Southern Development Company of Nevada Records

Identifier: NC74
The records of the Southern Development Company of Nevada cover the period from 1880 to 1957 and include correspondence, articles of incorporation, fire insurance policies, deeds, legal documents, tax statements, property assessments, receipts, accounts, payrolls, time books, township plats, and hand drawn diagrams and maps. Early material is original and hand written. Later material is typed and copied.

Records of the Walker Lake and Bodie Toll Road Company and the Walker Lake Wood and Lumber Company have been incorporated into the collection, but each has been maintained as a separate series. However, some documents and references to both companies may be found in the general correspondence and financial statements series, as well.


  • 1880-1957



Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


3 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)


Collection contains correspondence, company papers, land related documents, financial accounts, township plats and maps.

Administrative History

The Southern Development Company of Nevada was incorporated on October 6, 1881, with trustees H. M. Yerington, D. L. Bliss, D. A. Bender, W. D. Tobey, and H. L. Tickner, declaring its place of business as Carson City, Nevada. Among the stated purposes of the company were to buy and sell land, build and operate toll roads, locate and hold water rights and privileges in order to construct waterways and systems, and to acquire lands for timbering. Almost immediately the company consolidated its operation. The Walker Lake and Bodie Toll Road Company and the Walker Lake Wood and Lumber Company both incorporated on October 16, 1880, with similar trustees, as well as the town of Hawthorne and its waterworks. The town of Hawthorne came into being as the terminus of the Carson and Colorado Railroad in April of 1881, a company composed of some of the same directors as those of the Southern Development Company.

Company activities from 1881 to 1900 centered on timbering on company lands, operating the toll road from Hawthorne, Nevada, to Bodie, California, and developing the town of Hawthorne. After the turn of the century, timbering declined and Hawthorne lost the railroad and its status as county seat of Esmeralda. (In 1911, Hawthorne became the county seat when Mineral County was created.) The company’s major business activities during those years were managing Hawthorne’s water supply, liquidating its town property, and controlling miners who were prospecting on company land. Business gradually declined, and the Southern Development Company finally dissolved in 1920.


The Southern Development Company of Nevada records are arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence

Series 2: Walker Lake and Bodie Toll Road Company Records

Series 3: Walker Lake Wood and Lumber Company Records

Series 4: Southern Development Company Papers and Real Estate

Series 5: Financial Statements and Accounts

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Gordon A. Sampson circa 1965.
A Guide to the Records of the Southern Development Company of Nevada
Jacquelyn Sundstrand
October 2010
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)