What a success! We had about 150 people, Chapter members, non-chapter members, and locals, come to the 15th annual CA/NV Chapter of OCTA Winter/Spring Symposium in Genoa, NV. The Genoa Town Hall was just enough room for us.
The opening speaker was Frank Tortorich, who gave a fast-paced talk on the time-line of events during “Snowshoe” Thompson’s life in the Carson Valley and his famous mail route between Genoa and Placerville, the US Mail, and when California was in Utah.
Next was a panel discussion, “Where was the first Mormon Station in Carson Valley?”
The speakers were: Don Buck, a long time chapter member and coordinator of discussions; well-versed in many areas of trail history; Jeff Kintop, the Nevada State Archives Manager from Carson City; Martin Griffith, an Associated Press reporter for the Reno-Sparks Bureau with a lot of backpacking experience and an excitement and interest of early pioneer history that was contagious!
This lively discussion left us wanting more!
The weather cooperated too. Although it was cool, it did not rain.
The catered lunch was a delicious surprise of sandwiches (turkey, roast beef and ham) and three kinds of salad plus yummy cookies for dessert.
Many took advantage of the lunch hour to tour the Genoa Courthouse Museum opened especially for us by Billy Jean Rightmire, museum curator and local historian.
The Mormon Station was also open for people to have lunch as well as tour through their historical museum.
We had a special treat from the Douglas County Historical Society Youth Chautauquans, who walked through our midst dressed in period clothing and assumed such familiar characters as Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins and Clara Barton.
The afternoon session was a second panel discussion – “Where was the first settlement in Nevada?”
The speakers were: Don Buck and Martin Griffith again, joined by Stanley Paher, a well-known Reno historian who has published several works on Nevada history and Leslie Fryman, CA/NV Chapter’s Preservation Officer; historical archeologist, and a senior consultant for Jones & Stokes Associates of Sacramento. They all gave us a lot to think about.
There was a short general membership meeting afterwards followed by a two-hour break.
Frank Tortorich toured a few folks over to see Snowshoe Thompson’s cave on Highway 88 before joining the other attendees at Walley’s Hot Springs for a Happy Hour with cocktails and fun music by our OCTA musicians. A delicious dinner was followed by Chapter Awards Presentations by Awards Committee Chair, Anne Louise Bennett and her committee. Among the awards presented was the Chapter’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Don Buck. (Look for more details in Trail Talk)
Sunday, there was a special tour of the Markleeville Museum. Dick Edwards, director, Ellen Martin, assistant, and Nancy Thornburg, former director, were all on hand to answer questions and share with us even more history about the area.
The weekend came to an close out in Diamond Valley with a drive-by look at the remains of Snowshoe Thompson’s homestead before starting for home just as the snow began!
Genoa Symposium Co-Chair
April 28, 2005