August 16, 2008
At 150 years old, Carson City doesn’t mind showing its age.
After all, this is a town that takes great pride in its old architecture, old traditions and even older founders, the progeny of some who were on hand to celebrate the capital city’s sesquicentennial.
Not long after some of the city’s dignitaries cut a ribbon in front of a cake in the shape of Nevada, comprised of 2,008 cupcakes, Marty Lavelle, of Reno, reflected on his day, as he escorted his great-grandfather, a descendant of Abraham Curry, one of Carson City’s four founders who purchased a swath of land in Eagle Valley in 1858, through the Carson Nugget parking lot.
“I’m a little exhausted now,” Lavelle said. “To be able to be part of Carson City – I didn’t know my history went that far back, and it was wonderful to be a part of it.”
The past played a big part in Saturday’s celebration, with Carson City’s old coin machine pressed into service once again, and gold-panners showing how 19th-century techniques still produce the best results in search of the real stuff, and a visit to the capital that looked suspiciously like Abraham Lincoln.
The city that once served as a territorial capital and now is home to the Battle Born State’s government put on a party of old-time proportions that delighted some of the city’s youngest residents.
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David Shipman, a worker with the Nevada State Museum, spent the afternoon teaching novices how to pan for gold in a wooden trough lined with silt and golden flecks taken from the bottom of the Carson and South Yuba rivers.
“Nobody’s had less than five pieces of gold for a two-dollar investment,” Shipman said.
As each child gripped a metal pan tightly, Shipman showed them how to sift and swirl the silt until flecks of gold were all that was left in a pan. Once the gold was found, Shipman placed it in tiny plastic packets for each individual to take home.
“He’s hitting the jackpot! I’ve got dibs on the gold,” said Charlie Cavanaugh, whose 8-year-old son, Jefferson, said he’d planned to spend his “loot” on Legos.
Carson City, it seems, had plenty of goodwill to spread around as well on Saturday, the culmination of a year-long buildup to a sesquicentennial celebration.