NevadaGram #55 – A Capella in Eureka, Muhammad Cartoons in Wendover, Dragon Boats in Henderson

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The Eureka Opera House is an enjoyable destination any time.

photo by Robin Cobbey
The Edlos at the Eureka Opera House.

It’s one of the loveliest relics of the old west. And when the Edlos are performing, it’s a delight.

The Edlos are four guys who sing a capella, somehow managing to get a full orchestral sound from just four voices, eight eyebrows and some fingersnaps. They sang their fool heads off to an enthralled audience of about 30, most of whom had braved the perverse weather to travel from Reno, Wells, Gold Hill, Austin and other metropolitan centers of northern and central Nevada.

photo by Max Winthrop
The Eureka Opera House is reknowned for presenting top performers.

In addition to their tightly arranged and closely harmonized music (ranging from the Beatles to the Mills Brothers) the gang of four recounted their adventurous journey from Carlin to Eureka with inadvertent detours to the Barth Iron Mine and Sharon’s Brothel.


photo by Max Winthrop
Bad News from Goldfield Slim Sirnes, the celebrated aluminum artist and art car czar of Goldfield, has passed on. A memorial service will be held when the weather warms up. More about Slim here,here, and here.

After the performance the Edlos piled into their car and drove off into a blizzard, doubtless singing all the way, while the audience moved a block north to the warm and welcoming Owl Club. The apres-theater party continued late into the night with local bon-vivants.

Photo courtesy Henderson Convention Center
Dragon Boats on Lake Las Vegas.

The 2006 Dragon Boat Festival will take place at Lake Las Vegas Resort on April 21 and 22. Originating in 4th century B.C. China, dragon boating is a team sport featuring 44-foot, solid teak war canoes with 22-person crews (20 paddlers, drummer, and steersperson. In a battle of technique, synchronicity and team-spirit, each crew competes in two 500-meter race heats with an optional 250-meter sprint challenge. Competing crews come from around the USA and Canada.

Opening ceremonies will take place on Friday, April 21 at 7 pm in MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas Resort. During Saturday’s races a festival of food and family fun takes place on shore. Proceeds raised through the Dragon Boat Pledge Program will benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. Team registration and additional Dragon Boat Festival information is available by calling FMG Dragon Boat at 1-888-679-4222 or via their website.

Photo by Rodgers
The Ghost Train of Old Ely begins regular weekend service April 15.

Memo from William L. Withuhn, curator, Division of the History of Technology at the Smithsonian Institution: “Among all railroad historic sites anywhere in North America, the Nevada Northern Railway complex at East Ely is — no question in my view — the most complete, most authentic, and best cared-for, bar none. It’s a living American treasure and a stand-out one.” The opening weekend of the 2006 season is April 15 and 16. Train times are Saturdays Steam at 1:00 pm and Diesel at 4:30 pm. Sundays, Steam at 9:30 am and Diesel at 1:00 pm.

More Nevada history: Last time I mentioned the excellent collection of Nevada history available online in the Reading Room of the Nevada Observer (new edition just posted) And here’s another. Dennis C. Myers of the Reno News & Review sends a daily e-mail called On this date. Here’s the one from April 1:

photo by Max Winthrop
I’m thinking it’s time to pack my bag for Laughlin, the one place in Nevada I never get any work done.

On this date in 1869 White Pine County was created with Hamilton as its county seat; in 1881 Ed Vesey gave up his lease on Reno’s Lake House, possibly to move to Sierra Valley, and Myron Lake took over operation of the property again; in 1886 the Nevada State Journal reported, “The Carson Appeal says a private letter from Washington states that Nevada will have some trouble getting the appropriation for her Indian School from the fact that the appropriation has been exhausted for this year. The Department stated that the money for this purpose lay there for years, but none of the Nevada Representatives asked for it and of course it was not tendered. It could at any time have been had for the asking but nobody cared enough about it to ask, so of course we wait another year.”; in 1895the Nevada Assembly amended a bill prohibiting the use of “ardent spirits” in the capitol building to make it take effect after the legislature went home for the year; in 1896 the Nevada State Journal reported that Mrs. M.C. Lake would move into the Lake house; in 1904 Truckee Carson Project (Newlands Project) engineer L.H. Taylor said the project would reclaim (irrigate and farm) 235,000 acres (it never reached 100,000);

photo by Max Winthrop
Bob’s, on the west side of Fallon, is closed forever, sob.

in 1907 mining labor leaders Joseph Smith and Morris Preston, being held on charges of killing a restaurant owner in Goldfield, arrived in Carson City after being removed from the Hawthorne jail to be taken to the state prison to await trial; in1913 Washoe County District Attorney William Woodburn was asked for a legal opinion on whether the new state glove contests law required the $100 be paid for a day’s fights or for each individual fights, and whether the law limited the number of round; in 1952 officials of the Calaveras County Fair came up with a grisly publicity stunt—to prove or disprove stories that frogs had emerged alive from stonemasonry after being inside for years, the fair would entomb a frog in a wall for a year; in 1952 there was growing criticism of a Reno Chamber of Commerce plan to change the name of Slide Mountain to Mount Reno, with snow surveyor James Church and members of the Nevada Historical Society opposing the change; in 1957 “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers was released on Cadence; in 1964 Nevada casinos changed the rules of blackjack to defeat a successful system for beating the house that was then in use; in 1965 on a 17-18 vote, the Nevada Assembly voted down a required redistricting plan, hoping that a federal constitutional amendment overturning U.S. Supreme Court one-person/one-vote decisions would be approved so the reapportionment would never have to be done;

photo by Max Withrop
It’s perfect weather for a Lake Mead cruise on the Desert Princess.

in1970 U.S. Army Sp. 4 Peter Lemon was involved in an action in which he stood off Vietnamese troops with three machine guns and some hand grenades while being wounded three times and rescuing a fellow soldier, actions for which he received the Medal of Honor (he later credited his alertness in the action to the fact that he was stoned on marijuana at the time); in 1971 U.S. Representative Walter Baring of Nevada sent a letter to President Nixon seeking a pardon for mass murderer William Calley: “I make this request in behalf of my constituents, myself, and every former, current and future American soldier. This miscarriage of justice has hurt the cause of American patriotism and troop morale and surely will not assist you in developing a professional army, volunteer or draft.”; in 1971The Nevada Senate voted to kill a public vote on whether to make abortion legal; in 1971 the Riverside Hotel in Reno reopened under the

ownership of Jessie Beck; in 1975 NLF and Hanoi forces were sweeping through Vietnam toward Saigon and Cam Ranh, with two province capitals falling without a shot being fired; in 2003 U.S. forces invaded an Iraqi hospital at Nasiriyah to seize Private Jessica Lynch (earlier the Iraqis, who saved Lynch’s life, had tried to turn her over to U.S. forces who refused to accept her).

I like the mix of Nevada and world events, and the perspective it provides. Dennis will add you to his list if you e-mail a request. There’s a Nevada post-script to the Calley story: Lt. Steve Kosatch, the officer who took over Calley’s unit when he was dragged off in disgrace, is now a judge in Reno.

photo by Max Winthrop
A hidden Treasure on US 95 isAuntie Moe’s Trading Post at Indian Springs, filled with a wonderful selection of Native American goods.

Quick notes from beyond the mountains: Is Wendover Burning? In its February 2nd edition, Wendover’s weekly High Desert Advocate published on its front page the celebrated Danish cartoons of Muhammad. Publisher Howard Copelan is the only Nevada newspaper proprietor willing to be politically incorrect and risk the wrath of Muslim fundamentalists . . .Intermountain Guide Service offers van tours to the Bonneville Salt Flats, also ATV and Horseback Riding tours into the mountains north of Wendover. They pick you up at your hotel and take you up to the mountains for an unforgettable ride: you see the salt flats for miles, there are big horn sheep, wild horses and for four or more they will do a dutch oven dinner . . . And, since Wendover seems to be the topic of the day, here’s a great site about the airbase . . . The Stardust brothel In Ely is on the market . . . Casino Express, the junket airline serving the Red Lion Casino and the other McClaskey properties at Elko since 1986, has shut down operations there. Renamed Xtra Airways, it is adding planes based at Wendover for gambling flights from cities around the country to the Peppermill, the Montego Bay and the Rainbow . . . McAvoy Layne, who begins his day with the New York Times, was no doubt gratified to see his photo in the April 2 edition accompanying the Associated Press story about the First Presbyterian Church in Carson City. Some folks want to take it down and replace it with something newer and nicer, others want to preserve it for its historic value. Orion Clemens, Sam’s brother, was a member of the congregation, and Sam raised $200 to help build the church in the first place, by holding a “roast” of the Territorrial legislature.

Overheard at the Beatty Club in Beatty: “A paranoid is a person who knows a little bit about what’s going on.”

Happy Highways,

David W. Toll




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