Territorial Capital
Early Mormon pioneers settled Carson Valley and established the town in 1850, first known as Mormon Station, then part of the Utah Territory. From its earliest days, non-Mormons settled in the area wanted a government independent of Salt Lake, and from 1851 petitioned repeatedly for a territorial government.

Utah responded by creating Carson County, a huge area including most of modern Nevada, and sending Judge Orson Hyde to organize elections for county officials. The 1855 election filled 10 out of 10 county positions with non-Mormon settlers. The following year, when 200 more Mormon families had arrived, an election filled six of the 10 positions with Mormons.

Hyde, just before leaving Carson Valley, changed the name of Mormon Station to "Genoa" after his favorite Italian city. Soon tension was building between Utah and the federal government, and 1,000 Mormon settlers returned to Utah by order of Brigham Young, leaving political control to those remaining.

County government was suspended in 1857 and local records were removed to Utah for safe keeping. When the county was re-established in 1859, Judge John Cradlebaugh returned the records to Carson Valley into the care of Stephen Kinsey.