New marker depicts site of old Nevada trading post
GENOA — The site of Nevada’s first pioneer settlement has been rescued from oblivion by a group of history buffs.
About 50 people braved cool, wet weather Friday to dedicate a new marker for Old Mormon Station, which was built by a group of Salt Lake City traders a mile north of Genoa in 1850.
“It means your past has a chance of staying alive,” Ron James, Nevada State Historic Preservation Officer, said at the ceremony held by the Carson Valley Historical Society.
The old marker was yanked out in the early 1990s when the Hollister Ranch was developed into the Genoa Lakes subdivision and golf course.
Because of the development, the new marker had to be relocated to a point along the golf course entrance road, about 270 feet west of the old marker.
The trading post served thousands of California Gold Rush pioneers in the summer before its operators returned to Salt Lake City later in the year.
In 1851, another group of Salt Lake City traders led by John Reese built a permanent settlement, also known as Mormon Station, in what would become Genoa.
During the ceremony, historians talked about the historical significance of Old Mormon Station and the struggles of the early pioneers.
Robert Ellison of Minden, who authored a book on Nevada’s origins called “First Impressions,” noted that trading posts were strung out every few miles along the California Trail, both before and after Old Mormon Station.
The settlement grew to as many as 500 men and women and five or six log cabins by the late summer, Ellison said.
“Old Mormon Station is the only trading post that gets mentioned by name in the (emigrant diaries) and it’s only fitting we’re here to honor it today,” Ellison said.
Reno history writer Stanley Paher said the trading post offered covered-wagon pioneers a chance to stock up on food before heading over the Sierra Nevada.
A modern replica of Reese’s station stands in Genoa, but historians lost track of where the original trading post stood after the development of Genoa Lakes.
The rediscovery of the site was a joint effort by Reno history buffs Joe King, Jack Lepisto, Marshall Fey and Paher, and Carson Valley Historical Society members Ron Funk and Billie Rightmire.
The group relocated it with the help of an 1861 map and directions by former ranch owner Gim Hollister.
Hollister said a rock-lined ditch and a piece of non-native cherry wood once found on the property led him to believe it was the site of the trading post.