Superintendent supported schools in crisis

Carol Lark called me Friday morning to let me know that Minden Elementary School was never far from her thoughts on the Monday following the death of Britt Mattinson.

"I was at the district office when it happened," she said. "I got a call from Marty Swisher and immediately made sure the grief counselors would be at both our schools on Monday."

Carol pointed out that Minden Elementary was not the only school affected by Britt's death. His father teaches at Douglas High School, which is where she was on Monday.

"I purposely went to Minden Elementary on Tuesday when all the grief counselors were gone," she said. "I always wait until the next day when they need that extra support. My assistant made bread and we brought food to the school. I read all of the chalk and I walked the playground with the principal."

Carol did bus duty on Thursday so Minden teachers could go to Britt's memorial service.

"I want the public to know that I was there," she said. "It saddens me to know that anyone would think this."

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I spent Saturday night as Genoa Courier Editor George M. Smith interviewing the unfortunate Adam Uber who was destined for the hangman's noose. I'd heard the story of the hanging before, but piqued by my participation, I decided to read Phillip I. Earl's account, which was reprinted from the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

One important point is that the "Curse of the Hanging Tree" has only a slight resemblance to the facts of the case and that's a good thing. There were quite a few children watching on Saturday night and anything close to reality would have given me nightmares and permanently scared the more impressionable.

Smith editorialized against the lynchings and it was that behavior which may have led to the founding of the Gardnerville Record, which was apparently the pro-lynching publication. Until I read Earl's account, I didn't realize there were Hilderbrandts in the lynch mob. Hopefully, the curse can spell.

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I interviewed Spec Rahbeck in 2005 when his sister Lourinda Wines died. Spec was born in Gardnerville's first building, the Gardnerville Hotel, located in what is now a vacant lot next door to the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room. Lawrence Gilman moved the hotel from Genoa when he started the town. The Rahbecks purchased it in the teens and it is where Spec was born in 1922. It was Spec's mother Teena who fled from the building with him when it caught fire not long after his birth.

The building that is now the J.T. was moved to Gardnerville from Virginia City and afterwards Gardnerville's first building was referred to as the annex.

-- Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at or 782-5121, ext. 215.


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