Ely Correspondence – July 2017


July 4th in Ely

                                                                         Independence Day parade in Ely, July 4th, 1918

July 4th is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Ely. There is a long history and tradition for this.

In the early days of the mining and ranching here, workers were recruited from all over the world because of the skills they had. Underground miners came from Wales and England, and Basque sheepherders from France and nearby areas, Others came to work in their trades, including Chinese workers in the restaurants and laundries and Japanese famers who grew gardens to provide fresh vegetables for the mining camps. Italian carbanari workers were brought here to build the charcoal oven that produced the charcoal for the early smelters.  Italian railroad workers came to build the railroad that supplied the goods needed for the community and hauled out the ore, sheep and cattle produced here.  Greek workers came for the labor jobs needed to build the mines and work in the pits and the smelters. And so Ely developed as a very ethnically mixed community.

All these people came from different countries with different languages, customs, and holidays.  In addition to work and sometimes housing, they all had the opportunity to become American citizens.  The common holiday they could all celebrate was July 4th.

July 4th has become the holiday when everyone comes home to Ely. High school class reunions are held, family gatherings and often weddings, golf tournaments, and of course a huge parade, all take place. A community breakfast is held for high school alumni to meet and visit. There is something happening for everyone to enjoy. And for those who want to enjoy a small town July 4th celebration, this is the place to be.

Special Nevada Northern train rides run, including the fireworks train where people enjoy a train ride and then watch the fireworks. Golf tournaments are played. The Renaissance Village is open for everyone to explore the houses to see how people lived here for the past 100 years.

The parade celebrates the history of the area with horses, bands, antique and custom cars, kids with decorated bikes and 4-wheelers, and many colorful characters.

Plan to join us in an old fashioned, small town, patriotic celebration. Contact the White Pine Chamber of Commerce for more information at 775-289-8877 or whitepinechamber.com or elynevada.net.

— Lorraine Clark