%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Early 20th Century

Mark Requa

If Ely had a patron saint, it would be Mark Requa.  His vision and commitment to the community ensured its survival when many doubted the extent of its copper reserves.

The son of a mining engineer, Requa held numerous positions until he was appointed as general manager of the Eureka and Palisades Railroad (E&P).  Mark's father was anxious that the railroad business practices were improved to make the E&P profitable.  It had steadily lost money since the closing of the major mines in the Eureka area.

Requa had hoped to extend the E&P to the mines near Ely.  His hope was this new body of ore would be the necessary product to save the failing railroad.  In his intense desire for success, he did not fail in examining every option.  Two survey crews were sent, one from Eureka to the Robinson mining district and another from the district to the Western and Central Pacific Railroads which served as the primary east west connections for rail traffic.

Although longer, Requa opted for the run to the main lines, citing the benefits of standard gauge rails and relatively flat topography.  The other route would necessitate the negotiation of four mountain passes and make winter maintenance prohibitively expensive.  Despite naysayers, Requa found the capital, documented the ore body, and formed the company, which would construct the Northern Nevada Railroad to Ely by 1906 and begin mining vast amounts of copper by 1908.

His vision allowed Requa to see what many could not.  By the 1980s the mine Requa established would become Nevada's largest producing mine at $3.8 billion worth of minerals.

Sean Pitts, Curator,
East Ely RR Depot Museum

 Reader: Sean Pitts

Photo Credit:
East Ely Railroad Depot Museum