In 1845, during his second trip through the West, General Fremont stopped at a pleasant creek that he named Basin Creek (known today as Kingston Creek). He then continued south to what is now Darrough’s Hot Spring.
According to several historical reference and mining books, people have been continuously residing in Kingston since 1863. That was the same year Nevada became a state. Due to the overflow of mining at Bunker Hill to the north in 1864, miners joined the Kingston settlement. Both gold and and silver were discovered in Kingston canyon soon after this. In 1865, a 20-stamp sterling mill was built and a local post office was established. A few more mills were constructed over the ensuing years, including the Smoky Mill. The population of Kingston at this time spiked to around 120 residents. With the closure of mines starting in 1870, the number of residents dropped and the local post office closed.
Many of these mines reopened in 1881. The town (then known as “Morgan”) was alive again and the post office reopened. A schoolhouse was built in the mid 1880′s. A modest growth spurt occurred when the Kingston Mining Company was formed in the early 1900′s. This proved to be short lived as the Kingston Mining Company was closed in 1911.
In later years (1980′s), Kingston’s growth again revolved around mining and the construction of a mill which processed ore from the Victorine Mine in Kingston Canyon. The town site experienced a boom for a short period.
In the mid 1960′s, a group of individuals purchased the old Kingston Ranch and subdivided it. These investors included Don Cirac, Carl Hass, and Jim Khielhack. Their development plans for a community provided for a downtown area (the Village) which would include a blacksmith, craft stores, grocery store, park, and more – all accessible only by foot (no motorized traffic). These plans were never fully realized and the developer failed. Subdivision of the lots throughout the town anticipated sidewalks and a sewer system – features that would later make developing many of the smaller lots challenging.
Over the years, people have purchased lots to use as summer and retirement homes. Some parties received lots in compensation from the failed developer. Until his death a few years ago, Jim Khielhack ran a real estate brokerage in Kingston known as Nevada Lands Office. He proudly claimed to be the oldest Realtor in the state. He was liked and disliked intensely… but arguably did a lot for the town.
People & Government
According to recent figures from the Governor’s Office, the town of Kingston has 125 persons claiming full-time residency with almost triple that many people being absentee owners. It is not unusual to see 300 people in town on a busy weekend during the Summer. Through lot combinations over the years, there are just over 900 parcels (lots) in the town today. A substantial percentage of the full-time residents are retirees and over 55 years of age. Many of the younger residents work at Round Mountain Gold approximately 40 miles south of town.
Kingston is an unincorporated town – one of only a few in the state of Nevada. Local governance is provided by an elected Town Board comprised of unpaid persons. We have a part-time town clerk (paid) and she is also a Notary of the Public. The town has an annual budget of roughly $35K that is derived from ad valorem, consoldated, and franchise taxes. The town’s water utility is separately funded through usage and service obligation fees.
Business & Services
The General Store was relocated here by Carl Hass in the 1970′s. That building started out in 1906 as the mining union hall in Tonpah, Nevada. Rumors assert that legendary Wyatt Earp put a few bullet holes in the walls of that building when he was called upon to quell rowdy miners back in the day. The Baker family runs the store and sells a variety of must-have items for the local or tourist.
Other businesses include the Kingston Creek Lodge & Motel, Zach’s Lucky Spur Saloon (built in 2009 and named one of the Top Bars in America by Men’s Health magazine), and the Miles End Bed & Breakfast. The town has its own water system and our water master was voted the “Best in the State” a few years ago.
A medical clinic is slated for construction later in 2013. It will be located adjacent to the airstrip at the south entrance to town. The clinic will be owned and operated by Battle Mountain General Hospital. A helipad is also in the works.
Cell coverage became available in May of this year and is provided by ComNet of Nevada. That company possesses roaming agreements with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Coverage around town is good for voice, but not up to 4G speed for data applications.
Kingston does not have a gas station (yet). Fuel can be purchased locally in Austin (27 miles northwest) or Carvers (35 miles south).
Lee Baker Park is situated centrally to the town and its crowning feature is the Kingston Pond which underwent substantial restoration and the addition of an island and bridge two years ago. Restrooms were installed in 2011. The Orchard portion of the park is currently scheduled for renovations in the Fall that will include a permanent irrigation system, installation of new grass and trees, and construction of a multi-use covered area (a.k.a. a pavilion). The Kingston Parks Department conducts an Outdoor Market event (fundraiser) on Labor Day weekend. If you are interested in being a vendor at that event, please contact Velinda Ward at 702-349-0667.
Recreational opportunities abound here – hunting, fishing, camping, biking, atv riding, hiking, snow mobiling, bird watching, social drinking, and more. Grove’s Lake (reservoir) is located a few miles up Kingston Canyon and listed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife as one of the Top 25 Fishing Waters in the state. Rainbow trout are stocked annually and German brown trout naturally reproduce in both Grove’s Lake and Kingston Creek. Approximately 3,000 trout were stocked on June 12th between the reservoir, creek, and Kingston Pond. A picture of the 9-pound brown trout caught here a few years back is on display at the General Store.
Fire protection services are provided by the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) which is largely supported through donations. No members of the department are paid and the department is organized as a non-profit corporation. KVFD holds a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and Annual Fireman’s Picnic each year as fundraising events. Proceeds from these two events account for over 60% of the department’s operating income. The Annual Picnic will be on August 3rd this year – the central event of Kingston Days. You can visit the fire department’s Facebook page at facebook.com/kingstonfire.
This information was quickly put together from limited sources. If you would like to provide additional information or suggest corrections to this “About” section, please email Bradley Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have pictures of Kingston to share, please post them to our Kingston Facebook page (click “Facebook” link at top of this page or go to facebook.com/kingstonnevada).