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Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 180,480, making it the second largest city in Nevada, after Las Vegas. Current estimates place the population of the city proper at 207,000, which would make Reno the third most populous city, after Henderson.

Reno lies 26 miles north of the Nevada state capital, Carson City, and 22 miles northeast of Lake Tahoe in the high desert. Reno shares its eastern border with the city of Sparks. Reno, known as The Biggest Little City in the World, is famous for its casinos, and is the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah's Entertainment.

Gold had been discovered in the vicinity of Virginia City in 1850 and a modest mining community developed, but the discovery of silver in 1859 led to one of the greatest mining bonanzas of all time as the Comstock Lode spewed forth treasure. The Comstock's closest connection to the outside world lay in the Truckee Meadows.

In 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad, building tracks across the west to connect with the Union Pacific, built from the east to form the first transcontinental railroad. Myron Lake, realizing what a rail connection would mean for business, deeded land to the Central Pacific in exchange for its promise to build a depot at Lake's Crossing. Once the railroad station was established, the town of Reno officially came into being on May 13, 1868. The new town was named in honor of Major General Jesse L. Reno, a Union officer killed in the American Civil War.

It was in Reno in 1871 that Jacob Davis, a tailor, started reinforcing his canvas pants with copper rivets. Davis later patented his idea with Levi Strauss, his canvas supplier to create the product now known as Levi's.

Nevada's legalization of casino gambling in 1931 and the passage of liberal divorce laws created another boom for Reno. The divorce business eventually died as the other states fell in line by passing their own laws easing the requirements for divorce, but gambling continued as a major Reno industry.

In more recent years, Reno has experienced rapid growth as a strong economy and a cost of living less than most of California has resulted in a housing boom. New construction is widespread emanating from all sides of the city and into the surrounding valleys. A direct result of such rapid growth has been a dramatic increase in housing prices in the area, with Reno-Sparks being named one of the most overvalued housing markets in the nation in 2006. On March 15, 2006, a new upscale shopping center, The Summit Sierra, opened in the southern suburbs of Reno.

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