When talking about Carson City to those not in our area, our city gets related to Kit Carson, Mark Twain, the Carson City Mint and the Old West. Our history is a rich crossroads to the beginnings of our country's westward expansion. Images of dark rough saloons, miners drinking belligerently, ladies of the night, and poker tables stacked with silver dollars and gold coins come to one's mind. The name Carson City conjures all of these images far better than any Hollywood producer ever could.
Today most of the old icons are gone, only to be immortalized in lore and legend, but we still have one of the most foundational pieces of our state's (and the West's) history right here among us; the Carson City Mint.
The shortest-lived mint in our country's history also is its most famous because it came about in the era of our most known silver dollar, the Morgan silver dollar. Carson City Morgan dollars have long been prized by collectors all over the world.
Carson City is visited by thousands every year with their main purpose being to see the Carson City Mint. Sadly this last year the Carson City Mint (or Nevada State Museum) has been sharply affected by budget cuts and funding issues. Being closed three days a week, the mint has disappointed countless visitors who were expecting to tour one of our nation's landmarks.
In looking to Carson City's future, we can advance the city and its attractiveness by helping one of our greatest pieces of history. Helping preserve our mint is easier than one might think. The Carson City Mint is a state funded museum, but it does accept private donations.
If you are not philanthropic in your views of the mint you can support it by just touring it a couple of times a year. A great time to visit is when they are striking medallions on the old coin press that they have prominently displayed. These strikings are only done on certain days so calling ahead to find out their schedule would be advised. To further that thought, when guests are in town, an afternoon tour can be a refreshing change of scenery.
Another way to support the museum is to take advantage of the new foyer they built in between the mint and the museum. This room can be rented for functions, providing a unique location for any type of event. It could be very memorable for your guests to have a meeting in a such a historical landmark.
The Carson City Mint is an attraction that we should not take for granted. If we can focus a little thought or funding toward this unique piece of history we may realize that the mint is a bigger attraction than many give it credit for.
By rallying behind the mint we can help to have it reopened more days a week and thus increase the number of the out-of-area visitors to Carson City.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.