Legendary Nevadans: Jessie Beck
At 34 years old, Jessie Beck (born Jessie Renfro) found herself recently divorced and nearly broke. Opportunities for a single mother in 1938 were few, so she was relieved to find work at a diner in Fort Worth. A few months into the job, Beck’s sister Mabel and brother-in-law Raymond “Pappy” Smith entered the restaurant. The two had just arrived from Reno, where Pappy managed the Harolds Club casino.
The phrase “if these walls could talk” is bandied about to convey that a room or structure had likely housed many conversations and situations that had been forgotten in the shadows of time. Nowhere could this be truer than the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. The stories that remain from the venerable institution are enough to fill 10 libraries, and consider this: those are just the ones we know about.
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, […]
Nevada Twilight Part 2
Local Lore & Mysterious Matters Episode 2: A casino’s riches vanish, a ghostly stickup, and an elusive serpent. BY ERIC CACHINERO Mankind’s natural curiosity for the mysterious and unexplained spans our entire history. Where is the lost city of Atlantis? Will we ever know the identity of Jack the Ripper? How were ancient sites like […]
Nevada Part VI: Gambling, Gold and Government Projects
After struggling to maintain momentum through the Great Depression, Nevadans are aided by the sinful schemes that supported the infamy of the Silver State. BY RON SOODALTER When the Great Depression struck an unprepared nation in 1929, Nevada took its share of blows. As Governor Fred Balzar was assuring constituents that Nevada’s economy was healthy […]