History

View PDF

Doing Business in Pioche Often Resulted in Deadly Encounters

Sometime during the peak of Pioche’s boom, Athe Meeks, returning from delivering a load of timbers to a mine, was suddenly startled by two men with weapons drawn. The pair rushed out in front and forced Meeks’ mules to a stop. The highwaymen ordered him to show his hands, but he would have none of it; instead he pulled his six-shooter and shot Al Miller, one of the would-be robbers, dead. The second desperado, known as Little Frank, fired a wild shot at Meeks. He returned the favor, and his shot hit its target—Little Frank was found a little way down the road, also dead. Although most times it was the banditti who came out on top, this was just one of the scenarios that played out between robbers, cattle rustlers and horse thieves, and those delivering their goods to customers in Pioche.
View PDF

Yesterday: The Making of ‘The Misfits’

In 1961, eager movie buffs filled theaters across the country for the debut of "The Misfits." Shot entirely on location in and around Reno, the movie had all the makings of a blockbuster. Directed by John Huston and written by Arthur Miller, it starred Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, with Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, and Mont­gomery Cliff sharing the bill. The story was based on Nevada reality. In 1956 Miller, seeking a divorce, spent his six weeks' resid­ency in a cabin near Pyramid Lake. While there he met three Nevada mustangers who impressed him as being "the last three unreconstructed originals in the United States."
View PDF

Saving Bowers Mansion

In memory of the past, 12 women fight to preserve its historic future. BY TAMERA BUZICK Grant Smith, author of “The Comstock Lode,” once wrote, “What boy or girl ever forgot their first picnic at Bowers Mansion? It was a trip to paradise.” If you grew up in northern Nevada, you most likely have fond […]
View PDF

Ferris’ Fantastic Wheel

The 500-foot tall, 520-foot in diameter High Roller—located on The Las Vegas Strip—is the World's Largest Observation Wheel. It features 28 glass-enclosed cabins, travels one foot per second, takes 30 minutes for a complete revolution, features more than 2,000 LED lights and 112 cables, and runs parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard. The Strip superstar was built at a cost of $300 million by Caesar's Entertainment. 
View PDF

An Ode to the Desert Jackass

Reno and Sparks; the sage and the pine; picons and more picons—Nevada has indeed churned out the most inseparable of dynamic duos. Both in legend and reality, however, indisputably no more inseparable pair exists than the desert silver miner of the 19th century and his oft-plodding desert jackass.
View PDF

The Saga of Lydia Adams-Williams

Impatient, impetuous, and occasionally infuriating, Lydia Adams-Williams was all those and more. The word shy, however, was definitely not included in that list.
View PDF

Historically First

The importance of women to Nevada’s history is well documented and irrefutable. From Sarah Winnemucca to Helen Stewart, Hanna Clapp to Felice Cohn, the sisters of the Silver State left their own indelible stamp on the face of Nevada. While many women have made their mark, a select few were the first to do so in their respective fields. These women—and to be sure, there are many others—helped pave the way for more women to enter the workforce and seek positions that had been previously dominated by men. These leading ladies took the chance to go where no woman had gone before, and for that, they are our favorite firsts.
View PDF

Helen Stewart: First Lady of Las Vegas

On a quiet day in March 1926, businesses in Las Vegas shuttered their doors. Local schools closed for the day and the federal post office was deserted, for most of the city’s residents were attending the funeral of Helen Jane Wiser Stewart. The homage paid to Stewart by the city she helped create would have surprised the unassuming and frail woman. But the legacy of her strength, character, intelligence, and spirit was evident to all who knew her, and it continues to inspire today.
View PDF

The Ballad of Diamondfield Jack

Despite the Hollywood version of cattle raising in the Old West, few ranchers employed a gun-for-hire to eliminate rustlers or sheepherders. This is not to say it wasn’t done; around 1895, a few of the larger spreads in Wyoming brought in a “regulator” named Tom Horn to “clean up” the range, and at $500 a head, he was well on his way to doing so when he was convicted of murder and sent to the gallows. For years, Jack Davis faced the likelihood of the same fate.
View PDF

Nevada Outlaws Part 3

Another Round of Bad Boys The Wild West saw more than its fair share of criminal capers. BY RON SOODALTER Once again, we step out into the dusty street to face down a handful of early Nevada’s baddest bad guys. For those who have read the first two installments of the Outlaws of Nevada trilogy, […]
View PDF

Emma Nevada

Emma Wixom was born on Feb. 7, 1859, in the Alpha mining camp near Nevada City, California. Her father Dr. William Wixom moved his family to Austin to start a physician’s practice shortly before Nevada achieved statehood. It was in Austin that the girl’s bright future began to shine, and her talent brightened an otherwise dusty mining camp. From there, it was only a matter of time before her mellifluence would grace the rest of the world. 
View PDF

A Century of Suffrage

In 1910, the penalty for stealing (or kidnapping) a girl in Nevada was five years in prison or a fine of $2,000, while anyone convicted of stealing a horse could be imprisoned for 14 years. At the same time, if a U.S. woman married a foreigner, she lost her citizenship. Another law during the early 1900s, this one concerning community property between a husband and wife, allowed a man to sell or will community property without the consent of his wife. And finally, any wages a woman earned while living with her husband were not deemed her property unless her husband allowed her to use the wages, which were then considered a gift from him.  The rancor felt about the above-noted laws being created without any say from female constituents was growing, and the cry of “taxation without representation” was reborn. While that sentiment was enough to ignite the American Revolution, it sparked little fire with the male citizens of the young nation. It took until 1920 before half of the citizens of the U.S. were granted the right to vote. But the fight began long before. 
View PDF

Goldfield’s Historic Battle

The thermometer was toying with the century mark on Sept. 3, 1906 in Goldfield, when two men touched gloves in the center of the ring. The fight was now underway. It was the favorite—Oscar “the Battling Dane” Nelson vs “the Rank Faker” Joe Gans, as the local press described him.
View PDF

The Ong

The Ong, as it became known, was said to have wings as long as the tallest pine tree, colossal webbed feet, and was covered in both feathers and scales. Legend maintains that the creature also had a human-like face. Though cowardly as the beast may have been at times, the Ong didn’t just drag people away for fun. It consumed them.
View PDF

St. Thomas

Ghost town tells a tale of resurrection and fortitude. BY MICHELLE SINAGRA St. Thomas seems an unlikely name for a Nevada ghost town. It conjures up Caribbean fantasies of powdered sugar beaches, crystalline waters teaming with marine life, and warm balmy breezes. But this St. Thomas lies in the harshness of the Mojave Desert and […]
View PDF

100 Years of Candy Dance

For 100 years, streetlights have illuminated Genoa—Nevada’s oldest settlement—thanks to a group of dedicated townsfolk. In 1919, Lillian Virgin Finnegan and her aunt Jane Raycraft Campbell encouraged the 200 or so townspeople to hold a dance in what is now the Genoa Town Hall to raise funds for streetlights. Young ladies passed trays of free homemade candy, and after the dance, a midnight supper was served at the Raycraft Hotel. Today, on the last full weekend of September, Genoans make and sell candy for the two-day Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire, which draws between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors to the town, population around 900.