Jewel in Genoa: Historic courthouse open for season

The Genoa Court House Museum opened its doors for the season on Saturday with a few more guests than usual as the Douglas County Historical Society's Historic Barn Tour concluded with a barbecue at noon, across the street from the museum at the Mormon Station State Historic Park.

Mike Maloney and Krista Jenkins of All Hat & No Cattle performed in front of the museum on opening day.

Friday, inside the museum, Lois Thran and Dee Hart were busy getting ready for their second year of working as a team at the museum's gift shop.

"Lois is the buyer," said Hart, who is volunteer director for the historical society for the third year.

"Dee does all the paperwork," said Thran, who used to be on the exhibit committee for the society. "We balance well. It's been fun."

The two have expanded the gift shop this year, and another change is the addition of a Pony Express room. The museum, 2304 Main St., Genoa, will be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day of the week through the second week in October.

The museum has added many new items in the gift shop, with gifts for both adults and children and in wide price ranges. Thran and Hart were proud that they could say most of the items are made in Nevada.

"We're really excited to get those," said Hart of pine needle baskets for sale, made by a Washoe artist, Da-Bo-O.

Some of the made in Nevada items for sale are: Indian dolls and teepees made by Terri Dickerson of Minden; handmade shea butter soap by Cynthia Aiazzi, owner of Sagebrush Soap Factory in Gardnerville; pottery by Tahoe artist Francis Rider, an instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College; wooden art from Art from Nature, made by artist William D. Broderson of Gardnerville; and bird feeders from Paradise Bird Feed of Gardnerville. Food items from Virginia City's Country Cupboard have also been added, along with rock candy from Red's in Virginia City, Q's barbecue sauce, Carson Valley Honey and Killer Salsa.

"These are all products made in Nevada," said Hart.

Books written by Nevada authors are available for purchase, including "Fearful Crossing," written by Harold Curran, who was principal at Minden Grammar School in the late 1930s and resides today in Reno. "Fearful Crossing" is part of an exhibit about the Central Overland Trail through Nevada.

Items from outside the state are birch bark baskets from Minnesota, whimsical bird houses from Phoenix, Ariz., and a large selection of Native American jewelry.

For the kids are kaleidoscopes, arrowheads and Pony Express pins, stamps, postcards, shirts and hats. These are handy for school tours, according to Hart.

The Pony Express exhibit was put together by museum volunteers, to coincide with the annual Pony Express Re-ride and Snowshoe Thompson education program presented by the Douglas County Historical Society. This year the event will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 20 at the Genoa Court House Museum.

The museum features two original jail cells used from 1865-1916, a county office, a blacksmith shop, Washoe Indian artifacts, a schoolroom, a Snowshoe Thompson exhibit and the old courtroom. The original courthouse burned in the "Terrible Fire of 1910," and the reconstructed building became a school. In 1956 it closed and was turned over to the state which in 1966 deeded the building to the then Carson Valley Historical Society for a museum. After fundraising and restoration, a grand opening was held in 1978. The museum today is run by about 35 volunteers.

Call 782-4325 for information on the Pony Express Re-ride or the museum.

Museum events at both the Genoa Court House Museum and the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, 1477 Highway 395 in Gardnerville:

-- June 17 - Nevada's Living Legends exhibit opens at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center

-- June 20 - Pony Express Re-ride and Snowshoe Thompson education program 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Genoa Court House Museum.

-- June 20-21 - Chautauqua in the Park at Mormon Station State Historic Park in Genoa from 5-8 p.m.

-- Aug. 4 - The Douglas County Historical Society will present the Taste of Gardnerville with food and music.

-- September - The original play, "The Curse of the Hanging Tree," will be presented in Genoa.

-- Oct. 19 - The Haunted Gardnerville Ghost Walk will tour the area.

-- Oct. 20 - The Douglas County Historical Society will host the Mottsville Cemetery Tour from 6:30-8 p.m.

-- Oct. 21 - The Haunted Genoa Ghost Walk will take place from 10:30-11:30 a.m.


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