Next time you’re in Austin, Nevada, Jan Morrison will scoop you an ice cream cone or rent you a room for the night. The desserts come from her Main Street Shops, located in an 1881 merchantile, where she offers everything from Victoriana to local art to souvenirs from Nevada and the Lincoln Highway. It’s at her coffee shop there that you can get ice cream or fresh-baked biscotti.
Her rooms are at the c. 1950 Lincoln Motel, which has 17 units, three of them studios with kitchens. Just look for the reproduction LHA concrete post out front. Jan says it was put there last summer by the Nevada Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association, which has worked hard placing the posts and other signs along the route through Nevada.
Since she took over the motel about a year-and-a-half ago, Jan has been making improvements such as paving the entire parking lot, updating the plumbing and electrical, replacing carpet and painting nearly every room, and adding wi-fi. She encourages reservations (775) 964-2698 because “we and the other motels easily fill up by 8 pm. Sometimes touring groups reserve the entire motel. If you head west, Fallon (1.75 hrs) usually has rooms, but if you are heading east, Eureka fills up just as we do.” It’s also the only motel in Austin that accepts pets.
Of course, the history here stretches before car travel: “It is built on the site of the first silver mine in 1862, the year that the “Rush to the Reese River’ started. There were over 20,000 mining claims around Austin and its population went from a few miners to nearly 10,000 people just a few years after the silver discovery.” Here’s a photo or click here for an extra-large wide-angle view.
Jan has more info about her businesses and interests here but she is a big booster for the entire area: “We have hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails, beginning to expert. The bike trails include ‘one track’ and ‘two track’ routes and go through forest, meadows, desert, and some very challenging climbs and drops. Several of the trails start right in town at the park or the east end of town where a bike shop used to be. (Unfortunately, the business moved to a larger market area in Elko, so there is no place to rent bikes anymore.) We have free bike trail guides at most merchants and in the courthouse (not open on weekends). The Chamber of Commerce will mail them out in advance, call (775) 964-2200. We are also a central place for day trips to ghost towns, fishing, hot springs, hiking, and off-road exploring. We have 13 buildings and sites on the National Register and are working hard on restoring them.”