September – October 2016
David Toll is synonymous with rural Nevada. His book “The Complete Nevada Traveler” is considered the one resource roadtrippers can’t live without when traveling Nevada’s back roads and small towns. Our Carrie Roussel recently spoke to David.
David Toll: I’ve lived in Gold Hill since 1958. As a kid growing up in Santa Barbara I remember all the stories from my great-granddad, Harry Gorham. He was born in the Pink House in Gold Hill.
Question: What do you do?
David Toll: I’m publishing a few internet sites (mainly nevadatravel.net) which represent a lot of writing, publishing, and content activity.
Question: Do you remember the first time you wrote for Nevada Magazine?
David Toll: In 1965, I worked for a designer that had come to Reno to work with clients like Harrah’s and I did some design work for him on Nevada Magazine. After a short tenure, I wrote a piece on Mark Twain getting lost while trying to attend a housewarming party in Washoe Valley. It was an actual event that occurred in the wintertime of 1863-64 or so.
Question: Do you have a favorite Nevada memory?
David Toll: I guess the first and the best is from 1946. I came to visit my great-grandfather when he was 88 years old. He and I took a trip for a few weeks in his 1939 Dodge Sedan. He was born in 1859 and came here in 1877 to work for his rich uncle who was in charge of the mines. On that trip we went to Aurora. In 1862-63 it was still a substantial city, but by the turn of the century, it was empty. So in 1946 we went to that old city, still standing, but empty again. We walked around, with granddad telling me stories about the buildings and all the memories. It was like out of the movies—unbelievably eerie and special. That was in May of 1946 and in August all the buildings were knocked down. I could very well have been one of the last humans to see Aurora standing.
Question: Who do you consider to be a notable Nevadan? Why?
David Toll: Everyone should know Herb Robbins. As a kid living in the foothills of Nevada he was interested in ghost towns and after a while, ghost town and gold mining trips led to the discovery of Gold Point. He’s been buying property there and has been there ever since; buying more buildings, restoring them, and preserving a piece of Nevada that would have otherwise curled up and blown away.
Question: What does being Battle Born mean to you?
David Toll: As a resident of Gold Hill I’ve been in the battle against the mining company on a destructive rampage here in Gold Canyon. My neighbors and I tried to prevent open-pit mining in the Virginia City National Historic Landmark and failed. For all the struggles, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.