Tuscarora was founded in Elko County after an expedition by trader William Heath to find gold. It was named for a warship from the Civil War. As miners flocked to the town, a fort was built to offer protection from Indian raids and a water ditch was created to supply the town with water. Many Chinese men who had been employed by theCentral Pacific Railroad (CPRR) relocated to the town and began placer mining. A boom began following the discovery of silver ore.