Choose your holiday: Nevada Day or Halloween |

Choose your holiday: Nevada Day or Halloween

Ruby McFarland
Special to the Appeal

In Nevada, Oct. 31 has a couple of significant reasons to be celebrated. Most important to Nevadans, it is the state’s admission day.

Then, there’s Halloween, being more important to little folks. But because of the Nevada Day celebration, Halloween used to be celebrated the day before so the little guys could be supervised when they trekked the streets as ghosts and goblins.

Since Nevada’s legislators made Nevada Day a three-day holiday, it isn’t always celebrated on Oct. 31 anymore. Things are always changing.

The Nevada Territory came into the Union when President Lincoln thought it best to include it with the rest of the U.S.

Local discovery of gold was the determining factor – it was feared if gold fell into Confederate hands, the Civil War would be prolonged. It was this time in American history that provided Nevada’s “battle born” status.

Although the territory didn’t have enough population, an exception was made in Washington. D.C., and Nevada officially joined the Union in 1864.

Now Halloween is another story. In the old days, it was celebrated by pulling pranks on the community. Stealing outhouses in Dayton was a favorite of the older boys, who would do it just to annoy other residents and many other towns across the West.

One prank we pulled when I grew up was to put a buggy on top of Ned Wilson’s store. We spent all night laboring to get that buggy up there.

And what about the ghosts of the Comstock? There are many claims of haunted houses, hotels and public buildings. The Gold Hill Hotel has a big doings about their ghosts.

I truly think the Dayton Museum has a ghost or two. I’ve heard noises when nobody was in or around the building that I can’t explain. The old high school, now the community center, built at the site of the first Lyon County Courthouse that burned in 1909, has had claims of supernatural or unnatural sounds.

Well, whichever you decide to celebrate, be careful. It’s important we be responsible for the little folks who roam the streets and byways of Dayton. We want them around to make history in a good way.

In days past, Dayton has had many good times celebrating both Nevada Day and Halloween. Let’s work to keep the history going.

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

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

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