When students walk across the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, they are walking through the history of the state of Nevada itself. Many of the buildings on campus are tied to Nevada’s history. Most of them were named after someone important to the university or the state, but most people don’t even think about their namesakes.

Since the first buildings most students interact with at the university are the dorms, it is a fitting place to start. This is History Behind the Building —Nye Hall.

Nye Hall was built in 1967 and can house more than 500 students. Every fall, hundreds of bright-eyed freshmen flood the halls of Nye, eager to start their college careers, but many don’t know where the building got its name.

James W. Nye is the man behind the name of many notable places in Nevada, mainly Nye County in southern Nevada, the third largest county in the contiguous U.S. and home to around 44,000 Nevadans.

“Before statehood, he was appointed by Lincoln as the territorial governor, and after Nevada became a state in 1864 he became one of the first two senators of Nevada…. He played a pivotal role in keeping the Pacific coast part of the union,” said UNR professor emeritus, William D. Rowley, Ph.D.

Being appointed during the Civil War, Nye was meant to help promote the Republican party’s ideals of national unity in the west as well as to enforce their stance against slavery during the Civil War.

Nevada is known as “The Battle Born State” because it was established during the Civil War and Nye was a big part of the state’s history during that time. Nevada entered the union as a free state.

This is the first installment of History Behind the Building helping students better appreciate the history of the state and the namesake for one of their many residence halls on the UNR campus.

Joey Lovato can be reached at mpurdue@sagebrush.unr and on twitter @NevadaSagebrush.