Fernley is a growing community of approximately 19,700 people and includes surrounding agricultural areas. Fernley was established in 1904 as primarily an agricultural and ranching community. The Truckee Canal is about 32 miles in length and was constructed as part of the Newlands Project (a federal Bureau of Reclamation project) in 1905. The canal was designed to carry 1,500 cubic feet per second of water from the Truckee River through Fernley and ultimately into the Lahontan Reservoir.
The Truckee Canal provided water to allow ranching and farming. This also coincided with the development of the railroad. In 1905 the Fernley station was listed in the official railroad guide and in December 1913, grading started for the new Fernley Depot, which was completed in August of 1914. The Depot was in use until the Southern Pacific Railroad closed it in September of 1985. The Depot was purchased by the Fernley Preservation Society in January of 1986 and was moved to its present location on Main Street in September 1986. Through donations, the labor of the community, and state and federal grants the Depot was recenlty renovated and continues to live on as a symbol of the community's rich history.