Appeal in support of restoring V&T |

Appeal in support of restoring V&T

Kelli Du Fresne

Note: Because the Appeal did not publish on Saturday, we are substituting excerpts from the Friday edition and a front page from the Sunday edition 34 years ago.

Paper: Daily Appeal – 34 days to the millennium – Friday, March 26, 1965

Owner: Donald W. Reynolds

General Manager: Edwin B. Brown

Managing Editor: E.G. Covington

Advertising Director: William Dolan

Business Manager: F.L. Raymond

Circulation Manager: Robert Marion

Production: Robert Rigler

Published daily Sunday through Friday at King and Division streets. A locally operated member of Donrey Media Group.

Telephone: GR2-3461

The editorial for March 26, 1965, is quite similar to one that could have been written in 1994 when residents of Storey, Lyon and Carson City were considering adding a quarter of one cent to their sales tax to rebuild the Virginia & Truckee Railroad between Gold Hill and Carson.

The tax passed only in Storey County in 1994, though Carsonites defeated the measure by only 50 votes.

The idea hasn’t died, but raising money has been left largely to the private sector for now. The idea is being offered as a regional attraction that will help draw visitors to Lake Tahoe, Douglas and Washoe counties, as well as Carson and Virginia cities.

About 70 percent of the land needed to rebuild the route has been pledged by property owners for the project.

The Legislature has a $5 million loan set aside to help with reconstruction of the 17-mile route from Gold Hill to Deer Run Road.

The brakes squealed on the project for a short time last winter when newly elected Gov. Kenny Guinn said he would use that money to shore up the state’s budget. However, later in the 1999 legislative session the money was returned.

Railroad officials say when finished the project could bring in $340,000 in tax revenues and license fees to Northern Nevada as well as draw 160,000 tourists and create 1,000 jobs.

The short line made its last run May 31, 1950. In March 1965, 15 years later, the editor of the Appeal is touting the latest plan.

The headline reads “Restore the V. & T.” and was followed by: We are heartily in accord with the Resolution passed unanimously by the Board of Directors of the Carson City Chamber of commerce, seeking the continued support of Senator William E. Dial and Assemblyman Archie Pozzi, Jr., on behalf of the Nevada Heritage Association to gain passage of Assembly Bill 485. This bill would make the NHA a state institution for the eventual purpose of restoring the Virginia & Truckee Railroad as a major tourist attraction for the Capital City of the State of Nevada and its neighbor Virginia City.

A project of this dimension must have a starting point, and we feel that passage of the bill would help inaugurate the first phase of the over-all program, that of completing a one-mile circular track at the Carson City airport upon which tourists may ride for a fee, the monies being used to create a fund to rebuilding to entire line of Virginia City.

It takes no great stretch of the imagination to envision contributions eventually from the major Hollywood motion picture studio that has a considerable amount of the original rolling stock of the old V. & T. Railroad – perhaps even the filming here of a major motion picture which would involve the actual rebuilding of the line; or the luring of some well-heeled railroad buff into helping finance the project as a philanthropic gesture. The possibilities for securing financial assistance are endless.

The major consideration at this time, it appears, is to keep the project alive through passage of the Senate Bill which will guarantee a start. From there, it should be fairly easy to promote a project which would eventually result in restoration of an historical landmark that would, contrary to much opinion, pay its own way in due time. We can only point to the money-making restorations in other parts of the country where entrance or use are charged the tourists. These serve not only to make the project self-sufficient, but attract tourist dollars which are spent for food,accommodations and various other “necessities or luxuries” of tourism, such as a film, souvenirs, postal cards, and – in some instances – cause tourists to return and become a part of the community.

This is one project we feel is typical of the area – Carson City and Virginia City – the creation of a major attraction which is entirely apart from the lure that brings so many tourists – gambling. We feel there are sufficient tourists – especially those with children – who are NOT interested in the casinos – but in historical data and aspects of the West which the recreation of the V. & T. Railroad would typify.

If some effort is not made to restore a portion of the Old West as it was, all too soon it will be only a memory – very illogically preserved via radio and television, which is all too often inaccurate, ill conceived, and inadequate. Restoration of the actual railroad, using the actual rolling stock over the actual roadbed used originally, would go far toward making the Carson City-Virginia City area the hub of a major Nevada attraction. This would in time, bring to this region not only national fame, but, due to this shrinking world via fast air travel, international fame It is something to think about in long range planning – always remembering that long range planning has to start somewhere.

So why not start with Assembly Bill 485?