With its history firmly rooted in the Old West, the pages of Nevada’s heritage contain numerous references to remote outposts. One such settlement, the unincorporated town of McDermitt, can be found at the very top of Nevada on the Oregon state line.
McDermitt, originally known as Dugout, began as a cavalry station during a time of tension and turmoil between the region’s native American Indian tribes and new settlers to the area. Fort McDermitt, five miles from the existing town, was established to protect an area stagecoach route, and the town developed as support for the military fort. Later, it adopted the name as well, which stemmed from Colonel McDermit, a commander of the fort who died during one of the many native-settler clashes.
The pleasant community’s past is well represented in town today. There are annual events like the Ranch Hand Rodeo and the Indian Rodeo, both of which acknowledge the region’s cowboy and native histories, and there are quite a few historic structures to be explored. Like many of the towns in the region, McDermitt’s past is steeped in mining. The town was home to three mercury mines and two gold mines until about 20 years ago, but the primary industry was and remains ranching and farming.