towns have such a wonderful history. Doris