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Washoe City’s Old Cabin

I have been asked several times about the history of the dilapidated log cabin on hwy 395 in Washoe City. This is the one on the north side of the highway in the old Cattlemen’s Restaurant parking lot. Word of mouth was that it was built as a movie set in the old days and is not an authentic original home.
I did some light research in the old papers and only found one circuitous reference so far but it backs up the story. In November 1959 a letter to the editor was published in the form of a eulogy to a Joe Farnsworth. Joe was apparently a long time resident and ex Virginia City cop and had quite a knowledge of the local surroundings and goings-on. The letter writer related the story of the cabin as he heard it from Joe. “Son, that cabin was put up by a movie company in the war years. Why they even installed electric lights so they could take night pictures. I watched them several times and they even invited me to be an extra with good pay, because I looked more western than any of those who were taking a part in the picture. Anyhow, I refused because I was never cut out to be an actor.”
I also searched for movies and Washoe Valley but as yet have come up empty. I did come across an article about a major motion picture shot in Carson City during the “war years”, however. The theme was contemporary though, and reportedly closed down Carson Street for several days. I’ll probably do an article on that and try to locate the picture later.
Speaking of movies, I had the pleasure of seeing “Virginia City” starring Randolph Scott, shot in 1940, recently and thoroughly enjoyed it as it is about as close as Hollywood can come to portraying the real history. Included are Stagecoach robberies and the building of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Plus he had the most beautiful horse in movies, I think. This movie is out on DVD.

One Comment

  1. J. Elliott says:

    Would love to find that movie! Who owns the cabin now? It is about to fall down. Let me know because I would love to buy the chimney rocks …if they would hold together…to use as a faux chimney on a cabin Im building….that is if theres no plan to restore it.

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