Community and Society

Silver Bow

Rich silver deposits were located in the southern Kawich Range of Nye County in November 1904. When prominent Nevadans George Wingfield and George Nixon became involved, people flocked to the newly founded town of Silver Bow. By spring 1905, more than 300 people were living there.

Samuel Platt

Samuel Platt, distinguished lawyer and public servant in early twentieth-century Nevada, was born in Carson City in 1874 of Jewish Prussian-Polish parents. He attended the local public schools, winning honors in oratory and art. Platt taught school in Carson City and Gardnerville before matriculating to Stanford University in 1893 for two years. He passed the Nevada bar exam in 1896 and then proceeded to Columbian (later George Washington University) Law School in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor of letters degree.

Ruthe Deskin

A native Nevadan who bridged the old and new in the state's history, Ruthe Deskin was an influential Las Vegas journalist for almost half a century. She was born in Yerington (which she insisted on calling by its original name, Pizen Switch) to Jim Goldsworthy, a mining engineer, and Viola West, of a Mason Valley pioneer family.

Rollin Mallory Daggett

Born in New York in 1832, Rollin Daggett moved to Ohio when he was five and eventually worked there as a printer. At seventeen, Daggett became a '49er following the dream of California gold. Failing to become rich, he joined J. Macdonough Foard in 1852 to found The Golden Era. The famed San Francisco literary weekly featured many young writers on their way to prominence, including Bret Harte, Joaquin Miller, William Wright, and Samuel Clemens.

Robert Heizer

Robert Fleming Heizer was one of two towering figures who dominated Great Basin archaeology after World War II. Heizer, of the University of California at Berkeley, focused on understanding the sequences of past periods of occupation. The other, Jesse Jennings of the University of Utah, worked with Great Basin prehistoric sites, developing the notion of the Desert Archaic Lifeway. Heizer excavated at Nevada's Lovelock Cave, Humboldt Cave, and Eastgate Cave, and his students excavated numerous caves throughout Northern Nevada.

Rise of the Mormon Church

While fur trappers and government scouts were the first Americans to traverse the Great Basin, its early white settlers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons, as they were called, arrived in the late 1840s seeking isolation.


As "company towns" began to expand in White Pine County in the early 1900s, several other communities were developed to provide additional housing and services to area miners. But because they were not subject to the strict laws of company towns, they quickly turned into wild and rowdy communities with economies that revolved around prostitution and liquor. Riepetown's dubious business district managed to outlast those of the others.

Reno: Twentieth-Century Divorce Capital

For more than half of the twentieth century, Reno was Nevada's sin city and the divorce capital of the world. Journalists and gossip columnists called it the "Great Divide," a destination for divorce seekers who wanted to take "the cure," get "Reno-vated," and according to legend, throw their wedding rings into the Truckee River from the Virginia Street "Bridge of Sighs." A 1934 article on Nevada's divorce law in Fortune Magazine offered this description of the town: "Reno lies in Nevada's western corner, ten miles from California.

Reno Jewry

Reno's early Jewish community played an important role in the development of Northern Nevada's largest city, creating an economic, religious, and intellectual legacy that continues into the twenty-first century. In 1868, Jewish merchants were among those who purchased lots when the Central Pacific Railroad auctioned off land along its right-of-way for the creation of Reno.


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