In 1860 conflict between
Native Americans and Euro-American newcomers to Nevada resulted in fighting,
bloodshed, and the establishment of a permanent military presence in the
territory. The Pyramid Lake War frightened settlers and prompted
demands for military protection. In July, 1860 a fort was established
in Lyon County. The land was not surveyed at the time the fort was
built, so no one was sure in which county the fort was located. Churchill
County, in fact, was named for the fort. Fort Churchill,
which was situated about halfway between Pyramid Lake and the Walker River
Paiutes, was a collection of adobe buildings enclosing the parade ground.
Many of the soldiers lived in tents.
During the Civil War volunteers
from California and Nevada were stationed at the fort, but after war's
end regular troops returned to Fort Churchill. The fort was abandoned
in 1869. In 1935 the site became a state park.
Nevada Department of Transportation