Hazen, Nevada, is a small, unincorporated community located in Churchill County. While it has never been a large or bustling town, Hazen has a rich history that is closely tied to the development of the railroad and the mining industry in the region.
The history of Hazen dates back to the early 20th century. The town was established in 1903 when the Southern Pacific Railroad decided to build a branch line to serve the booming copper mining industry in the nearby town of Yerington. Hazen was named in honor of William Babcock Hazen, a U.S. Army general who played a significant role in the American Civil War and later served as a Chief Signal Officer in the United States Army Signal Corps.
The new rail line, known as the Hazen Branch, was completed in 1905. Hazen became a vital transportation hub as it connected the Southern Pacific Railroad’s main line with the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad. This new connection allowed for the efficient transportation of copper ore from the mines in Yerington to the smelters and markets in other parts of the country.
During its heyday, Hazen was home to a small but thriving community that included a railroad depot, post office, general store, hotel, and several homes for the railroad workers and their families. The town’s population fluctuated over the years, but it generally remained small, numbering in the low hundreds.
The decline of Hazen began in the mid-20th century. The copper mines in Yerington started to deplete, leading to a decrease in rail traffic. In 1947, the Southern Pacific Railroad closed the Hazen Branch, and the town’s fortunes declined rapidly. The post office closed in 1964, and many of the town’s residents moved away in search of new opportunities.
Today, Hazen is a quiet, unincorporated community with only a handful of remaining residents. The town’s history is still evident in the old buildings and structures that dot the landscape, providing a glimpse into the past when Hazen was an important center of transportation and commerce in Churchill County, Nevada.
Hazen Nevada Overview
Hazen was a town located about 16 miles west of Fallon in Churchill County, Nevada.
The town, established in 1903, housed laborers working on the Newlands irrigation project to the south.
In 1908 a fire wiped out most of the town but it rebuilt and became a small trade center.
Nevada Historical Marker Category
Nevada Historical Marker Marker Type
Nevada Historical Marker Number
Hazen Nevada is Nevada Historical Marker #178.
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Nevada Historical Marker Transcription
Hazen was named for William Babcock Hazen, who served under General Sherman in his “march to the sea.” The town, established in 1903 to house laborers working on the Newlands irrigation project south of here, included hotels, saloons, brothels, churches, and schools.
In 1905, the first train came through on the new route to Tonopah. The following year, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a large roundhouse here as well as a fine depot. In 1908, Hazen was nearly destroyed by fire.
As a tough town, it had no peer in the state. A lynching occurred in Hazen when “Red” Wood was taken from the wooden jail and hanged on February 28, 1905.
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 178
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
JEFFREY REICHMAN, BSA