The jewel of Genoa

A one-room schoolhouse is in session and in the back room, there's an exceptional Washoe exhibit, complete with an original basket collection.

Set among towering old locusts in one of Douglas County's most picturesque towns, the Genoa Court House Museum is a gracious step back in time that draws tourists from throughout the United States.

Volunteer Mary Ann Beckwith said business is pretty steady.

"It's a popular place," she said. "We get a lot of out-of-town visitors. A lot of people come, and then return with their families."

Beckwith said she's never been a museum person, but the court house is a big tourist draw because visitors often want to learn about the area. Museums are good spots to buy gifts at low prices.

"This is a great place to do that," she said. "My aunt used to do it all the time."

Located across the main street from Mormon Station State Historic Park, the museum houses an array of exhibits displaying everything from a jail and blacksmith shop to the old court clerk's office. One exhibit examines the life of Snowshoe Thompson, the Norwegian immigrant who delivered mail between Genoa and Placerville, Calif.

Two to four times a month for 20 winters, Snowshoe Thompson carried the mail from Placerville to Mormon Station using only a pair of skis. The outgoing trip took three days and the return, another two days. The U.S. government never paid Thompson for his work. n


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