On Monday, a copy of “The Newspapers of Nevada: 1854-1979” arrived at The Record-Courier, making a proper start to National Newspaper Week.
Written by Richard Lingenfelter and Karen Rix Gash, the compendium of newspapers rising and falling along with the mining camps and railroad towns dotting Nevada is a trek through the pre-digital history of mass communication in the Silver State.
While Genoa is considered Nevada’s oldest settlement (Come at us Dayton!) it is home to only the second publication.
Aptly named The Scorpion, it was a handwritten monthly published by pioneer Stephen A. Kinsey in 1857.
The first printed paper in the Silver State, and easily its most famous, published its first edition on Dec. 18, 1858, in Genoa, after Snowshoe Thompson carried new type over the Sierra on his back.
The Territorial Enterprise was printed in Singleton’s Hall a room in the Nevada Hotel on Mill Street. One of the publishers, William Jernegan, was fleeing creditors and was, interestingly, looking for a spot to lay low.
The Enterprise came out on Saturday morning and cost a quarter.
According to the book, Jernegan said that the hall was also used for gatherings, church services and at one point a n’er-do-well was chained to the press awaiting more secure accomodations.
The Enterprise didn’t quite make it the whole year in Genoa, before moving to Carson City and finally Virginia City and immortality.
In 1865, two more publishers tried their hand at newspaperin’ but were unable to make it to 1866.
It was Feb. 20, 1875, when A.C. Pratt founded the Carson Valley News, the grandpappy of the publication you’re holding.
There were lots of twists and turns that led to the Genoa Weekly Courier, then the Courier which did battle with the Gardnerville Record until the two publications merged in 1904, creating one of the oldest nameplates in Nevada.
There has been a lot ink on paper and pixels on screens about the death of newspapers, but we’re not quite ready to lie down.
When we are, we wager you’ll hear it from us, first.