Chautauqua celebrates Helen Stewart |

Chautauqua celebrates Helen Stewart

CorutesyDr. Linda Miller will present a Chautauqua performance of Helen J. Stewart, known as the "Mother of Las Vegas."

Dr. Linda Miller presents a costumed Chautauqua interpretation, “Reflections of Early Las Vegas as told by Helen J. Stewart,” at the Nevada State Museum 7-8 p.m. today. Miller’s presentation of Helen Stewart is based upon meticulous research from primary sources.

Helen was a “spunky lady,” explains Miller. “Everything I say is from Helen’s own words, which are often funny and quite poetic. Her letters to her daughter in Kansas City give us a detailed picture of society at that time.” The program culminates with a short video clip about Helen’s life and powerpoint presentation showing Benjamin Victor’s work on the Helen Stewart sculpture to be placed at the Old Mormon Fort in December 2011.

Helen Jane Wiser Stewart (1854-1926) was a well educated woman of remarkable character. When her husband Archibald, who was 20 years her senior, died of a gunshot wound, she managed the isolated Las Vegas Ranch and her growing family on her own. She was pregnant with her fifth child at the time. An astute businesswomen, Helen sold the ranch in 1902 for $55,000, a move that laid the tracks for the budding railroad town of Las Vegas.

Considered to be the “Mother of Las Vegas,” Helen was also an activist for women and the Southern Paiute people.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for exhibit viewing in the main building and an opportunity to chat with “Helen Stewart.”

Museum members and children 17 and under are free; non-member adult admission is $8. For more information, contact Deborah Stevenson, Curator of Education: or 775/687-4810, ext. 237.