The source of Fernley's name remains a mystery. A few unconvincing theories have been tried, but no living soul truly knows who or what a Fernley was. That reveals something about the transitory nature of fame, but it is irritating to people who like their history neat and tidy.
Fernley’s life began in 1906 with the railroad, but it was relatively eventless until the Newlands Reclamation Project resulted in the construction of Derby Dam and the establishment of irrigated
farms. These small family homesteads supported a scattered population, but many of them were foreclosed during the Depression.
The community’s main attraction, other than the Semi-On-A-Stick you see from the autobahn, is
visible to the north: the Veterans’ Cemetery, where rest the remains of hundreds of former service
men and women. There is an extensive collectionvof
Native American stone-, bone- and beadwork
displayed on the walls of The Wigwam Cafe. The artifacts are arranged in their frames with creative
flair, which is interesting, but without information, which is frustrating. The old Fernley & Lassen railroad depot is being restored on Main Street and will become a museum