NevadaGram #161 Sesquicentennial Nevada Day

Nevada Day was very big this year, being the Sesquicentennial edition and all. The year-long effort to celebrate the milestone with events and activities around the state — more than 500 of them — had focused more attention than ever on our annual Celebration of Statehood, and it showed.

Oh sure, easy for you to say

First and foremost were the parades. There has been a Nevada Day parade in Carson City since 1938 (they called it Admission Day then) and it is a cast-iron tradition now.Nevada Day Parade Carson City, women on stiltsThis year October 31, the actual date of Nevada’s entry into the Union fell on a Friday. The big parade was set for Saturday in Carson City, so Virginia City, Elko and Las Vegas each sponsored “Actual Day” parades on Friday. Friends from around the state have contributed photos which we have assembled as our Parting Shot below.

Carson City's little Willy paused at the Mizpah on its journey southCarson City's little WillyOne determined parader picked up his ‘float’ at closing time from the Carson City sign shop that had just laid the last layer of paint on its side, and at 5 am the next morning he headed south for Las Vegas and its first ever Nevada Day parade, scheduled there the next day.

Happy 150th Birthday Nevada!His name is Joel Dunn and he is the ED of the Carson City Visitors Bureau. His “float” is a recently rejuvenated 1961 Willys Jeep JR3 postal delivery vehicle that also serves as a major guy-magnet in the CCCVB vendor booth at travel shows.

It was riding high on the trailer behind the haul truck and it caught a lot of eyes along the way to Las Vegas. I call it Little Willy.

The Douglas High School Marching Band


If you’ve never marched in the Carson City Nevada Day Parade, this is your chance, with the Douglas County High School Marching Band. Go Tigers!

“It’s got a small block Chevy 283 engine with a 700-R Ford transmission,” Dunn says. “I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest parade float in the state, and willing to bet money it’s the quickest off the starting line.”

Little Willy’s arrival at Beatty coincided with a Model A club rendezvous, and drew an appreciative crowd and fervent invitations to join in an impromptu parade right then and there. But Little Willy sped on.

As anticipated, the odd little silver cube of a car caught the attention of the onlookers along the length of the Fourth Street parade route in downtown Las Vegas.

Once across the Finish line, Little Willy drove up onto the trailer, and when everything was cinched down tight the rig drove off. It was turning northbound onto US 95 while the passengers aboard the last floats in the parade were still smiling and waving and throwing candy to the spectators on Fourth Street.

The Elko High School Marching Band

The Elko parade has been a Nevada Day fixture for a generation now, and Virginia City mounts a parade down C Street almost at will, so Las Vegas was the only newcomer to the Nevada Day Parade scene and brought it off in fine style. But with no Sesquicentennial funding and nobody running for office in 2015, the Nevada Day’s parade’s future in Las Vegas seems iffy.

Little Willy and friends in Carson City

Little Willy and friends in Carson City

Little Willy seems to have been the only entrant to have paraded in Las Vegas on Friday and then hurried home to join the Big Parade in Carson City the next morning. Others who had paraded in Elko and Virginia City on Friday also paraded in Carson City the next day. Is this a new tradition? [See the photos below.]

The 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held earlier in the week at the Atlantis Hotel Casino in Reno, a shining hive of hospitality just north of the Convention Center on Virginia Street.

Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre

The event was the anticipated combination of pep rally and vocational schoolhouse, and it provided attendees with an update on the activities of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and a chance to network and schmooze, and to enjoy the elegant cuisine at the Atlantis.

Brian Krolicki at the 2014 Nevada Governor's Conference on Tourism

Brian Krolicki

Highlights of the event were the high-energy presentation by Nevada-born musician Eric Whitacre, who got the crowd to singing, and the reluctant and affectionate farewell to Brian Krolicki, termed out as Lieutenant Governor and as standard-bearer of the state’s Economic Development and Tourism Commissions.

Welcome reception at the Nevada Art GalleryBut the brightest highlight of all was the opening reception at the Nevada Museum of Art. The food was good, the art was great and the 36th Star exhibit upstairs was priceless. Sanitary Fund sack of flourThree of the museum’s galleries were devoted to a unique display of artifacts from the national collections as well as from our own Nevada archives. One underlying theme was the effort to answer the question “What does it really mean for a state to be Battle Born?” Answers to the question ranged from the Emancipation Proclamation that President Lincoln signed, to the muster rolls of the Nevada Volunteers, and it included that Icon of all Nevada Icons, the Sanitary Fund’s precious sack of Flour. That alone made the exhibit unforgettable.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

While cleaning out an old building in Virginia City a few years ago, Winson Hong made a fascinating discovery. He found an inexpensive advertising calendar from 1909 with this photo as the illustration:

Governor Sparks turns his back on Indian Johnny's family Here’s the caption beneath the photograph: “Indian Johnny’s father, mother, two sisters and an interpreter appealing to Governor Sparks to save the life of their son and brother, who was executed for the crime of murder at the Nevada State Prison December 7, 1906.”

Johnny’s mother looks like grief carved from granite, but all of them dread what’s coming. They sit somber and silent. The governor has his gloves in his hand as if preparing to leave while the interpreter pleads for Johnny’s life.

The Reno Evening Gazette reported, “The Board of Pardons refused the bucks clemency, although Johnny’s old parents journeyed all the way to Carson to implore mercy from Governor Sparks.”

Indian Johnny and Ibapah hanged at Carson City Nevada

Read the whole thing here

Wheezer Dell

Wheezer Dell

Wheezeritis: In researching the career of Wheezer Dell, the first Nevada baby to play baseball in the big leagues when he grew up, I fell to wondering one day about who the second one was. The problem with Wheezer is that he moved away before he was out of diapers and grew up in Butte Montana. We have the legal rights to him, but it was Butte that raised him. I wanted a major league ballplayer who grew up here.

Dusty Rhodes, Boston Red SoxIt turns out that the second Nevada man to get to the big leagues was Gordon Rhodes, who was born in Winnemucca in 1907 and played four years for the Yankees, three more for the Red Sox, and a final year, 1936, for Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics. But “Dusty” Rhodes’ parents left Winnemucca when he was a baby, and moved to Salt Lake City where he grew up and went to high school. Hmmpf.

Ted Davidson, Cicinnati RedsNumber three seemed promising. Ted Davidson was a “stylish reliever with a good fastball who admitted to using a spitter now and then” and threw his curveball sidearm to lefthanded batters. He made 54 relief pitching appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in 1966. But his career suffered a setback during Spring Training of ’67 when his estranged wife ended an argument they were having outside a bar in Tampa by shooting him twice in the torso. She was arrested and later released when he didn’t show up in court to testify against her. He pitched some more after that but he had lost his winning ways. He died in Bullhead City in 2006. Oh, and this from his obit about his boyhood in Las Vegas: “he moved away at an early age”.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Ingrid serves the beer at the Hofbrau Haus in Las Vegas

At the Hobrau Haus it’s always Oktober.

The only disappointment of my recent visit to Las Vegas was that Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas was not yet open.
The $12 million enclosed beer garden, a replica of the famous one in Munich, was supposed to have opened across Harmon Avenue from the Hard Rock Cafe in October. The structure is to have a 45-foot ceiling and accommodate 800 beer drinkers gulping down the authentic German suds from authentic German steins while listening to authentic German oom-pah bands.
Can you understand my sulky mood? Can you feel my pain?
The MaryJane Sisters came to visit recently, just back from a 5-day tour of eastern Nevada, and were attending the Piper’s Opera House Halloween events in Virginia City. They are as vivacious and delightful in person as in their travel reports, and we’ll head out for Beatty or Wells with these two any time they want.The MaryJane Sisters at Piper's Opera House Virginia City NevadaIn the meantime, here are The MaryJane Sisters in Virginia City.

Read the whole thing here

I don’t know who number 4 is and for now at least I’ve lost my enthusiasm for the search . . . but I can’t help thinking these three demonstrate the transient nature of our population over the years. And all three were pitchers, if that is a clue to anything.

What They’re Saying About Us

Young Joshua tree overlooking Goldfield Nevada.The San Francisco Chronicle came to Goldfield and discovered that veterans live there.

Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall, Ely

Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall, Ely

Quick Notes from Beyond the Mountains:
The new management at the Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall in Ely has opened a Sports Book downstairs. The table games are back on the main casino floor, and sporting events are shown on the high definition tvs at The Bar. Need it be said that this hotel is one of the most delightful discoveries in eastern Nevada? It has been a landmark since is went up in 1929 — the tallest building in the state at six stories — and staying there is a pleasantly retro experience. Just ask Shorty! . . .

Ghost Town Getaway

The Doll House, overlooking downtown Eureka NevadaWe have renovated and upgraded the Doll House in Eureka and it is now available as a Vacation Rental/ Ghost Town Getaway. The 1880 Victorian is a local landmark, nicely furnished with a modern bathroom and kitchen, all necessary implements and appliances provided. Nice view of downtown and an easy walk to Raine’s Market. WiFi/No TV/No phone. Inquiries: 775-843-6217. We’re on Facebook too.

One of our Facebook friends is the Picon Drinker of the American West. We like the tales he tells, and the stories of his travels around Nevada. Here’s a recent one . . . Travel Nevada, Nevada MagazineOne thing I learned at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism is that there are 3,000 murals in Philadelphia! No wonder they call themselves the “Ely of the East” . . .

Parting Shot — the Nevada Day Parades
Elkoan Jim Conner moved to Elko from Carson City decades ago. He couldn’t stand it that northeastern Nevada didn’t have a Nevada Day parade and he couldn’t take time off work to get to Carson for the festivities. So he and wife organized the Elko parade about 30 years ago and we’ve celebrated in proper fashion ever since. Opening the Elko Nevada Day Parade this year is a local honoree as the Grand Marshal, Mark Chilton along with his wife Kathy, escorted by local law enforcement and a military honor guard. We have bands from area high schools, business and civic groups and of course politicians! It’s a local tradition that candy be thrown to kids on the sidelines. A local expert on the topic declared this year’s parade the biggest and best of them all!

— Jan Petersen

Elko High School Band, Nevada Day Parade 2014Nevada Day Parade float, Elko Nevada
Idaho Street 2014 Elko Nevada Day ParadeNV150 Float, 2014 Elko Nevada Day parade
Nevada Day Parade, ElkoSpectators at the Nevada Day Parade in ElkoNevada Day Parade, Elko
Honor Guard, Elko 2014 Nevada Day ParadeJarbidge float big shovel, Nevada Day Parade

Photos by A. T. Anacabe Franzoia and Don Newman



Virginia City is known for having a Parade at the drop of a hat, and this Nevada Day effort was a glorious one — it must have been a top hat — even though it started late in the afternoon and finished up in the gathering dusk.

Civil Warriors on Parade, Nevada Day 2014 Virginia CityBand at 2014 Nevada Day Parade, Virginia City
Abe Lincoln, 2014 Nevada Day Virginia CityOur Princess, 2014 Nevada Day Virginia CityCivil Warriors, 2014 Nevada Day Parade, Virginia City
Kids on Parade, Nevada Day 2014 Virginia City2014 Nevada Day Parade, Virginia City

Photos by Cedar Pavel



Las Vegas celebrated the 150th with its first Nevada Day Parade ever and looked quite cosmopolitan doing it.

High School Marching Band 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day ParadeOld Glory, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day paradeLittle Willy from Carson City at the 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day parade
2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day ParadeMayor Goodman and consorts, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day Parade
Elvis balloon, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day ParadeElvis balloon, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day Parade
Old Glory, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day ParadeNevada's 150th Birthday Cake
UNLV 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day paradeKerak Shriners at the 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day paradeNV150 Cakewagon
sandoval300x200Will Rogers balloon, 2014 Las Vegas Nevada Day Parade

Parade photos by Mona Shield-Rice/Cox Communications.



The Carson City parade was its usual triumphant pageant, despite damp weather and skies that threatened worse. There were some 250 entries requiring more than four hours to accomplish the parade completely.

The Carson City "Float" in the 2014 Nevada Day ParadeHorse-drawn fire wagon 2014 Nevada Day Parade, Carson City
Navy Band at the Nevada Day Parade, Carson CityClowns at the Nevada Day Parade, Carson CityBeard Contest winners, Nevada Day, Carson City
Taking the leap in the 2014 Carson City Nevada Day ParadeOver the top in the 2014 Carson City Nevada Day ParadeHup! in the 2014 Carson City Nevada Day Parade
2 flags on Nevada DayCarson City CVB Float in the  2014 Nevada Day Parade
Cowboys at the 2014 Nevada Day Parade Carson City2014 Nevada Day Parade Carson City
Beard Contest alternates, 2014 Nevada Day Parade, Carson CityPancake Breakfast, 2014 Nevada Day, Carson City2014 Nevada Day Parade Carson City

Photos courtesy Patrick Wilkes, CarsonNow and the Nevada Department of Agriculture

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