Nevada The Latino Harbinger of Gaming and Tourism
Mexican-born Bony Aguilar was a Nevada pioneer in every sense of the word. He was one of several Latino prospectors who migrated to central Nevada in the 1850s to make a silver strike and open the first mines in what would become the Candelaria Mining District. He left that mine and traveled south to Silver Peak. There he made another silver strike, but he was unable to realize any profit because powerful U.S. mining interests moved in and pushed him off the land, just as they had done to other Mexican miners in California’s gold fields. Aguilar then settled at one of the hot springs at Silver Peak Marsh. There, following his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit, he established a small resort and bathhouse that came to be known as Bony’s Baths.
Word spread far and wide about the curative qualities of the water at his resort, to which he added a saloon. He prospered, and visitors came not only to enjoy his baths but also to hear his tall tales of excavating mines by hand and fighting hostile Indians. Bony Aguilar can be considered the harbinger for Nevada’s tourism and entertainment industries that today are the mainstay of the state’s economy.