Mormon Station park staff offering programs |

Mormon Station park staff offering programs

Staff Reports
Mormon Station State Historic Park Ranger Chris Johnson talks to visitors about the town in a May tour.
Kurt Hildebrand

For the first decade of its existence, Genoa was the commercial hub of early Nevada.

“And through most of the 1850s this was considered the most prominent settlement between the Sierra Nevada and Salt Lake,” Mormon Station State Historic Park Ranger Chris Johnson said during a May tour of the town.

Denizens of Salt Lake City were the first to colonize the spot nestled at the base of the Carson Range in Carson Valley.

“In the spring of 1851, John Reese puts together a party of 17 people and they load 12-13 wagons with goods, come out here and select this site, about a mile south of the original,” he said. “This is considered the first permanent, nonnative settlement in what is now known as Nevada.”

Today’s Mormon Station is a replica of the original structure, which housed a store, kitchen and a dining area. An enclosed area was designed to hold cattle and horses for sale.

While Reese and half of his party were Mormons, they really came out here on a business venture.

“In November 1851, when they decide they are going to stick it out, the 30-40 citizens living here at one of the first public meetings petition Washington to become their own territory.”

Mormon Station is a state park where several different interpretive programs are offered.

During the month of August, park staff hosts history talks, cooking classes, guided walks, and children’s arts and crafts activities.

The original trading post burned in the fire of 1910. The park’s main structure was built in 1947 and it became a state park in 1957.

Entrance into the park is free, but the museum costs $1.

■ Park History Walk

A park ranger offers a “behind the scenes” guided tour of the grounds of Mormon Station State Historic Park, where visitors can learn the history of 4-acre parcel of land. Participants will also tour park structures that are normally closed to the public.

Tours are 11:30 a.m.-noon Thursdays and Fridays as well as Aug. 11.

■ A history talk on braving the California Trail through Nevada is 11:30 a.m. today.

For many emigrants who braved the California Trail in the mid-1800s, the segment through Nevada was the most hated and feared portion of the entire journey. A park interpreter will discuss what made travel through the Great Basin of Nevada so arduous for wagon trains, and will explore topics such as the forty-mile desert, the Humboldt River and the legend of the Buenaventura River.

■ Children age 7-12 are invited to join park rangers for a program that will consist of educational activities and short walks 1:30 p.m. today and Sunday.

At the end of the program, participants will receive their own Nevada State Parks junior ranger badge.

■ A history talk entitled “If these Items Could Talk…” is 11:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

Many of the artifacts in Mormon Station’s collection were very important items to people living in the Carson Valley area 100-plus years ago. New inventions have made some of these items obsolete, while others are simply no longer a part of day-to-day life for many people. As a result, sometimes the purpose behind artifacts isn’t obvious to us. Join park staff for a talk that will highlight select artifacts and discuss their purpose.

■ A history talk on The Early Years of Mormon Station is 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 10.

Join a park ranger for a talk on the early settlement and development of Mormon Station, and what life was like for the early settlers that called this place home. This talk will focus on the 1850s, and discuss how Mormon Station grew from a remote trading station to a bustling community over the span of a few years.

■ A history talk on The Pony Express in Nevada 2 p.m. Aug. 11 will discuss the difficulties of the route riders took, the numerous Pony Express stations located throughout the Silver State, famous rides across the state, and ruins that can still be seen today.

■ History talk on how the Civilian Conservation Corps played an instrumental role in the creation of Nevada’s State Park system as a whole in the 1930s is 11:30 a.m. Aug. 24.

This ranger-led talk will cover the impressive array of projects completed by the CCC crews that were tasked with creating destinations for outdoor recreation in beautiful, yet fairly remote corners of the Silver State. We will also discuss projects completed by the CCC in the Carson Valley area, and attempts to have the CCC reconstruct Mormon Station.

■ Leather tooling for children’s is anytime between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 24. The program will introduce the basics of leather crafting. Park staff will provide all necessary supplies, and participants will be given the opportunity to stamp various designs of their choosing on a leather keychain, which will be theirs to keep at the end of the program. While this program is designed for children ages 7-12, all are welcome to participate.

■ A campfire program will be holding a “Stories under the Stars” campfire program on Aug. 24.

Park staff will read stories from the oral history of early Carson Valley residents. Park staff will also be providing s’mores for participants. Pre-registration is required for this program, and is limited to no more than 15 participants. Call the park office at 775-782-2590.

■ A guided walk of the Genoa National Historic District is 11 a.m. Aug. 31.

The district encompasses more than 25 structures and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Join a park interpreter for a guided walk throughout a portion of the historic district.

During the approximately one-mile roundtrip walk, an interpreter will discuss the significance of the structures located along the route.

Pre-registration is required for these programs, and each walk is limited to no more than 30 participants. Those interested in participating in a guided walk must pre-register by emailing Chris Johnson at or calling the park office at 775-782-2590. Each program will be limited to the first 30 registered people only.

■ Children age 6-12 are invited to make a model of a covered wagon 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

During this activity, children will be led through the process of making their own model covered wagon using arts and crafts materials. An interpreter will discuss what life was like for pioneers. All necessary supplies will be provided by the park.

Mormon Station State Historic Park is located in Genoa, located at Jacks Valley Road and Genoa Lane in Carson Valley.

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