NevadaGram #37 – Virginia City, Rawhide, Las Vegas, Carson Valley, Ione, Ely and Topaz Lake

Virginia City is a popular day ride for motorcyclists during Reno’s Street Vibrations.

It must have been the rumble of Harleys that woke me up to the fact that things are changing in Virginia City. Landrum’s, the locally famous diner on Reno’s South Virginia Street (since 1947), did not survive transplanting to a couple of locations in the Truckee Meadows, but it has returned to life in all its crowded glory in Virginia City.
The 9-stool diner is located inside the Mark Twain Saloon on C Street, and offers a full menu 24 hours a day, including the succulent chili cheeseburger for which it was infamous in Reno for so many years. In the first few weeks since its debut it has become a solid local favorite, all over again.
This discovery led me to look a little closer at Virginia City and I’ll share some of my discoveries with you next time.

 McAvoy Layne as Mark TwainWhen I heard that the Carson Valley Inn will present the 17th Annual Rhymers Rodeer on November 5 and 6, I asked “What the Hay is a Rodeer?” I thought it might be a rodeo that grew antlers, but it turns out it’s a Gathering, in this case an eclectic mix of performers providing cowboy poetry, humor, music and satire hosted by McAvoy Layne as Mark Twain. There’s a Friday evening cocktail show, a free Saturday morning open mike session and a Saturday evening dinner show. All performances are non-smoking and advance ticket purchases are a must. Details Here.

The other day there came to me a ripple out of old Nevada: “A friend of mine bought my Grandfather’s old home and tore the old house down. It had been empty for some time. They found a box of old receipts dating back to 1889 and in the box was an article titled “RILEY GRANNAN’S LAST ADVENTURE”. It has no date on it, but you can tell it is very old. It consists of four typed pages and is the same as the EULOGY FOR A GAMBLER that I got off the internet.

Can you help me out with any information?
Boyce, Louisiana

As I wrote to him, Riley Grannan was one of a small number of celebrated “sportsmen” (i.e. racetrack gamblers) of the 1890s — Diamond Jim Brady was another — whose exploits were reported in the newspapers of the time. He was famous for the size of his bets and the strength of his nerve, but late in 1907 he was tapped out broke in San Francisco.

Bankrolled by friends,

If you can judge a place by its Rueben sandwich — and I think you can — then the Topaz Lodge is a very good place indeed. This little resort looks out across the lake to the California shore, but that’s not Lake Tahoe, it’s that other lake that laps across the California line: Topaz, 20 miles south of Gardnerville on US 395.

he moved on to Goldfield, then a bright spot on the Nevada map. When nothing presented itself, and he joined the rush t

o Rawhide, where he bought a saloon and gambling house called Moss’s Corner. In April, 1908. . . . But if you’re interested in the whole story, you’ll find it here.

At The Throttle the weekly dispatch that Mark Basset sends from the cab of Old Number 93 is now being posted to our Goings On page. If you like railroads, real ones that is, you’ll enjoy Mark’s lively reports about The Ghost Train of Old Ely.

We were saddened to hear that the Ore House Saloon in Ione had closed, and then gladdened again that it has reopened, but now without the renowned Fly as majordomo. This is the heart of old Nevada, what remains of it.

The Palms Casino Hotel

Here comes Hef! Jackie Brett writes from Las Vegas that Palms owner George Maloof has signed a licensing deal with Playboy to open the first Playboy Club since the last one closed 16 years ago.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism has produced a new edition of its pocket-size Adventure Guide. It lists outdoor adventure activities with information such as elevation, required skill level, directions for getting there, where to find lodging and more. The 107-page booklet is free and can be ordered by calling toll-free 1-800-NEVADA-8. The guide also will be posted online here sometime soon.

The club will occupy the top floors of the Palms new 40-story, 400-foot tower, scheduled to open in early 2006; the tower’s facade will feature the Playboy logo, a giant neon rabbit head. The cocktail waitresses will wear some version of the bunny costume and a logo shop will sell Playboy paraphernalia.

In addition, the tower will house a two-story, 12,000-square-foot Playboy Mansion-style penthouse suite to serve as a home-away-from-home for the 78-year-old Hefner. It will be named the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa and have its own glass elevator that overlooks the Strip. The Palms has already hosted three highly successful Playboy-related events.

Overheard in the Nebraska Steak House at the Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley: “War would end if the dead could return.”

Happy Highways,

David W. Toll




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