Genoa, Nevada was founded in 1850, the first settlement in the Nevada Territory. It lies in the Carson River Valley and is 42 miles south of Reno. Before the Utah Territory split to create the Nevada Territory, Genoa was part of the Utah Territory. Genoa was first settled by Mormon pioneers to be a trading post called the Mormon Station.
Many of the original pioneers, including Snowshoe Thompson were buried in the Genoa Cemetery. It also served as a respite for travelers on the California Trail. This community was home to Nevada’s first hotel, newspaper, and court. The Genoa Bar is the older thirst bar in Nevada and was patronized by Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt, and Johnny cash and was used in John Wayne and Clint Eastwood films. The film Misery, staring Kathy Bates, was also filmed in Genoa. The settlement nearly doubled in size due to the amount of buildings created for the movie.
Much of Genoa was destroyed in a fire in 1910, including the Mormon Station which was rebuilt soon after. In 1919, the town founded the Candy Dance to raise money for street lamps. Since then, the Candy Dance has been a tradition in the settlement. In 1975 the community was listed as a historical district on the National Register of Historical Places. Genoa is a wonderful place to visit and is rich in the history of Nevada. The influential settlement was a huge part of the California Trail and the quest to tame the Wild West. Walking into Genoa is like taking a step back in time and it is a marvelous experience for young and old alike.
Some of the original houses and structures still stand in the rural town. If you walk through the back streets near the Bar and the Antique Shop you can witness houses from the 1800’s still occupied by a new generation of Genoans. You can find a piece of history in every nook and cranny in the town.
The video below, an interview with a Pony Express reenactor, was made by Diana Regalado.
This photographic documentary about the town of Genoa was a project of Douglas High School, in Minden, Nevada. Students who contributed were: Rachel Babbitt, Phoebe Hamilton, Baxter Harris, Taylor Hubbard, Emilie Labadie, Nina Lehr, Victoria Martin, Dalton Millar, Asher Moody, Anna Pinson, Nicole Rau, Diana Regalado, David Smith, Elspeth Summersgill, and Colton Witt.
The enthusiasm and talent that the students demonstrated with their work on this project flows from the support and encouragement provided to them by their teachers, K.C. Brennan, and Kelly Yost.
During spring semester 2011, Howard Goldbaum worked with Douglas High School students and faculty as a Capital City Arts Initiative [CCAI] Artist In Residence. Goldbaum is an Associate Professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Thanks to the Capital City Arts Initiative (Sharon Rosse Executive Director, Christel Passink Program Associate) for making the classroom sessions and the fieldwork documentary project possible.