Hot Springs In Northern Nevada

Massive Hydrothermal Belt

In the 1850s when the early settlers started moving out West as they approached the Carson Valley on the Eastern slopes of the Sierras they had found the massive hydrothermal belt that runs North and South of  the Sierras. The early settlers had claimed most of it, “David Walley built the place as a health resort, the first in Nevada and one of the first in the West,” a publication was written by Basil Woon August 30th 1853 Reno,Nevada State journal.

According to David Walley’s obituary published in the Carson Valley News for March 13, 1875, the spa opened a couple of miles south of Genoa in 1862. With just a tent for shelter, baths sold for fifty cents each. Walley erected the first bathhouse the following year, and in 1864 Walley’s wife, Harriet, arrived from the East to help run Genoa Hot Springs resort. “From a mere rock pile has risen a magnificent hotel, bath-houses, stabling and ball room,” the weekly News proclaimed.

According to Abe Curry he operated the first health spa in the region before David Walley. Like Curry’s Warm Springs, Steamboat Hot Springs as a location for a health resort also predates Walley’s Hot Springs. James Cameron and his associates. In 1860 Dr. Joseph Ellis erected vapor baths, he believed escaped steam from the springs could cure some diseases.

Territorial Enterprise reporter and  Mark Twain partook of Steamboat Springs in August 1863. Young Twain also spent time at Curry’s Warm Springs and, it is claimed, at Walley’s Hot Springs. Numerous other geothermal springs have brought pleasure and/or therapeutic benefit to their patrons. There are Grover’s Hot Springs in Alpine County, California (John C. Fremont and Kit Carson visited the hot springs in January 1844); Carson Hot Springs (formerly Swift’s and later Shaw’s Hot Springs); and both Moana and Lawton Hot Springs in the Reno area.

Paolo Sioli’s Historical Souvenir of El Dorado County, California (1883), Cosser—spelled Cozart in Sioli’s publication—was the proprietor of a “bathhouse at the warm and cold springs, two miles south from the old Mormon Station.” Cosser, a Scotsman who moved with his family to Carson Valley in 1852, ran a modest health spa at the site where David Walley would open his business in 1862. Walley clearly did not operate the area’s first health resort; however, the location two miles south of Genoa was the site of Nevada’s first hot springs resort thanks to William Cosser.

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