Day #1 of Nevada Day...

I have mentioned before how much we enjoy firsts. Today was a pretty delightful one- Day #1 of Nevada Day in Carson City. It is Nevada's Heritage Celebration, a gathering of community spirit on the last week of October to salute the state's past and look ahead to its future.
A perfect introduction was the Carson City Historical East-Side Tour, led by Bernie Allen and Eileen Cohen of the Preservation Coalition. A large group of us gathered at the Capitol (1870) for a two mile walking explore of the unique, historical and unknown to us- east side.

We meandered through turn of the century neighborhoods. I was intrigued by the 'what use to be' sites. This is the location of the Nevada Orphans' Home (1870). In 1903, the first building gave way to a larger one, constructed of sandstone from the state prison quarry. The stone building was replaced in 1963, in accordance with the modern concept of family groups, by numerous cottages.
The Virginia and Truckee Railroad began operations in 1869 and three short years later business was booming, with more locomotives and rolling stock, making a new shop building necessary. The railroad decided to relocate the new shops to Carson City and by 1874 it was in full operation. The V&T shops were impressive. There were 11 full-size bays and so much work that it was the largest employer in the city.

After over eighty years of continuous operation, the massive shop building was finally closed in 1950 and razed in 1991, to the chagrin of those old timers on our tour.
Our tour guide, Bernie Allen, who will be next year's Nevada Day Parade Grand Marshal, was a wealth of knowledge and a really neat guy. A local since 1941, Bernie knew so much history and even took us by his interesting childhood home.
All of Nevada's museums are free today and tomorrow so we decided to celebrate Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage at the Nevada State Museum, which incorporates the historic Carson City Mint building. Twenty-one galleries of engaging and unique exhibits showcasing diverse collections tell the fascinating Silver State story.
This happy neon guy is a reminder that gambling is part of the history. I always like his "howdy".
No trip into history is complete without a cemetery explore. Lone Mountain Cemetery did not disappoint. Encompassing 40 acres, individuals buried elsewhere in the town's early burial grounds were relocated to here in the mid-1860s. The most famous for us was Hank Monk (1826-1883), the legendary stage driver. He is famous for the ride he gave to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune- Carson City to Placerville in 10 hours!

The most interesting was the tomb of P.H. Clayton (c. 1819-1874). This territorial-era attorney was involved in much of the early legislation that affected Nevada and was also a "notorious secessionist."

Hearing about all the sandstone the prisoners quarried, we had to find this place and learn a little something about it. Nevada State Prison (NSP) was a penitentiary located in Carson City. The prison was in continuous operation since its establishment in 1862 until its closure in 2012... one of the oldest prisons that operated in the United States.
In the early 20th century, this prison became the sole designated facility for executions by the state of Nevada. It carried out the first death sentence by gas chamber in the United States with the execution of Gee Jon in 1924. It was closed for budgetary reasons yet it is still designated as the site of executions for the State.
Sadly, license plates are no longer made at this prison. Such intriguing history... all of it.
Last stop was the Nevada State Railroad Museum. This is a place we have always wanted to visit which preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada, including locomotives and cars of the famous Virginia & Truckee Railroad and other railroads of the Silver State. Many were bought from Hollywood studios, where they were made famous in movies and television shows. Among 65 locomotives and cars in the collection, 40 were built before 1900, and 31 pieces that operated on the V & T Railroad.

We enjoyed seeing the historic 1910 McKeen motorcar taking enthusiasts for a ride.
Okay, so our day was incredibly fun. Nevada Day is all about preserving the State's history through education and to remind the citizens how and when Nevada became a State. Interestingly this is the only state in the Nation that continues to celebrate its historical entry into the Union, making it quite a unique event (and a legal holiday). This was only Day #1. We can't wait to see what tomorrow holds.

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