History lives in Dayton's old-timers' memories

History lives on and repeats much of the past. People who were youngsters in the early 1900s are still around, able to tell their own stories about Emma Nevada Loftus, the lady who recorded Dayton's history in daily diaries from the early 1900s through 1958.

Let me tell you about some of these folks, most of whom are in their 80s. One of the oldest is Bert Perondi.

Bert's mother and Emma were good friends. From an early age, Bert worked for Emma around the yard of her Dayton home, also doing a few things for her son, Chester Barton.

During World War II, Bert joined the Navy. After the war, he came back to his Dayton hometown, continuing to work for Emma from time to time when he wasn't working his mine at Pony Meadows in the Pine Nut Mountains near the old mining town of Como.

Bert is 85 years old and still working around his own yard.

As a girl while working in her father's store, Della Santa's Market on River Street, Victoria "Dolly" Della Santa Pradere waited on Chester and his wife, Helen. Victoria has lived in Dayton all of her life.

Victoria visited Emma at times when she wasn't busy at the market or raising her children. Now, she's a young 82 who writes a weekly column in the Leader-Courier newspaper about what's happening at the Dayton Senior Center.

Maybelle Cadwallader visited Emma, in her youth. May and Ray Walmsley were an item back then. They were married June 5, 1947 by Judge Clark Guild in Carson City, as is noted in Emma's diaries. They made a go of it, and are still married and active in the community.

Many other old-time Daytonites are mentioned in Emma's diaries, including Del Minor, the young pregnant woman who had to be brought across the flooded Carson River in 1950 because her baby was due.

Grace Ricci made good raviolis, according to Emma. Helen and Emma canned asparagus from the Ricci Ranch every year.

On Dec. 31, 1931, Emma ended the year, noting: "This ends a tough hard-times old year; panic and joblessness. Everything to make a terrible year. Hope the new year 1932 brings us all a better year." She signed it "Emma Nevada Loftus, Dayton, Nevada, 9:45 p.m., Dec. 31, 1931."

The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It's also the home of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week at random hours and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

-- Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.

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