We’ve created an “Event List” page that will list all the upcoming events that are submitted for Washoe Valley. See the tab at the upper right of the page.
Mining claims on federal land are often marked using PVC pipe poles at each corner of the claim. You might have seen these 4 foot pipes while you have been out 4 wheeling or shooting. It has been found that these posts kill thousands of birds annually across our western lands and the BLM is requesting that the public take action. The birds, who like cavities to make their nests, enter the pipes and are unable to escape. Some pipes have been found to have many trapped birds inside. It is recommended that we cap or pull and remove the posts. Laying the post down at the site will still mark the claim. Our high desert environment is already tough on wildlife, do what you can to eliminate this unnecessary hardship! The full article is here. Thanks to a local resident for bringing this to our attention.
Like the Amazing Race? Want to enter your family in our local State Parks version? Sounds like fun!
Check out the info on the State Parks website and call to pre-register for this weekends event. There’s more information on our events tab at the top of this page.
How Wrong Can a Modern Air Passenger Be in Making A Guess About What Used To Be in Washoe Valley?
by Peggy Trego, Nevada State Journal, January 10, 1952
55 Years Ago a Historian Looks Back at the “Early Days
Peggy Trego wrote several Western Nevada Historical articles for the local newspapers in the 1950s for their Sunday editions and is a valuable resource. Here’s an example with Washoe Valley as the subject. I placed this article on a separate page because of it’s length.
Then mark your calendars for the 21st annual Will James Society gather! Will James was a self made Nevada cowboy, western writer, illustrator and movie consultant in the 1910s trough the 1930s (Our previous article on Will is here). He and his wife (from Reno) lived in a cabin in Washoe Valley when he wrote his most popular book, “Smoky The Cow Horse.” Hollywood later made a movie from the story. He wrote over 20 books and stories including items and illustrations for contemporary magazines.
On the weekend of September 26th-28th the Society will host several activities based at the Sparks Nugget. Included is a visit to the Snaffle Bit Futurity and Cowboy Market, the National Auto Museum, art show and reception, concert, V&T train excursion and cowboy storytelling.
Of special interest to Washoe Valley residents interested in our history is a trip to visit the James’ home in Washoe Valley which is normally closed to the public.
If you grew up like I did totally immersed in the western lore and culture, this is a great chance to rub elbows with like-minded folks and celebrate a little of that quickly disappearing Western Americana.
Get full details and a registration form at: www.willjames.org or call Candace James (775)934-3570 or Sharon DeCarlo at (775)265-7136.
See you there!
Left: “In a Bad Way” by Will James. Right: Ad for the movie playing at Reno’s Majestic Theater in the 1940s.
In 1919, James was commissioned to design the poster for the “Reno Roundup” (now the Reno Rodeo) and apparently it had an illustration of a cowboy on horseback and a stampede. Below is a question submitted to the Reno paper about the depiction of a gun in the artwork and James’ response. It is interesting to see there were “back and forths” in Letters-to-the-editor sections back then too! I haven’t been able to locate an example of the poster- it would be fun to see!
The folks at the Virginia and Truckee Railroad Company in Virginia City wrote in a correction to my article below “Last Train To Carson”. You could take the train from New York City to Carson City up until 1950 but service to Virginia City was stopped in 1938. Thanks for the clarification!
You could take a train from New York City to Carson City up until May 30, 1950 (service all the way to Virginia City ended in 1938). Then it was gone forever. It’s surprising it lasted as long as it did as Virginia City was in decline since well before the turn of the century. It wasn’t until 1921 that a surfaced road was built between Reno and Carson City so the railroad provided an important transportation link between Reno and Minden.
On May 30th the celebrated line passed quietly into the local lore of the Comstock and not many noticed. The Reno Gazette reported that Train No. 1 pulled out of the Southern Pacific depot at 7:30 am with only 40 of it’s available 60 seats filled. “Engine No. 27 and three cars and a caboose headed towards Carson to wind up a faithful career of 81 years. The only formal farewells will be provided by the children of the Brown-Washoe schools at Steamboat Springs as the the train stops at the station at 5;30 on it’s last return trip to Reno. It’s fitting as Steamboat is the only remaining stop on the Reno-Carson run. Huffaker’s, Brown, Washoe City, Franktown, Mill Station and Lakeview have all closed previously.”
The paper reported that several “old-timer” employees, current and retired, manned the Carson Station and the train for the last day. The event also marked the last mail delivered by a short-line railway in the western states.
It was reported that the railroad has received many letters postmarked from all over the United States and around the world since the closing was announced. In the recent years not a small amount of the passenger traffic has been by railroad tourists from around the country.
It was just a couple years ago that we lost some of the last remnants of the line in the fire that destroyed the trestles in Washoe Canyon, north of Highway 395 at the north end of the valley. It’s great that we can still experience the V&T with the rebuilding of the line from Mound House to Virginia City.
The V&T pauses at the location of the Franktown Depot where only the water tower remained. In the background is the Flying ME Dude Ranch popular with divorees in the 1930s and 40s.
Photos above by Al Rose
“Then and Now” of a Virginia and Truckee train passing through Washoe Canyon in North Washoe Valley in the 1880s.
The Now photo was taken in 2009 before the trestles were destroyed by fire.
The folks at http://www.virginiatruckee.com assisted me in correcting some inaccurate information in this article and I appreciate it!