JSCNHM home • Spring 2012 • vol. 4 no. 2

Douglas County, Nevada

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Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center

1477 U.S. Highway 395 N, Suite B
Gardnerville, NV 89410
Phone: (775) 782-2555
Email: dchs@historicnevada.org
Website: http://www.historicnevada.org/html/carson_valley_museum.html

The Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center is located in the former Douglas County High School building, designed by famed architect Frederic J. DeLongchamps.

In 1988, the school board leased the building to the Carson Valley Historical Society. The society renovated the structure to become a museum of Douglas County history and a cultural center to benefit and be enjoyed by visitors and residents of Douglas County and the surrounding area.

Grants were received from Douglas County and the State of Nevada as well as private donations. An immense outpouring of volunteer help from individuals, businesses, and organizations brought about the successful restoration of the building and the grand opening of the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center on August 19, 1995.

The Natural History exhibit features animals hunted from 1950-1970. The exhibit was donated to the museum in the interest of education. The Basque exhibit, located on the main floor, depicts the lonely life of a Basque sheepherder tending his sheep in the Pine Nut Mountains. The Basque tree carving tells the sheepherder’s story. Native American artifacts and artwork from the Washo people are also on the main floor. The Country Doctor exhibit looks at the early years of Carson Valley’s medical profession. Dr. Eliza Cook (1856-1947) was the second female physician in Nevada and practiced in the Carson Valley.

Courthouse Museum Genoa

2304 Main Street
Genoa, NV 89411
Phone: (775) 782-4325
Email: dchs@historicnevada.org
Website: http://www.historicnevada.org/html/courthouse_museum_genoa.html

The Courthouse Museum Genoa is located in the heart of Genoa, Nevada’s first permanent town, settled by John Reese in 1851. Rufus Adams and Lawrence Gilman constructed the courthouse in 1865 when Genoa was the county seat of Douglas County. In 1916, the county seat was moved to Minden, a thriving new town in the center of the valley. The Courthouse was used as a school from 1916 until 1956. In 1969, it was opened as a museum by the Carson Valley Historical Society.

This museum offers fascinating displays depicting early life in the Carson Valley. The Courtroom exhibit was restored using much of the original oak furniture from the Genoa and Minden courthouse. Life for children during the 1800s is shown in the Antique Nursery exhibit complete with the beautifully carved German-made child’s bed.  Dat-So-La-Lee baskets are regarded by experts as among the finest examples of Native American basket weaving in the world. The Washo woman used only saplings, willow, and plant roots in her baskets, never reeds or pine needles. Many beautiful Washo baskets are on display at both Douglas County Museums.

The Snowshoe Thompson exhibit commemorates John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson (1827-1876). Thompson earned his nickname by skiing over the Sierra Nevada to carry mail to Placerville, California, and back to Genoa, Nevada. There are many other exhibits at the museum—the Blacksmith Shop, the Victorian Parlor, and the Country Kitchen.

Mormon Station State Historic Park

P.O. Box 302
Genoa, NV 89411
Phone: (775) 782-2590
Email: mormonstation@parks.nv.gov
Website: http://parks.nv.gov/ms.htm

Mormon Station State Historic Park, located along the California Emigrant Trail in Genoa, is the site of Nevada's first permanent non-Indian settlement, established in 1851. A small log cabin museum, built in 1947, houses artifacts and displays of information from Nevada's early days. The site was once a trading post providing supplies to weary emigrants heading to California in search of gold.

Today, the park includes a museum, a stockade area with several wagons, meandering pathways, individual picnic sites, and a group use pavilion. The park offers clean restroom facilities, eight individual picnic sites with barbecues, as well as a group use area (available for a fee by reservation only).

There is also a memorial statue of Snowshoe Thompson, the famous Norwegian adventurer who delivered mail across the Sierra from Genoa, Nevada to Placerville, California for no pay. He used his snowshoes to trek across the snowy mountains.




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