Legacy of hope left by Dayton pioneers
December 13, 2006
This season of the year is a time of reflection about our great country and the rights we share. Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the one thing we know as Americans is that we are safe.
As we grow closer to the winter equinox, the promise of a new year and new challenges gives us hope. Hope is a better companion than fear.
Pioneers who settled the West lived with a great deal of hope. For the most part, the very reasons they came West was to find a new life and riches in the wild new territories. Hope sprang eternally with them in this harsh new world.
Life was not easy here in this hamlet of Dayton, once called Pause and Ponder. Winters were cold and windy. Shelters were canvas tents for the most part. One had to be tough to survive – many pioneers didn’t.
I come from that strong stock of men and women who conquered the West. There are a lot of us who are third and fourth generations of those people who had hope.
In Dayton, we have quite a few people whose parents braved the harshness of the new state of Nevada. They, too, are strong people who have given their time and effort to the town. I’ve witnessed the kindness of the old-timers in Dayton. I’ve been a recipient of their caring, although I’ve only lived here 18 years.
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This town of Dayton is experiencing growing pains now. I don’t think these pains are going to end soon. I keep repeating: I hope our little old historic town survives the rush the rest of the valley of Dayton is experiencing. Old Dayton needs hope – hope to retain its Old West charm. We can’t let it slip away. We need people who care enough not to let it erode.
One only has to visit several historical sites on the East Coast to know that those folks care a lot. They develop their historic sites, and they have a great deal of pride in maintaining an authentic flavor of the era they’ve preserved. Of course, just ask anyone who has visited Europe about history preservation. Hope kept those sites alive, too.
I hope you all have a grand holiday season and keep well and warm. Keep in touch with loved ones, and let’s hope the New Year brings peace in the world.
A reminder: The Dayton Museum is closed until mid-February.
• Ruby McFarland is a board member of the Dayton Historical Society, a docent at the museum and has lived in Dayton since 1987.