The pride of Virginia is the new school-house

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Friday May 17

--The History of Virginia City's Centennial Monument to Public Education

-- Between the Cracks: The Stories Lost Items Tell

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17

--Members-only reception 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

-- Dinner

WHEN: 7 p.m.

COST: $35 for non-members, $28 for members

Saturday May 18

-- A Step Back in Time, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

-- Western Cattle King, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

-- Education on the Comstock, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday May 19

-- Tom Sawyer, 1 p.m.

-- Nevada State Preservation Awards, 1:45 p.m.

--Silver Tea, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, write: Fourth Ward School, 537 South C Street, P.O. Box 4, Virginia City, Nevada

With designation as a "national treasure" and extensive restoration, the Historic Fourth Ward School has become Virginia City's glory. The 16th annual Comstock Historic Preservation Weekend from May 17-19 will recognize those accomplishments.

In keeping with this year's National Historic Preservation Week theme "Preserving the Spirit of Place," the Fourth Ward School is hosting three days of events featuring a showcase of historic Nevadan characters in celebration of Virginia City's centennial monument to public education.

"every community has a special, unique place that is important in the social, cultural, and economic life of a community. The place that attracts tourists, contributes to the area's stability and livability, and gives residents a sense of connection with their shared heritage. Preservation Week 2002 calls on us to do all we can to recognize, save and enhance the irreplaceable features that give each community its distinctive character," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The weekend begins May 17 with the opening of two new exhibits:

-- "From Pride to Glory: The History of Virginia City's Centennial Monument to Public Education" is the story of the Fourth Ward School, researched and compiled by the Nevada Humanities Committee sponsored scholar-in-residence, Susan James.

-- "Between the Cracks: The Stories Lost Items Tell" is an interactive, interpretive display of a variety of school papers and artifacts found between the floorboards during one phase of restoration. A members-only reception in appreciation of their support of the Fourth Ward School is scheduled from 5-7 p.m.

The reception is followed by the "Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope's Return to the Comstock" at 7 p.m., a historical dinner with Mark Twain, portrayed by McAvoy Layne. Reservations are required for dinner.

On May 18 at 2 p.m., Living History Inc. presents a showcase of Comstock characters interacting in the classrooms of the Fourth Ward School.

Dr. Michael Fischer gives a Chautauqua presentation of John Sparks: Western Cattle King, funded by the Nevada Humanities Committee, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 3 to 4 p.m. James follows with a commentary on the history of the Fourth Ward School and education on the Comstock.

The Comstock Children's Chorus, directed by Squeek LaVake, performs the musical "Tom Sawyer" on Sunday at 1 p.m. Ron James, state historic preservation officer, presents the Nevada State Historic Preservation Awards after the musical. The Historic Costume Fashion Contest and the Carol Morgan Page Silver Tea, featuring fine foods and mint juleps, conclude the weekend.


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