Bustling in Carson Valley | RecordCourier.com

Bustling in Carson Valley

by Jo Rafferty

These days when you call the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, you never know what will be going on. This week, Douglas County Historical Society members and volunteers were “up to their ears in melodrama.”

“Return to Whistlestop,” written by historical society member John Smith and directed by his wife Sue Smith, was so popular that the museum decided to hold an open-to-the-public dress rehearsal Thursday evening in addition to the three performances on Friday, Saturday and today. Unfortunately, there are no tickets left for today’s 1 p.m. show.

“It really has been wonderful,” said Sue Smith in a phone conversation on Saturday morning. “We had 25 come to the dress rehearsal and at all three other performances we were at 80 – at capacity.”

Museum volunteer and historical society member Kat Roy agreed that the turnout has been “absolutely wonderful.

“I wish we could increase our capacity,” she said. “We’ve had people asking for tickets for next year already.”

Roy said, “A lot of people showed up Thursday,” even though the special performance was a last minute decision and was not advertised until a day before, on Wednesday.

Students admitted free on Saturday

In January, the historical society began offering a Student Day on the first Saturday of each month. On this day, students are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. The adult, who is required, is admitted free as well. After a successful first Student Day on Jan. 6, museum volunteers are looking forward to donning their period outfits to lead the tours for the next Student Day this coming Saturday, Feb. 3. Tours are at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Museum lecture series is Feb. 8

Also in January, a series of monthly historical lectures pertinent to Carson Valley began, and will continue on the second Thursday each month through May. Lectures are free and open to the public. The series of free lectures has been organized by local author, Robert Ellison, who is the featured speaker on Feb. 8.

Ellison is the author of “First Impressions” and “The Territorial Lawmen of Nevada.” He will be talking about “Who shot Carson Valley’s first lawman.”

Ellison is a longtime resident with bachelor degrees in philosophy and psychology, a masters degree in curriculum and instruction and doctoral work in philosophy. He was a longtime employee of Don Bently. His background also includes work as a fifth-grade teacher, a college philosophy instructor, a Douglas County lawman and a private business owner. For over two decades he instructed at the Nevada Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy and for some years at the Highway Patrol Academy. He is the author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles and his book “First Impressions” is thought to be the only history of the emigrant trail through Carson Valley. “Territorial Lawmen of Nevada” is the first volume in a series that will create the baseline for the history of law enforcement in Nevada. It could be the most detailed look at the history of Nevada’s territorial period published to date.

Ellison’s wife is Marion Ellison, a writer who authored her own book on Nevada history. She also has numerous other publications to her credit. The Ellisons have five children, 24 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The lecture shoudl be another enjoyable evening for lawmen and history buffs, according to Marion Ellison.

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 8, downstairs in the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center on Highway 395 in Gardnerville. For information call the museum at 782-2555.