Genoa gets a head start on its 150th anniversary

GENOA - Genoa is getting a 16-month head start on celebrating the town's 150th anniversary.

Nevada's oldest town launched its sesquicentennial celebration Sunday with a concert featuring the year-old Carson Valley Pops Orchestra. The celebrations will culminate on the anniversary weekend itself in June 2001.

"We're kicking off 16 months of activities with this concert," said Nancy Miluck, who teamed up with Laurie Hickey and George Keele to form the Genoa Sesquicentennial Committee.

The year of celebration is a work in progress. The trio has scheduled events through October so far. The extravaganza set for June 3-4, 2001, is more an idea for now than a set event.

"That's still a little nebulous," Miluck said.

The Carson Valley Pops concert on Sunday was anything but nebulous. The musicians from as far away as Yerington, Reno and Lake Tahoe delighted the audience with a Strauss waltz medley, "Peter and the Wolf," selections from "Porgy and Bess" and "The Sound of Music," and other pieces.

Miluck was pleased to launch the sesquicentennial with this fairly new orchestra.

"I think we ought to support a home institution," she said. "These people should be admired."

Miluck said Genoa was founded June 6, 1851, with the arrival of John Reese, who started building a fort that came to be known as Mormon Station.

Miluck, naturally, sides with Genoa in the enduring debate of which is older: Genoa or Dayton.

"You really can't call an encampment of miners a settlement," Miluck said of Dayton's claim as Nevada's oldest settlement. "Gold was discovered there. I don't take that away from Dayton."

Next on the sesquicentennial calendar is an antique show April 8-9 at the Genoa Town Hall.

Miluck, Hickey and Keele had a practical reason for stretching out the celebration for more than a year.

"We have to raise some money and that takes a long time," Miluck said.

People paid $5 a piece or $15 per family to sit in on the pops concert.

The sesquicentennial committee also started taking orders Sunday for sesquicentennial plates. The 10-inch decorative plate features a drawing of Mormon Station by Bob Ellison.

The 500 numbered plates can be ordered for $40 a piece through the end of May. The price goes up to $45 on June 1 and $50 on Jan. 1.

The concert was a fund-raiser to order the first set of plates and plate sales will fund more plate orders as well as paying the costs of upcoming events.

"Perhaps there will be enough money left over so we can get old fashioned light standards like Carson City has," Miluck said.

Michael and Nancy Miluck have devoted themselves to Genoa's history since moving there in 1969. Nancy has written two books about Genoa, using the money from book sales to put in new floors and wiring at Genoa Town Hall.

"I worked very hard to get a historic district going here," Nancy Miluck said. "I talk to school children about the history of the area. I have great pride in living here, though it was a shock coming from San Francisco."

The Genoa Sesquicentennial Committee already has several events scheduled to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Nevada's oldest town.

-- April 8-9: Antique art show and sale

-- April14: lecture and book signing by author Bob Ellison, who wrote "Early Nevada Lawmen."

-- May 5: Park-Hansen historic trunk show.

-- May 12: lecture and book signing by author Stan Paher, who wrote "Nevada Ghost Towns."

-- May 13: Grandmother, Mother, Daughter Doll Tea.

-- June 4: Fifth annual Genoa House and Garden Tour.

-- July 29-30: Renaissance faire at the Drake House property.

-- Aug. 12: Candidates night.

-- Oct. 28: Sesquicentennial murder mystery dinner.

More events are in the works. Phone: 782-2893, 782-2484.


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