Ely is a city in White Pine County, Nevada, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 4,041. It is the county seat of White Pine County. The Clock of the Long Now is to be built near Ely. Ely is located at 39° 15' 12" N, 114° 52' 38" W.
Ely is a mining town, suffering through the boom and bust cycles so common in the West. Originally Ely was home to a number of copper mining companies, Kennecott being the most famous. With a crash in the copper market in the mid 1970s, Kennecott shut down and copper mining disappeared (temporarily).
With the advent of cyanide heap leaching -- a method of extracting gold from what was previously considered very low grade ore -- the next boom was on. Many companies processed the massive piles of "overburden" that had been removed from copper mines, or expanded the existing open-pit mines to extract the gold ore. Gold mines as widespread as the Robinson project near Ruth, and AmSelco's Alligator Ridge mine 65 miles from Ely, kept the town alive during the 1980s and 1990s, until the recent revival of copper mining.
With Kennecott's smelter having been destroyed, copper concentrate from the mine is now shipped by rail to Seattle, where it is transported to Japan for smelting. The dramatic increase in demand for Copper in 2005 has once again made Ely a copper boom town.
Former First Lady of the United States Pat Nixon was born in Ely on March 16, 1912.
The now defunct BHP Nevada Railroad ran from the mining district south of Ruth through Ely to the junction with the Union Pacific at Shafter from 1996 until 1999.
Attractions include the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and the Ghost Train of Old Ely, a working steam engine passenger train that travels the historic tracks from Ely to the Robinson mining district.
Nearby is Great Basin National Park. Ely is the nearest town to the proposed site of the Clock of the Long Now on Mount Washington.
The historic, six-story Hotel Nevada is located in downtown Ely. Opened in 1929, it was the tallest building in Nevada well into the 1940s and was the state's first fire-proof building. It is a popular lodging, dining, gaming and tourist stop.
The long stretch of road on State Route 318 near Ely is known for the annual 90 miles Silver State Classic Challenge course, an authorised time trial Cannonball Run-style race that attracts entries from all over the world.
The Ely Renaissance Society has financed more than twenty outdoor murals and sculptures in the downtown area. Artists from all over the world have been commissioned to create images of area history, using different art styles. The Ely Renaissance Society also maintains a historical village consisting of a general store and several shot gun houses which display the history of the ethnic groups that came to the area to work for the railroad and the mine.