Looking to grab onto a slice of real deal, American West history? Search no further, with the easy access to Buckland Station, part of nearby Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Only eight miles south of Silver Springs and located along the Free Range Art Highway, visitors can easily access this 1860s-era historic site. The sky’s the limit when imagining what life must have been like at both the Fort and Buckland Station over 150 years ago, during a time when the fort was in full swing, protecting early settlers and Pony Express riders from so-called “hostile” American Indians. This was especially true (or perceived as such) during the nearby Pyramid Lake Indian War of 1860. But, it’s not just Fort Churchill that steals the show; Buckland Station is just as important, and is historically and accurately preserved for your exploration.
Early Days at Fort Churchill
It all began in 1859, when Ohio native Samuel S. Buckland came to this area to begin ranching along the Carson River. The Central Overland Route passed nearby, and his ranch soon became known as an integral resting place for early pioneers. By the time Buckland showed up to build a log cabin for his family, Fort Churchill had already been abandoned and was in the process of being dismantled. As building materials like these were few and far between in the high desert of Nevada, Buckland saw the opportunity and sprung into action by salvaging materials from the fort to build the current two-story building that stands today.
The stop became even more well known, and even served as an official Pony Express station. The station is now operated as a museum and serves as a reminder of the industrious spirit of Nevada’s early pioneers.
While the ruins at nearby Fort Churchill State Park have basically been in a state of arrested decay for nearly 150 years, the Daughters of the American Revolution took interest in the area and in 1932, managed to have 200 acres transferred to the state. The National Park Service helped with some restoration soon thereafter, and the Civilian Conservation Corps built the visitor’s center that still stands today. Fort Churchill became an official Nevada State Park in 1957, and Buckland Station became part of the park in 1994. See more state and national parks here.
Visiting Buckland Station Today
Aside from visiting the original CCC-constructed visitor’s center and Buckland Station museum, visitors can revel in outstanding hiking, camping and picnicking. The park also provides unmatched photo opps. A trip to Buckland Station during golden hour will prove that it’s difficult to take a bad photo of the place. The park also offers a horse camp, where riders can camp with their mounts near Lake Lahontan.
Buckland Station is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is also open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Admission to Buckland Station Museum costs $1.00. For the most up to date information on hours, campsite availability and entry fees, please click here.