A Tour of Nevada History
According to Laurie Hickey, a tour guide and volunteer at the Genoa Courthouse Museum, there is a story that Judge Oreson Hyde put a curse on Genoa in 1860.
Hyde had left for Utah in 1857 on a Mormon expedition and came back in 1860 to claim his land, but the people refused to give it to him. It was said the curse brought the Fire of 1910 and the hanging of Adam Uber, among other mishaps of the town including floods and pestilence.
Many stories like this and Nevada’s history can be found at the Genoa Courthouse Museum and the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.
“Anyone who visits the museum will be pleasantly surprised,” said Hickey.
The Genoa museum has many exhibits including the County Courthouse, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Emigration Trail in addition to their newest exhibit of John “Snowshoe” Thompson, who carried mail 90 miles between Genoa and Placerville, Calif. The exhibit is a year old and is made to look like his cabin with original accessories along with a cradle he built for his son, Arthur.
For volunteer Andrea Firerle, the Courtroom is her favorite historical exhibit.
“Its big and open and when you think about all the stuff that happened in there, it’s just so much history packed into one room,” she said. “It’s fascinating.”
The museum building itself is an historical monument. It was originally a courthouse built in 1861 by Lawrence Gilman. It burned down in 1910 and has been rebuilt by volunteers and the state.
“It’s one of the most historical courthouses in Nevada,” said Hickey, “definitely one of the oldest.”
Douglas County Historical Society President Grace Bower said the most challenging aspects of running two museums are fundraising and finding volunteers.
“It’s challenging,” she said. “If not for our volunteers, this would not be open. They keep us going.”
Colleen Kurczodyna said she enjoys volunteering at the museums.
“I love our museum,” she said. “There’s a little bit of everything here.”
Anyone is welcome to be a volunteer, said Hickey, but she is especially interested in younger people.
“I just wish we had more young volunteers,” she said. “There’s got to be young kids interested in history.”
The Genoa Courthouse Museum is open daily May through Oct. from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Gardnerville is open all year Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call the Genoa Courthouse Museum at 782-4325 or the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center at 782-2555, or visit their Web site at http://www.historicnevada.org