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Sutro: Nevada’s Hidden Gem – Unraveling the Rich History and Secrets of a Desert Oasis

Sutro Nevada

In the vast, arid landscape of Nevada, hidden among the rolling hills and rugged terrain, lies the intriguing town of Sutro. This historical gem, once a bustling center for the mining industry, now serves as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of those who sought to extract the wealth of the earth. Let’s delve into the history, culture, and natural resources that have shaped Sutro, and reveal the secrets that make it a must-visit destination for history buffs and adventurers alike.

Sutro, Nevada, is a fascinating relic of the state’s rich mining history. With its intriguing past, historical significance, and connection to the impressive Sutro Tunnel, it remains an off-the-beaten-path destination that beckons visitors to explore and appreciate the stories it holds.

Sutro Nevada Overview

Sutro was a town, a drainage tunnel, and a man.

Sutro, Nevada, is a small, unincorporated community that was once a flourishing mining town during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is situated in Lyon County and is renowned for its connection to the Sutro Tunnel, a significant engineering marvel of its time.

The town is now a historical site, offering visitors a glimpse into the past, when the mining industry played a crucial role in shaping the state’s economy and development.

Miners completed the main tunnel in 1878 and then extended lateral excavations, providing drainage, ventilation, and access to many Comstock mines.

Sutro Nevada History

Sutro was founded in the 1860s by Adolph Sutro, a Prussian engineer and entrepreneur who envisioned a tunnel to drain and ventilate the nearby Comstock Lode mines. The construction of the Sutro Tunnel began in 1869 and was completed in 1878, sparking a period of growth and prosperity for the town. At its peak, Sutro was home to a thriving community of miners, merchants, and other settlers who were drawn to the area by the mining boom.


  • 1860s: Sutro founded by Adolph Sutro
  • 1869-1878: Construction of the Sutro Tunnel
  • Late 19th century: Peak of the mining industry in Sutro
  • Early 20th century: Decline of mining activities and gradual abandonment of the town


The Comstock Lode, located close to Sutro, was a significant source of silver and gold. The mines in the region produced millions of dollars worth of these precious metals, which fueled the growth and prosperity of Sutro and other nearby towns.

Post Office

During its heyday, Sutro had a post office, which was established in 1871 and operated until 1943.

View the list and history of Nevada Post Offices.


The town also had a local newspaper, the Sutro Independent, which was published from 1872 to 1874 and provided news and information for the growing community.

Learn more about Nevada Newspapers

The Population of Sutro Nevada

The current population of Sutro is minimal, as it is largely a historical site with few residents. At its peak during the mining boom, the town had a population of around 600 people.


Sutro is situated at an elevation of approximately 4,500 feet above sea level.


Sutro is located in Lyon County, Nevada, near the historic Virginia City and the famous Comstock Lode.

GPS Coordinates

The GPS coordinates for Sutro, Nevada, are 39.2822° N, 119.3728° W.

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  • Mining 
  • Person

Marker Type

Blue marker

Nevada Historical Marker Number

Sutro Nevada is Nevada Historical Marker #85.

Click here to view the complete list of Nevada State Historical Markers.


Lyon County, Nevada

Nevada Historical Marker Transcription

Sutro was a town, a tunnel, and a man.  The well-planned community was headquarters for the Sutro Drainage Tunnel.

German-born Adolph Sutro came to the Comstock in 1860.  He advocated a drainage tunnel, visualizing development of Comstock ore with this access.  By 1865, his vision gained approval of state and federal legislation.  However, the mining interests, having at first supported the tunnel, became strongly opposed.

When construction began in 1869, it was first financed by the mine workers since the tunnel would presumably improve mine safety.  Later, the funding came from international bankers.  Miners completed the main tunnel in 1878 and then extended lateral excavations, providing drainage, ventilation and access to many Comstock mines.  The work on the tunnel from its lower end created a town of 600-800 and boasted of a church, post office and its own weekly newspaper, plus Sutro’s Victorian mansion and other fine residences.  Adolph Sutro soon sold his interest in the tunnel company and returned to San Francisco, where he served as mayor.




References Used

Sutro Nevada