As Nevadans prepare to mark the 150th birthday of the Silver State, Carson City resident Pat Bowers remembers a similar hullaballoo 50 years ago during the recognition of the state’s 100th anniversary of its admittance to the Union on Oct. 31, 1864.
His father, Edward Bowers, moved the family to Carson City in 1954 to take a job as a clerk for the Nevada Tax Commission.
“The population was about 3,600 people,” Bowers recalled. “There were no paved streets. It was a fabulous town to grow up in.”
Although his father worked his way up to become the executive director of the Nevada Gaming Commission and the executive secretary of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, Bowers remembers the early days when his father watered Mills Park every morning and worked the Sunday afternoon shift at Burger’s News Stand.
“He did anything he could do to get extra money for his family,” Bowers said. “He was a really neat person.”
When the state’s centennial recognition rolled around, the organizing committee called for a redesign of the official state seal, following the essential elements that were clearly laid out by Legislature nearly a century earlier.
Bowers’ father, who also designed T-shirts and fliers for local businesses including the Greenhouse Garden Center, was selected along with partner Dan Stiles of Sparks to create the new seal.
“It’s really neat because he had no formal training at all,” Bowers said. “He learned it all by himself for himself. He was a very industrious person.”
Although Bowers isn’t sure of all the details — “I was 14, and had other things I was more worried about,” he said — he does have the original plaster of one of the two designs.
In the plaster he has, the words are blue against a silver background. That design was rejected in favor of the one with a blue outer ring with silver lettering. That plaster, he said, went to Stiles.
The plaster has become a family memento, made more significant after Edwards’ death in 2004, and will be handed down to Pat’s son, Joey.
“He so treasures it,” Bowers said.
All this, he said, despite what he’s sure would have been his father’s reaction.
“My dad would be, ‘What’s the big whoopdee about this?’” he said. “That’s how he was.”