History

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Nevada’s Basque History

Looking from the outside in, sheepherding and Basques in Nevada go hand-in-hand. But for the Basque immigrant life wasn’t that simple. First, he had to overcome a language barrier, as well as homesickness. He then had to learn a completely foreign skill—herding sheep—under strenuous circumstances.
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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.
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Yesterday: Driving Into History

In 1909 pioneer motorist Alice Ramsey took an automobile, and women drivers, a long way. BY PHILLIP I. EARL This story first appeared in the April 1992 issue of Nevada Magazine.    Three quarters of a century ago, women drivers were viewed not only as a danger to themselves and others but also as a […]
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Iconic Las Vegas Sign Turns 60  

Imagine driving into Las Vegas, and being greeted by a sign that reads “Welcome to Las Vegas The Gateway to Boulder Dam.” If your drive took place before 1959, that’s what you would have seen at the intersection of Fremont and Main Streets. It wasn’t until the 1950s when the golden age of neon signage—and today’s iconic sign—began on the Las Vegas Strip
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The Man Howard Hughes Left Behind

Melvin Dummar recounts his brush with fortune and loss.   BY SHAUN ASTOR “I grew up in Fallon. There was an airport, where the Churchill County rodeo grounds are at,” Melvin Dummar, now 74 years old, recalls on a warm evening as the sun falls behind the Resting Spring Mountain Range to the west of […]
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Hard Pressed to Survive

In a world of PayPal, Bitcoin, and all manner of electronic currency where paper money looks downright antiquated, coins are relegated to almost nuisance status. Heavy and destined for the ashtray or swear jar, coin as currency is a near relic. But since 1792, the U.S. has been minting coins for trade and commerce, and in all that time just eight towns were honored with the presence of a mint. Carson City is one of those towns, and the history of the Silver State's only mint is one that could make you rethink that change rattling around in your pocket.
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Railroad Collections

Nevada State Railroad Museum staff and volunteers   Rolling Through the Years How the Nevada State Railroad Museum Cares for its Collections. BY CHRISTOPHER DE WITT The Nevada State Railroad Museum (NSRM) in Carson City has a significant collection of Nevada-related restored and unrestored rolling stock—a term that refers to any vehicle used on a […]
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The Founding of Reno

  WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF RENO? History is evasive on the story of two men and a lucrative spot on the Truckee River. BY JACK HARPSTER On May 9, the city of Reno celebrates its sesquicentennial. The area came to life as Lake’s Crossing in 1861, when Myron Lake purchased a wooden bridge, rustic […]
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Sam Davis

’30’ is ticked off  for Sam Davis Sagebrush School journalist penned Silver State history. BY CHIC DIFRANCIA On March 18, 1918, the “Car-son City Daily Appeal” carried a front-page obituary for its former publisher and editor, Samuel Post Davis. The headline read: “‘30’ Is Ticked Off For Sam Davis.” Now archaic, “30” at the time […]
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Yesterday: Will James & a Horse Called Happy

BY ANTHONY AMARAL Originally appeared in the May/June 1980 issue. When Will came to Reno he was just another drifting cowboy, broke and out of a job. His future as the author and illustrator of Smoky, the classic story of a cow pony, and 15 other books of the range country had not yet become […]
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Shaping History at Donovan Mill

Tears of joy and sorrow have both been shed at the site of Donovan Mill in Silver City. The intense and unexpected changes that follow the boom and bust cycles of small Nevada mining towns have been the only constant. Pioneering new ideas and techniques were discovered and put into action here: a place rich with mining innovation, as well as with gold and silver. Originally the land was an idyllic part of the hunting and gathering territory of the Washoe Tribe. The possibility of wealth brought speculators and adventurers, eventually changing the landscape forever. The community, settled in 1859, was filled with people who proved themselves to be independent, resourceful, and self-motivated.
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The Rise and Fall of Reno’s Chinatown

The Sacramento-to-Reno section of the Central Pacific Railroad was completed in the spring of 1868 and the many Chinese laborers who had risked life and limb laying track over the Sierra Nevada received final payment and were left along the line to fend for themselves. Many settled in Reno, where they constructed flimsy bare- wood structures at the crossroads of Virginia and First streets along the banks of the Truckee River and attempted to put down roots in the community they now called home.
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Lincoln Union Club

African Americans on The Comstock fought for equality. BY ERIC CACHINERO Blood and silver soaked the earth in the mid 1860s. Seemingly just as quickly as the blood from Civil War battles was spilled in the eastern United States during the conflict’s culmination, silver was scooped from the recently formed Comstock district. This bizarre pseudo […]
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Hank Monk, The Incomparable

BY BRANDON WILDING “Hank Monk, the incomparable! The most daring – the most reckless of drivers; and the luckiest. The oddest, the drollest of all the whimsical characters who made Western staging famous the world over… It was a dream come true! I’m quite sure that had anyone asked me which of the two I […]
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Nevada’s Outlaws

If you were to ask the average Western history buff to name the most infamous desperados of the late-19th-century frontier, he would no doubt rattle off such names as Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, and Billy the Kid. It is highly unlikely that such monikers as “Big Jack” Davis, “Three-Fingered Jack” McDowell, “Fighting Sam” Brown, or “Farmer” Peel would ever come up. And yet, these products of a raw and often lawless Nevada, as well as dozens of their contemporaries, were every bit as piratical as their more notorious counterparts.
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Manhattan Photographs

A Peek Into the Past Photos from Manhattan’s heyday provide a glimpse into yesteryear. STORY BY LORRAINE A. DARCONTE PHOTOS COURTESY JOSEPH DEISS A cache of photographs taken in the small mining town of Manhattan in the early 1900s was discovered by chance, and the images taken by Percival Nash offer a personal look at […]