For many, the treasure was learning about history |

For many, the treasure was learning about history

Barry Ginter

It’s true that Elona and Peter Lathrop won the Nevada Day Treasure Hunt and the $1,000 prize from Nevada Day Inc. that went with it.

But that doesn’t mean that the hundreds of other people searching for the medallion didn’t win something as well – a deeper understanding of the region’s history.

Norman Halverson is the perfect example of that. In his first year searching for the medallion, he and several others joined forces. “Ruth Rodway was our leader and everyone else jumped in and contributed where we could,” he wrote in an e-mail.

The search was addictive and they spent several evening and weekend hours in pursuit of the brown leather pouch. Some also did research on the Web.

“I learned a lot about the area and its history. I also discovered that there is still a lot to see here. This hunt took me places I never go and never knew were here.”

And they almost won, a distinction that wins them absolutely no money.

“The day it was found my wife (Shawna) and I were searching Minden and were within a couple of blocks of finding it.”

Much of the credit for the annual treasure hunt goes to Jesse Olson and the committee he works with. He said hundreds of people were looking for the medallion.

Olson came up with the idea from a similar hunt in Portland, where he grew up. His family worked together at finding that treasure, and came very close on a few occasions. For the second straight year, the Nevada Day medallion was found by families working together.

This year, it took 10 clues for the Lathrops to trace the treasure to Sunset Park on the Minden/Gardnerville line. Normally, the medallion is found between the 9th and 13th clues, Olson said, although one year it was found on the second clue.

Some of the treasure seekers have called to ask what the clues meant. Here are the answers, straight from Olson.

Clue No. 1 – Oct. 9

Press on hunters; Do you think you’re good? Follow the clues, And knock on wood.

Just an introduction not intended to get people any closer to the medallion

Clue No. 2 – Oct. 10

In hiding the medallion, We try not to repeat, This clue should help identify, Spots you can delete.

A little research on this clue would help people eliminate Genoa, Silver City, Rancho San Rafael Park and the Nevada State Museum, where the prize has been hidden in previous years.

Clue No. 3 – Oct. 11

This was a feat until 1911, Historical marker #7, 24 miles around, Lies a treasure waiting to be found.

This focused the search area to within a 24-mile radius from historical marker #7, which is in Dayton.

Clue No. 4 – Oct. 12

Fortunes made, In old sheep camps, Are now replaced, with planner’s stamps.

This indicated the prize was in Douglas County, which has a history rich in sheep camps.

Clue No. 5 – Oct. 13

Out of the far north sunset came two, Seeking the desert sun, Another awaited the coming, And all continued as one.

Olson said this was the most obscure of the clues. It refers to Washington State Highway 2, which was incorporated into the first federal highway system. Highway 395 was born out of Highway 2.

Clue No. 6 – Oct. 16

Times were the best, Times were the worst, Follow the clues, To find the treasure first.

This is a reference to the opening lines of Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” It tells searchers to look in the Gardnerville-Minden area.

Clue No. 7 – Oct. 17

Do you know the widow’s name, Who was saved by Finn, Solve this clue in the game, And be closer to the win.

The reference to the Widow Douglas in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was intended to get wayward searchers into Douglas County.

Clue No. 8 – Oct. 18

Dundee, Darcy, Denver, There’s so much in a name, A person, place or thing, Adds mystery to the game

There’s a John Denver song called “Darcy Farrow” that refers to the Carson Valley Plain.

Clue No. 9 – Oct. 19

For a perfect bird’s eye view, Tail the Pony Express, From a ridge look down upon, Where the treasure rests.

This clue would have told searchers they would be able to see the hiding spot from the Kingsbury Grade.

Clue No. 10 – Oct. 20

Three that intersect, Lead to scenic lands, Targets the right one, The treasure’s close at hand.

This refers to highways 88, 395 and 207. This was the last clue the winners needed, although they didn’t even have to interpret it perfectly. They explained that Old County Road, Highway 395 and Church Street come together at Sunset Park. The park is also across the street from a clock, where “times were the best,” (clue 6) a reference that Olson hadn’t even intended.

Clue No. 11 – Oct. 23

A green thumb in 1860, Spikes in one nine oh five, One could crush the other, Yet both survive.

Gardnerville began as an agricultural town in 1860 and Minden in 1905 as a railroad town. Unlike many competing towns in close proximity, they both survived and prospered.

• Barry Ginter is the editor of the Appeal. Contact him at or (775) 881-1221.