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The city of Elko, Nevada is the county seat of Elko County. Situated along the California Trail, it is also at the eastern end of the railroad built by Central Pacific Railroad which was finished at the same time that Elko was becoming a town. It was founded in 1868 and there were about sixty tents in which the new residents slept. In 1869 the railroad sold lots for between $300 and $400. In short order, hotels and a resort, an opera house, and 45 saloons were established. When the tracklayers moved east in 1869 to meet the crews of the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory, Utah to achieve the Transcontinental Railroad, the townspeople remained. They were ranchers, miners, railroad freighters, and shopkeepers. There were also gamblers in the small rough-and-tumble town. A newcomer to town in 969 famously wrote in a letter home "There were all sorts of games and vices in progress and only two men were killed the day I arrived." In 1874, Elko became the first site of the University of Nevada, and in Elko became the terminus of the first commercial airmail flight in the country. Elko suffered numerous fires which burned down, at various times, the entire downtown area (1871), the White Sulphur Springs Hotel (1882 and again in 1899), the grammar school (Christmas Day 1918), the flour mill (1930), and much of the high school (1942). In 1948, Elko made Bing Crosby "Honorary Mayor of Elko," a title he held for the rest of his life. It was most likely named by Charles Crocker, the superintendent of the CPRR, who was fond of animal names and added a final "O" to the word "Elk."

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