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Fallon is a city in Churchill County, Nevada, United States. The population was 8,606 at time of the 2010 census. Fallon is the county seat of Churchill County and is located in the Lahontan Valley.
Fallon and Churchill County are mostly agricultural areas. Although the area is arid, approximately 50,000 acres (200 km2) of its pastureland are irrigated with water from the Truckee–Carson Irrigation District. The principal crop grown is alfalfa for livestock feed. The "Heart O' Gold" cantaloupes of Churchill County were once distributed across the United States, but are now grown mostly for consumption in Nevada.
The largest single employer in Fallon and Churchill County is Naval Air Station Fallon, a training airfield that has been the home of the U.S. Navy's Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center including the TOPGUN training program since 1996, when it was moved here from Naval Air Station Miramar with that Air Station transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps.
U.S. Highway 50 (east–west) and US 95 (north–south) intersect in Fallon. It is one of the towns on the so-called "Loneliest Highway in America", the stretch of US 50 across most of Nevada that is known for its remoteness. Eastbound travelers from Fallon must drive 110 miles (180 km) to find the next town, Austin.
The town and post office were established July 24, 1896 in a little shack belonging to Michael Fallon, who operated a ranch at the site.
Fallon is located in western Churchill County at the geographic coordinates 39°28′22″N 118°46′44″W (39.472792, -118.778826). It is in the Lahontan Valley, a former lakebed into which flows the Carson River, which passes north of the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Fallon has a total area of 3.65 square miles (9.45 km2), of which 3.63 square miles (9.41 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2), or 0.49%, is water.
Fallon experiences a cold desert climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Due to Fallon's altitude and aridity, the Diurnal temperature variation is quite substantial, especially in the summer months. Fallon's climate is quite dry, due to its location in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada. Summer days can be hot, but temperatures are cooler than in deserts such as the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts, due to Fallon's altitude and higher latitude north of the equator. In the winter, daytime temperatures are usually above freezing, but nights can be bitterly cold. Fallon can experience heavy fog in winter, known as pogonip.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,536 people, 3,004 households, and 1,877 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,474.1 people per square mile (954.0/km²). There were 3,336 housing units at an average density of 1,095.2 per square mile (422.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.50% White, 2.00% African American, 3.00% Native American, 4.70% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 3.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.9% of the population.
There were 3,004 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,935, and the median income for a family was $41,433. Males had a median income of $35,356 versus $22,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,919. About 9.5% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony is headquartered in Fallon.
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich was born in Fallon.
Los Alamos National Laboratory, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, conducted an underground nuclear test 28 miles (45 km) southeast of Fallon at 5 p.m. on October 26, 1963. Named Project Shoal, the 12.5-kiloton detonation was part of the Vela Uniform program. The device exploded at a depth of 1,205 feet (367 m) below ground surface. The site is located in Gote Flat in the Sand Springs Range.
Access to the Project Shoal Area is unrestricted. Access to the area is by Highway 50, Nevada Highway 839, then to an improved gravel road to the site.
Seven miles east of Fallon, adjacent to Highway 50, is the Grimes Point Petroglyph Trail. The trail features rocks with carvings as much as eight thousand years old, created by native peoples who were drawn to the shores of ancient Lake Lahontan. The trail is approximately one-half mile long on a level path. Free brochures explaining the native art are available. There is also a cave where bats dwell. The path begins to rise as it goes from the now level lake bottom to the once higher bank where inhabited with caves.
Grimes had been significantly damaged prior to its listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1972, though the Bureau of Land Management began restoration and development for public exploration by the late 1970s and 1980s. The site is located off U.S. 50 east of Fallon and open to the public year-round.
The city is served by the Churchill County School District. Churchill County High School is the main high school and also caters to students in rural areas outside the city. Western Nevada College has a campus in Fallon.
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