Category: Nevada History

Mark Twain’s First Letter

Ormsby House, Carson City Nevada, 1863

by Jim Reed Ormsby House, Carson City, 1863 In signing his famous “letter from Carson City” on January 31, 1863, the man directing the pen morphed from Samuel Langhorne Clemens to Mark Twain with just a few wriggles of his wrist. The world of literature had gained an immortal. This was the first known use […]

Sparks: A Town of Two Times

by Wendell Huffman                                         The Sparks rail yard in the 1930s (photo: University of Nevada, Reno, Special Collections) Sparks was created in the early 20th century as part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s modernization of the Central Pacific line across Nevada. The old division point at Wadsworth, where trains were dispatched, crews changed, and […]

DAYTON is in Virginia City

by Dennis Cassinelli For many years, my family and I have lived in Dayton, Nevada, “Gateway to the Comstock.” This is where Nevada gold was first discovered in 1849 that ten years later, led to the discovery of silver and the Comstock Lode. When the Virginia and Truckee Railroad was completed in 1869, one of […]

Las Vegas — Reality or Promoter’s Illusion?

Las Vegas, Desert-Inn

by Myram Borders    Las Vegas rode into the 20th century on a horse-drawn wagon and left in a golden chariot.                       Fremont Street about 1915, with the he original Union Pacific Railroad Station on Main Street at center.                                                 Photo credit: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries   Editor’s Choice After spending seven months […]

Eulogy for a Gambler

Herman Knickerbocker Prospecting at Rawhide Nevada

The funeral oration for Riley Grannan by Herman W. Knickerbocker On April 3, 1908, a former Methodist minister faced a small audience crowded into a backroom dance hall in the booming mining town of Rawhide. His name was Herman Knickerbocker, and he had been the pastor of Trinity Church in Los Angeles until he was […]

Mark Twain’s Collar Buttons

Dan De Quille

by Dan De Quille The Golden Era, December 6, 1863 William Wright (Dan De Quille) If I had known that Mark Twain’s shirts were all without collars I would never have gone into partnership with him in rooms. I should have sternly refused having such a partner — all his excellent qualities and his useful […]

Finding Clemens Cove

One of the most memorable episodes in “Roughing It” recounts how young Sam Clemens hiked up to Lake Tahoe from Carson City. Sam Clemens, 1864 He tells how he and his companion staked a timber claim and accidentally set the forest on fire. The two escaped with their lives by rowing their skiff out into […]

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