Century celebration

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Steeped in history, the 100th anniversary of the Lahontan Dam was celebrated Saturday in a ceremony led by the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.

With about 100 people in attendance, the audience listened to tales of years past as the dam was erected in part of the United States Reclamation Service’s (now Bureau of Reclamation) plan to build farms in the desert.

TCID Board President Ernie Schank, Project Manager Rusty Jardine, BOR Area Manager Terri Edwards, Assemblywoman Robin Titus and the BOR’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo all spoke at the event.

Each speaker added his or her own touch as to what the dam, Newlands Project and the water have meant and will continue to mean to Churchill County and the city of Fallon.

Despite rising temperatures, attendees were also treated to tours of the hydroelectric plants, allowed to stroll across the top of Lahontan Dam and take in a barbecue thanks to the cooking Director Wade Workman and his wife, Debbie.

Jardine told the audience of the practical capabilities of the dam and how it brings life to the Lahontan Valley.

“It’s doing OK after all these years,” he laughed. “This is a symbol of this entire valley and represents the people. We are very proud of it. This is a great event for us.”

Schank, meanwhile, detailed his life from childhood being captivates with history, especially of TCID, the dam and the project.

While the dam reached the century mark, TCID is in its 97th year of existence. Through his studies, Schank said no deaths were recorded due to the construction and more than 500 farms covering nearly 40,000 acres came into being because of the dam and numerous lines of the Truckee Canal spreading throughout the valley.

“Little did I dream as a little boy would I be in this position,” he said. “I hope there is one young person who digs into the history like I did. History is kept alive be rehearsing. This is sacred ground and I hope you all reverence it.”

Master of Ceremonies and current TCID Vice President David Stix Jr. started the event by acknowledging numerous former board members and presidents.

“This wasn’t a miracle,” he said. “A bunch of guys said we can bring water out here so people can start lives and families.”

Murillo, meanwhile, said he was honored to be invited and put in perspective how time has passed since the dam’s creation.

Woodrow Wilson was president and the Ford Motor Company had just sold its 1 millionth Model T automobile. Most of the work, meanwhile, was conducted by horse carriages and trains, he added.

In addition, Murillo said Fallon appeared to be “ahead of its time” as the city had already contracted 85 percent of its power generation before construction was finished.

“This was a groundbreaking project,” the regional director said. “I expect people to gather 100 years from now. Our children’s children will still benefit.”

Titus added to the ceremony by outlining how she, Schank and Jardine were able to pass a bill in the recent legislative session regarding Farm Units and bringing water to lands that are not contiguous.

Edwards, though, continued with a bit of history reading an old newspaper article of how one man predicted 100 years into the future.

In it, the man states photographs will be telegraphed from distance, automobiles will be cheaper than horses and one cantaloupe would supply an entire family for a day.

Although many predictions were off, several were on target leading Edwards to make a few of her own, albeit some may have be in jest.

Nevertheless, she said robots will be available for almost any task; man will be able to control the weather, thus ending droughts and floods; everyone will own a 3D printer; and water delivery will be 100 percent efficient due to transporter capabilities.

Her last prediction, however, came on the heels of her admission of being a “Trekkie,” more commonly known as a Star Trek fan.

As such, she ended her speech with Spock’s famous line directed at the project to “live long and prosper.”


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