Van Sickle Station an inn once more
March 16, 2016
Before Nevada was a state, Henry Van Sickle was welcoming travelers to Carson Valley to his property located at the base of Kingsbury Grade.
"All who came over the mountains stopped for a brief rest at Van Sickle's place, and as a consequence there are hundreds of men today in all of the Pacific Coast states who knew Van Sickle," The Genoa Weekly Courier reported on his death in 1894.
Van Sickle Station, located at the intersection of Muller and Foothill lanes, will once more serve travelers to Carson Valley.
Owner Gail Teig plans to establish a bed and breakfast at the historic site for retreats, conferences and seminars.
On Tuesday, Douglas County Planning commissioners approved a permit to allow up to 10 guests at the house.
"This is a historic operation," Dominique Etchegoyhen said at the hearing. "It is the first guest house in the 1850s. It is the most historic and picturesque setting in all of Carson Valley."
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It was also the location of one of the most famous and best reported gun battles in Western Nevada history involving Van Sickle and a well-known desperado.
Born in New Jersey in 1822, Van Sickle arrived in the Nevada territory in 1852, not long after the founding of Genoa.
Less than a decade after establishing his hotel, Van Sickle was accosted by the famous Comstock murderer "Long-haired" Sam Brown on July 6, 1861.
According to an account published in the Sacramento Daily Union at the time, there were 25 men in the dining room when Van Sickle ran through followed by Brown who had his pistol cocked and ready.
Van Sickle was able to evade Brown, who left the station on his way to Aurora.
Witnesses told Van Sickle that if he didn't kill Brown, that the bad man would be back to kill him.
Van Sickle followed Brown with three men in tow, according to the Union story, cornering him at Mott's cabin, where there was an exchange of gunfire.
Brown left the cabin on a wounded horse and Van Sickle caught up to him at another house and was able to kill him.
Van Sickle was never tried for the death and would go on to be a Carson Valley leader over the next 20 years.
He was appointed in 1861 to the first board of commissioners by Gov. Nye to organize Douglas County. The board first met Dec. 28, 1862.
He was twice elected to the commission. He served as county treasurer for two terms. He represented Douglas in the Legislature in 1879.
Van Sickle died Nov. 26, 1894, from injuries he sustained in a runaway accident on Nov. 18. He was 72.