Millenium Countdown: 1910

In its local columns on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 1910 the Appeal contained a story in which Gov. Denver Dickerson defended accusations that he was trying to have the state's new prison built in Washoe County.

The old prison is housed in Abraham Curry's Warm Springs Hotel.

The 1909 Legislature allocated $200,000 for construction of the new prison. The Biennial reports of the Nevada State prison tell the tales of woes of the wardens from 1910 through 1925 as they wait for the new facility to open.

Lt. Gov. Dickerson served as acting governor after the May 22,1908 death of John Sparks. He lost his bid for re-election in 1911 to Gov. Tasker L. Oddie, but was appointed prison warden and served from March 10, 1913 until Dec. 4, 1916 and again from 1923 until his death Nov. 28, 1925.

In January 1925, he reported the new prison would be complete within the year, but he would not see it done. Dickerson died before it was opened. Ex-officio Warden W.J. Maxwell lauded Dickerson's efforts to complete the new facility. The state was short the money to complete the building, but Maxwell secured a deal with the federal government through which the prison would keep federal prisoners for $1.25 a day. This created a surplus in the prison's budget and the new facility was opened in 1926. The financial report showed the federal government paid the prison $43,674 in 1926.

When money was first set aside for a new prison there was a daily count of 197 inmates for a cost of 91 cents a day to keep each prisoner. In 1913 and 1914 the daily population was 191 and Dickerson was lobbying for a larger cell house and at least 100 new cells saying they were an absolute necessity.

He was housing two prisoners in small 4.5-foot by 7-foot cells.

"Tuberculosis is certain to develop if the practice is long confined," he told legislators.

In the same report he noted numerous improvements to the prison and prison farm, but no mention of the new building was made.

Construction began in April 1920 and plans were for a four-story, 128 cell facility, by now prices have risen and it costs $1.72 a day to house a prisoner.

In 1920, Warden R.B. Henrichs asked that the sewer pipe leaving the prison be extended 100 yards saying the stench at times from the 75 yard pipe in front of the prison was "at times bad."

With the money appropriated by the 1909 legislature for the new prison, the state purchased the 1,140 acre Schultz farm east of Stewart Indian School, where the Northern Nevada Correctional Center is today. The farm got its water from Clear Creek, which emptied on the farm.

The farm was used to supply the needs of the prison. In its first year the farm raised 400 tons of hay. Years later, though Clear Creek was an unreliable water supply, the farm raised enough dairy, beef, pork and vegetables needed for the prison.

In 1926, inmate crews volunteered to fight fire around Carson City. In their efforts, two prisoners died.

In his biennial report for 1925-26, Henrichs wrote: "That good exists, and even persists behind bars may be shown by the story of the recent forest fires in the vicinity of Carson City.

"Two such fires occurred in the summer of 1926. Inmates of the prison helped subdue them both. The town was bounded on the south and west by fire, and a high wind almost smothered the community in smoke and sparks. The Capitol was in such danger that water was sprayed upon it. The state water system supplying the Orphan's Home, the State buildings, the Prison, and the Prison, and the Prison Farm appeared doomed, and the local authorities called for help. Many inmates of the Prison volunteered to assist; several were organized into squads in the charge of guards and went willingly to the most dangerous sections of the fire area. They fought valiantly along with the towns people, and there was no distinction between prisoner and free man. Five men died from the effects of the burns received, and two of them J.E. Mitchell and George Brown, were prisoners. By the grace of the Board of Pardons they were buried as free men, but as prisoners they gave their lives in the hope of saving others. This is evidence that good can be found in the shadows and dismal air of the prison. That good must not be lost."

The Appeal of 1910 was written 15 years before the completion of the new prison, but fire was again in the headlines.

Under the headline: "Silver City has a Fire, Assay Office Fire" they wrote:

Yesterday afternoon the assay office below Silver City owned by William Donovan was totally destroyed by fire, the entire building and contents being consumed. In attempting to save some of the equipment, Mr. Donovan was severely burned about the head. Richard Roche and Roger Stenson happened to bee driving by and they took the injured man in their buggy and him to Dayton where Dr. Brown dressed his injuries. -Enterprise. (Territorial Enterprise, Virginia City)

Will Dance Underground

Employees of the Grioux Consolidated contemplate celebrating the completion of the pumping station on the 1200-foot level of the Grioux shaft by a grand ball, which their friends throughout the district will be bidden to attend. The ballroom will be 25X125 feet with solid cement floor over which the canvas will be laid. the walls and ceiling will also be of cement, hence there will be no water falling to mar the beautiful toilets of the ladies. Ely Record

To the City

James Raycraft and wife departed for San Francisco last evening where they will spend a short vacation.

The Raycraft Family has a long history in Carson City. Guy Rocha, assistant administrator for the State Library & Archives, said the family first settled in Genoa in 1863 after crossing the plains to Nevada with a group of more than 300 emigrants.

The first airplane flight in Nevada took place on the Raycraft Ranch in 1910, seven years after the Wright brothers 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

The Raycrafts of Carson City prominence, included two of eight sons and three daughters born to Joseph and Ella (or Ellen) Raycraft.

The history books mention the height of the eight boys as being stalwart and totaling more than 49 feet and 7 inches. This was remarkable in that the boys were an average of more than 6 feet and 1 inch tall while the average height of a man at the time was 5 feet 5 inches tall.

Two of the eight sons, James and Joseph, came to be well known in Carson City.

Both entered politics as Democrats. James representing Ormsby County from 1908-1911 in the state Assembly.

Joseph was elected Carson City supervisor seat in 1902.

The brothers entered into business together in 1884 and operated one of Carson City's finest livery stables. The stables were located where Carson City Hall now stands on the northeast corner of Carson and Musser streets.

In addition to the brothers' political careers, they were involved in placer mining in the Pine Nut Mountains, owned a large stage route in Churchill County, owned 1,640 acres of land and nice homes in Carson City.

"Clearly the Raycrafts were more than just your every-day rancher," Rocha said. "They were very prominent men in their time and place."

From their placer mines the brothers were selling gold for $18.40 an ounce and had found one nugget worth $160 at their Buckeye Mine.

The brothers married local girls, James to Madge T. Morris of Empire in 1886 and Joseph to Nellie Jaqua of Dayton in 1892.

As late as 1935, Mrs. James Raycraft was living in Carson City. James died in Carson City in 1913.

89 days to the millennium - 89 years ago - Wednesday, Aug. 3, 1910

Paper: Carson City Daily Appeal, published each evening Sunday's excepted

Publisher: Appeal Publishing Company

Editor: Dean K. Smith

Manager: James T. Green

Office: Second Street across from the Capitol

Subscriptions: By Carrier $1 month -$12 a year. By Mail $6 a year in advance.

Telephone: main 315


Civil Service Examination

An examination for Clerk and carrier will be held at the post-office in this city on August 10, 1910.

Age limits, 18 to 45 years on the date of examination.

Married women will not be admitted to the examination.

Unmarried women will be admitted to the examination, but are eligible for appointment only as clerk.

Applicants must be physically sound, and male applicants must be not less than 5 feet 4 inches in height without boots or shoes, and weigh not less than 125 pounds without overcoat or hat.

For application blanks and for full information relative to the examination, qualifications, duties, salaries, vacations, promotions, etc., address immediately, W. M. David, Secretary Board of Civil Service Examiners, Post-office, Carson City, Nevada.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment