Snowshoe Thompson’s legacy lives on

Steve Hale entertains the crowd as he portrays Snowshoe Thompson.

Steve Hale entertains the crowd as he portrays Snowshoe Thompson.
Photo by Haley Estabrook.

Genoans celebrated 21 years since the dedication of John A “Snowshoe” Thompson’s statue on Saturday.

“We needed a day to get together and honor Snowshoe and for people to get together and say, ‘Hey Snowshoe,’” said Friend of Snowshoe Thompson and organizer Sue Knight.

The “Mailman of the Sierra” holds a rich history in Genoa. After many failed attempts to deliver mail across the Sierra, Thompson, saved the day. For 20 winters from 1856-1876, Thompson skied five days across the Sierra, carrying the mail 90 miles on his back from Placerville to Genoa.

“I love this kind of story where one thing builds on another and becomes a part of the fabric of our history,” said Todd Budy. “We are celebrating a guy who had no idea what his legacy would be. He just did his job.”

The statue in Mormon Station State Historic Park was dedicated on June 23, 2001, coming from Wyoming to Genoa. Don Budy sculpted the piece and said that he was grateful to have been chosen.

“I was overwhelmed, thrilled, and excited,” said Don Budy.

Around $53,000 was donated to create and maintain the statue, with many donors’ names on bricks surrounding the base.

A celebration of life was held for Nina Eggen Macleod who helped with the establishment of the Snowshoe Thompson statue.

She brought around 30 Norwegians to Genoa when the statue was unveiled. She also hosted annual events to keep the memory of Snowshoe Thompson alive.

Frank Tortorich who wrote “John A. ‘Snowshoe’ Thompson Pioneer Mail Carrier of the Sierra” said that Macleod was the inspiration for his book as she would always tell him “You oughta write a book about Snowshoe Thompson.”

After celebrating Macleod, the crowd got a visit from Thompson, as portrayed by Steve Hale.

He told the crowd about his adventures and answered questions.

Lunch was served as music was performed by the Sierra Silverstrings, who interacted with visitors and talked about Thompsons legacy.

Guests were encouraged to visit the Snowshoe Thompson and Daughters of Norway Exhibits in the Mormon Station State Park and the Genoa Courthouse Museum.

For more information about Snowshoe Thompson or the event visit


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