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Sesquicentennial: Books reveal the uniqueness of our area and state

Lahontan Valley News
“Images of America: Fallon,” by Michon Mackedon and Valerie Serpa, gives a glimpse of Fallon through words and old photographs.

Books portraying the uniqueness of Fallon, Nevada and Churchill County have given readers a glimpse into what make a community so special.

A special signing this afternoon at the Churchill County Museum will introduce readers to two new books, while showcasing a book that first appeared in late 2009.

The official release and signing of the Arcadia Publications Book, “Images of America: Fallon,” by Michon Mackedon and Valerie Serpa, gives a glimpse of Americana through words and old photographs.

“A State that Made a Nation Great” was written to help children understand the importance Nevada played in creating the nation when the state was admitted into the Union as the 36th state on Oct. 31, 1864. Elementary school teacher Linda Rasmussen will be on had to sign copies of the book.

A photographic essay showing snippets of life in both the county and Fallon came out five years ago as a joint project between the Churchill County Museum and the Lahontan Valley News. The books have been signed by LVN Editor Steve Ranson, who supervised the final production and wrote the introductions to each section.

Many residents brought in their photographs to be included in “Churchill County Memories,” reflections of life in from the early 1940s to the present time. The LVN also included many of its recent color photographs, and the museum — under the direction of the late Jane Pipelow — contributed many black and white photos from previous decades.

Both Mackedon and Serpa divulge Fallon’s historical background and how people make a community in “Images of America: Fallon.” This historical account shows the early days beginning with the first settlers and moving toward the mid-20th century.

Mackedon tells of Fallon’s mixture of city and county life, which is part of this area’s uniqueness.

“Images of America: Fallon” has been a labor of love for both ladies when they began the project late last year.

Mackedon, a retired English professor at Western Nevada College, spearheaded the drive to select about 200 historical photos in the book. She received most of the help from Barbara Hodges, the museum’s curator. Other photos came from the University of Nevada’s special collection and from the Nevada Historical Society.

For two months, Mackedon and Serpa selected photos and wrote descriptions, and then Mackedon penned the introduction and each chapter’s synopsis. Serpa used her background in the visual arts to find companion photographs for the chapters.

Mackedon, Serpa and Hodges spent countless number of hours pouring over old black and white photos. Hodges searched the museum’s archives to select what she thought would be representative photos.

Then, Mackedon added the written word, first beginning with a powerful statement about the city.

“Fallon’s history is especially colorful and unique. There has, for example, always been a central artery, Maine Street, named for city founder Warren Williams’ home state of Maine. … Maine Street became a leg of the Lincoln Highway, a new kind of overland trail. Since 1929, a 50-foot Christmas tree has reigned over the Maine Street scene during the Christmas season, erected right in the middle of the street, challenging cars to swerve around.”

“A State that made a Nation Great” is a book created by Rasmussen and illustrated by elementary students to help children understand the importance Nevada played in creating the nation.

A fourth-generation Nevadan, Rasmussen has taught elementary school for more than 18 years. She is a second-grade teacher at Numa Elementary School. Rasmussen said her goal was to have elementary-aged children across America realize the role that Nevada played in passing the 13th Amendment and winning the Civil War.

Rasmussen and her husband, Corey, decided to publish the book themselves in order for it to be ready for Nevada’s 150 birthday.

Fernando Rollano, the graphic designer behind the pages, is originally from Uruguay, but moved to the U.S. in 2002 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional graphic artist.

He does graphic design for apparel, comic books, children books and hard goods.

Sixteen students were selected to design pages for the book. Because the students did such great work and worked hard on their illustrations, they had a pizza party,

Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said this book allows children the opportunity to learn about their state and the great history behind how it became a state.

The LVN and the Churchill County Museum captured many generations of friends and neighbors through a looking glass.”

“Memories” spans 60 years and features several hundred photographs showing how the Churchill County community changed from the outset of World War II to the construction of one of the nation’s most prestigious military installations — Naval Air Station Fallon — to the present day.

As told in the foreword, “Almost 20 years ago, a friend traveling through Fallon remarked about the city’s cleanliness and quaintness and said if he had to live his life all over again, this is where he would raise his family.

“We couldn’t agree with him more,” Ranson wrote. “This is an area that prides itself on families and community activities as evidenced by the numerous parks and athletic endeavors afforded to people of all ages. And Fallon is home of the mighty Greenwave from Churchill County High School.”