Carson family’s love of history translates to new book |

Carson family’s love of history translates to new book

Sandi Hoover
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

A passion for history runs in the family for Trent Dolan and Sue Ballew, whose ancestors settled in Northern Nevada in the 1860s.

The brother and sister, who alternate writing the “Past Pages” column for the Nevada Appeal, have collaborated on a book that came out Thursday.

“Early Carson City” is dedicated to their father, Bill Dolan, who started writing for the Nevada Appeal in 1947 and continued with his “Pages from the Past” column for 59 years, until the day he died in 2006, according to his obituary.

“All those years, my dad wanted to do something for Carson City, so this book is a tribute to him,” Ballew said. “It took a long time and it was very stressful, but I thought, this is my opportunity to give a tribute to my dad. I miss him so much.”

The book has 180 photos gathered from private collections and the Carson City Historical Society, she said, including many photos that people haven’t seen before.

“This book is not a thorough story of Carson City. It’s more of a glimpse and its personal accounts – the human touch,” she said. “A lot of it was based on finding stories to match the photos. My dad would tell us stories all the time, and he’s got thousands and thousands of photos.”

Ballew said the book goes up to about 1930.

Trent Dolan said the book is an excellent opportunity for people to see what early Carson City was like.

“The early faces of Carson City are fascinating,” Dolan said. “We started doing Past Pages 31⁄2 to 4 years ago, and before that, I could never quite understand why he had such a passion for it, but in doing Past Pages, we always come across some real pearls.”

Dolan praised his father’s dedication.

“He started writing to help buy milk for my sister, and I think I counted that he did about 25,000 columns and never missed a day,” Dolan said. “When he was working, I’d always hear him say, ‘I found a good one today.’

Dolan has a journalism degree and has won many awards for his photography and writing on the state and national levels. Ballew was president of the Carson City Historical Society from 1998-2008 and remains active in Carson City historical lectures and tours.