August 8, 2016 – Nevada’s State Capitol (Carson City) – Lake Tahoe

On March 2, 1861, the Nevada Territory separated from the Utah Territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snow-covered mountain range").  Eight days before the presidential election of 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the union.

Statehood was rushed to the date of October 31, just three years after becoming a territory,

Nevada's 1864 State ConstitutionAs a final requirement for statehood was for Congress to review the proposed state’s constitution, the entire document was sent to Washington by telegraph … the longest single telegraph in history

to help ensure Abraham Lincoln’s 's reelection on November 8 and post-Civil War Republican dominance in Congress, as Nevada's mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union.   As it turned out, however, Lincoln and the Republicans won the election handily, and did not need Nevada's help.

Prior to the construction of the state’s first capitol, the government met in the Great Basic Hotel across the street from the present day capitol.

For many years after its 1870 construction,

Nevada First State Capitol (1870), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada’s capitol building stood a lonely vigil in the center of Carson City.  Grounds for the capitol complex had been set aside by town father Abe Curry,

Nevada State Capitol Grounds (Abraham Van Santvoord Curry Statue), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Abraham Van Santvoord Curry (1815-1873), considered the “father of Carson City”, was a  native of the state of New York, he traveled to the West Coast during the California Gold Rush and settled in Nevada's Eagle Valley, where Carson City is located.  Curry opened a sandstone quarry and, with material from the quarry, built a two-story hotel on the site. He also built the Great Basin Hotel on one of his town lots, and, in a burst of calculated enthusiasm, donated ten acres in the center of town as the site of an anticipated state capitol building. 

but Nevada started out small, and the need for big government had not developed.

Nevada First State Capitol (1875), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08Capitol in 1875

Nevada State Capitol (a1), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

It is a two-story masonry Classical Revival structure that incorporates Renaissance Revival and Italianate elements into its composition. It is a building of monumental character and harmonious proportions. To keep costs low, the sandstone was obtained free of charge from the Nevada State Prison quarry, just outside of Carson.

Nevada State Capitol (Exterior), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Legend depicts the capitol’s dome cupola as being made of silver.

Nevada State Capitol (Dome - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

In actuality, it was first constructed of tin and then, after a retrofit, of silver-colored fiberglass!

The original footprint of the capitol was cruciform, a central rectangle with two wings. The first floor contained a major office at each corner connect by central halls, while the wings of the second floor were filled by the two legislative chambers–the Assembly and the Senate. The octagonal dome topped with a cupola admitted light to the second story.

In 1906, an octagonal Annex was added to the rear (east) of the capitol to house the State Library.

Nevada State Capitol Annex (Copula), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

For more than 50 years, all three branches of the state government were housed in the Capitol. The Nevada Supreme Court met here until 1937, when it moved into an adjacent building

Supreme Court

Nevada State Supreme Court Building, Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Supreme Court Building (Court Doors), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08\ Nevada State Supreme Court Building (Court Chambers), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08and the state legislature met here until 1971, when it moved to its new Legislative Building just south of the Capitol.

Legislative Building

Nevada State Legislative Building (Assembly Wing), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (House Chamber - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08\ Nevada State Legislative Building (Senate Wing), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08\ Nevada State Capitol (Senate Chamber - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Every Nevada governor except the first has had his office in the capitol. Today, the Capitol continues to serve the Governor, and contains historical exhibits on the second floor.

 In the small lobby, there is a bronze statue of Sarah Winnemucca.

Nevada State Capitol (Winnemucca Statue - a), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08Sarah Winnemucca was born about 1844 in western Nevada.  A Paiute from Nevada and the daughter of Chief Winnemucca, she gave a series of lectures in San Francisco and Sacramento on the treatment of Indians by the Indian Service. Five years later her autobiography, “Life Among the Paiutes” Their Wrongs and Claims, was published. Winnemucca then traveled throughout the country giving lectures on the conditions in Indian country, often charging the government with mismanagement of Indian affairs. Sara Winnemucca became the most recognized Indian woman of the late nineteenth century.

Also located in just off the center of the lobby is the “Nevada Book of Fallen Heroes”

Nevada State Capitol (Nevada's Book of FallenHeros - a1), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Nevada's Book of FallenHeros - Plaque), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Nevada's Book of FallenHeros - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

A decorative border lines the first floor hallways, depicting the minerals mined in the state.

Nevada State Capitol (Wallpaper Trim - a), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08while headed up to the  second floor

Nevada State Capitol (Stairs - a), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Stairs - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08Debbie noticed one mineral in particular

Nevada State Capitol (Wallpaper Trim - Cobalt), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

As she recalled her recently replaced right knee was made of cobalt.

Governor’s Outer Office

Nevada State Capitol (Governor's Office - Entrance), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Governor's Office - Bust of Abraham  Lincoln), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Bust of Abraham Lincoln, President when Nevada Admitted to the Union

Nevada State Capitol (Governor's Office - Mark Twain ''Roughing It'' Statue), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08Mark Twain “Roughing’ It!”

Lieutenant Governor’s Office


Nevada State Capitol (Lieutenant Governor's Office), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08 

The original Assembly Chamber is presently undergoing a renovation

Nevada State Capitol (House Chamber - Original - a), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (House Chamber - Original - b), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08while the first Supreme Court Chamber does not all that different from the time

Nevada State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers - Original), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers - Original Attorneys' Table), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada State Capitol (Supreme Court Chambers - Original Chair), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08the original Senate Chamber, while the original Senate president’s dias

Nevada State Capitol (Senate Chamber - Original - President's Platform), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08and one of the original desks and chairs were on display,

Nevada State Capitol (Legislature Desk and Chair - Original), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08the chamber is now used a museum of Nevada history.

Civil War Battle Flag of a Nevada Regiment

Nevada State Capitol (Nevada Union Civil War Flag), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Former, late 19th century State Seantor's Pigeon-hole Desk

Nevada State Capitol (Old Pigeonhole Desk), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Nevada mined minerals

Nevada Minerals a

Nevada Minerals b

36-star US Flag

36-star U.S. Flag Nevada State Capitol, Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

State Seal

Nevada State Capitol (State Seal - in the Museum), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

As in other state capitols, the Treasurer’s office retained its original safe; primarily used to store mining claims.

Nevada State Capitol (State Treasurer's Office Safe), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08as well as a painting of historic Virginia City

Nevada State Capitol (State Treasurer's Office - Painting of Virginia City), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

On the grounds are several monuments.

USS Nevada (BB-36)

Nevada State Capitol (USS Nevada BB-36 Pearl Harbor Memorial), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08Granted a degree of maneuverability due to its location that its compatriots on Battleship Row lacked, Nevada was the only American battleship to get underway as Japanese struck. Working its way down the harbor, the ship’s anti-aircraft gunners fought valiantly but the ship quickly sustained a torpedo hit followed by two or three bomb strikes. Pushing forward, it was hit again as it neared the channel to open water. Fearing that Nevada might sink and block the channel, its crew beached the battleship on Hospital Point. With the end of the attack, the ship had suffered 50 killed and 109 wounded. In the weeks after, salvage crews commenced repairs on Nevada and on February 12, 1942, the battleship was refloated.

Armed Forces Memorial Wall

Nevada State Capitol Grounds (Armed Forces  Memorial Wall - a), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial

Nevada State Capitol Grounds (Law Enforcement Officers), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Monument to Nevada Children who were Murdered

Nevada State Capitol Grounds (Murdered Childrens' Memorial), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08

Kit Carson

Nevada State Capitol Grounds (Kit Carson Monument), Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08After whom the city is named

Throughout the city are reminders of Carson City’s location on the Pony Express trail

Pony Express Station Marker, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

Pony Express Centennial Marker, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

and, from a later era, the Lincoln Highway (marker).

Lincoln Highway Marker, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08It was one of the earliest transcontinental highways for automobiles across the United States of America.  The Lincoln Highway ran coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City west to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, originally through 13 states (3,389 miles). After some later rerouting it currently passes through 14 states, 128 counties, and more than 700 cities, towns and villages and now totals 5,872 miles.  The Lincoln Highway was gradually replaced with numbered designations after the establishment of the US Numbered Highway System in 1926 (US-1 from New York to Philadelphia; US-30 from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City and US-50 from Salt Lake City to San Francisco).  Today, Interstate 80 serves as the primary highway from the New York City area to San Francisco.


We then took a walking tour of the older part of the city where eclectic architecture prevails and many large and historic homes are located.

Governor’s Mansion

Governor's Mansion (a) - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008The Neo-Classical mansion was completed in 1909 at a cost of $22,700 and is the only building ever built fr Nevada’s highest elected official.  Unfortunately, it is not open for public tours.

Governor's Mansion (b) - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008

Rinckel Mansion

Rinckel Mansion - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008Complete in 1876, this palatial residence was built for Mathias, a miner-turned-butcher, is an excellent example of High Victorian and Italian architecture.  No expense was spared in building it, and the craftsmanship can be seen inside and out. The doors are handmade, and the windows are morticed and pegged so they need few nails. No expense was spared on the furnishings either. Most of the furniture was brought from Europe.  The sandstone for the ashlar foundation originated from the Nevada State Prison quarry.

Orion House

Orion Clemens House, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08Orion Clemens, secretary to territorial Governor James Nye, lived in this house with his wife, Mollie from 1864 to 1866.  Samuel, his brother, a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, stayed at the house periodically until leaving the territory in 1866.  Samuel later became famous under his pen name, Mark Twain!

St. Charles-Muller's Hotel

St. Charles-Muller's HotelThe St. Charles-Muller's Hotel is one of the oldest remaining commercial buildings in Carson City, and the second oldest hotel in the state. The northern portion of the building, the St. Charles Hotel, was started on April Fool's Day 1862.

Bender House

Bender House, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08The Bender House was named for its 1874 owner, an agent for the V&T railroad.  However, it is historically better associated with Louis Prang (1824-1909).

Lousi PrangLouis Prang was an American printer, lithographer and publisher..  He is sometimes known as the "father of the American Christmas card".  Believe it or not, the celebration of Christmas was once banned in Boston. It seems the Puritans considered it an invention of the devil. Although the law banning Christmas was repealed in 1681, it was not proclaimed a legal holiday here until 1856.  This was the same year that Louis Prang, a German immigrant from Breslau Germany, came to America.  Although he is acknowledged as the creator of the Christmas card,

Christmas Cards a

Christmas Cards .bjpg such cards were prepared for sale probably as early as the 1840's, it was not until about 1862 that the custom of sending them to friends and relatives became common. He promoted the greeting card movement in America in 1856 and produced cards at his lithograph shop in Boston every year after that date. He can thus be blamed for the fact that each Christmas we have the tedious job of writing hundreds of Christmas greetings to our relatives and friends.

Bliss Mansion

Bliss Mansion - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008Built by a lumber magnate, the mansion was constructed of clear sugar pine and cedar from his limber mill.  It is acknowledged as Nevada’s largest and most exquisite historical home, with 15 rooms, 9 marble fireplaces. Bliss Mansion now operates as an AAA 4-Diamond rated B&B.

First Presbyterian Church of Carson City

First Presbyterian Church - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008The roots of this church reach deep into Nevada’s sagebrush coil and are older than the state itself.  Portions of the edifice date to early 1864 making it the oldest church building still in service in Nevada.  It was financially supported by both Orion and Samuel Clemens.

Paul Laxalt Building

Federal Building, Carson Cty, NV - 2016-08-80

Named for former Governor and US Senator Paul Laxalt, it is a former United States Post Office and Courthouse in Carson City.

Home Where “The Shootist” was filmed in 1976

House where ''The Shootist'' was Filmed in 1976 - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008Starring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Boone and Hugh O’Brien, it was a tale about John Books an aging gunfighter goes to see a doctor he knows for a second opinion after another doctor told him he has a cancer which is terminal. The doctor confirms what the other said. He says Books has a month maybe two left. He takes a room in the boarding house and the son of the woman who runs it recognizes him and tells his mother who he is. She doesn't like his kind but when he tells her of his condition, she empathizes. Her son wants him to teach him how to use a gun. Books tries to tell him that killing is not something he wants to live with. Books, not wanting to go through the agony of dying from cancer, tries to find a quicker way to go.

Methodist Church of Carson City

Methodist Church of Carson City - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008Dedicated in 1867, this church serves a congregation organized in1859 and is referred to as the “Cradle of Nevada Methodism”.  Like many other Carson City building, the stone used was quarried at the nearby state prison.  Altered extensively over the years, the structure with its octagonal porch posts and pointed-arch windows is still an excellent example of Gothic Revival

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

St. Peter's Episcopal Church - Carson City, NV - 2016-08-008Constructed in 1867-68, it was expanded an in 1874, a public rental for 51 of the 56 pews installed in the enlarged chancel was held.  The remaining pews were reserved for Nevada’s Orphan Home children

John E. Jones House

John E. Jones House (1865), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

John E. Jones House (Gate), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

John E. Jones House (Raised Gazebo), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08Not famous … but certainly eclectic!

Nevada State Museum (former Nevada US Mint)

Nevada State Museum (Former US Mint), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08This is just one of the many fascinating tales associated with the United States Mint at Carson City, Nevada. Though it coined gold and silver only from 1870 to 1893, it has left American numismatics with a rich legacy. Most of its coins are scarce to rare, some of them being tremendous rarities. Others, such as the silver dollars of 1882-84, have survived in vast numbers for reasons that have nothing to do with their original mintage figures. All of these coins, whatever their rarity or market value, carry romantic associations with the Old West and the great bonanza years of the late 19th Century.  From its opening in 1870 to its closing of coin operations in 1893, coinage minted here amounted to $49,274,434.30.  Regretfully, the Museum was closed on Mondays.


While on our walk around, we spotted an American Flag on a nearby hill,

American Flag on Hillside outside Carson City, NV - 2106-08-08a Cowboy Parking lot

Cowboy Parking Only SIgn, Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08and two fawns grazing on an in-town lawn.

Fawn (b), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

Fawn (a), Carson City, NV - 2016-08-08

After lunch, we drove back through the mountains, over

Spooner Summit (7,146'), US-50, Between Carson CIty and Lake Tahoe - 2016-08-08to see Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 7 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 6 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 5 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 3 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 4 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 2 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Lake Tahoe 1 - from Logans Shoal Vista - 2016-08-08

Some quick facts about this beautiful lake:

  • 22 miles long and 12 miles wide.
  • Surface area of 191 square miles.
  • So clear that in some places objects can be seen as much as 67 feet below the surface.
  • Contains 39,000,000,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
  • Second deepest (1,645 feet) lake in the United States, after Crater Lake, and tenth deepest in the world







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