It’s time to make some new holiday memories for ’07
December 21, 2006
I discovered this week that I’ve helped break a Nevada Appeal tradition, which was publishing holiday memories submitted by our readers.
The subject came up when I received the story from Jessi Winchester that’s printed elsewhere on this page, and I mentioned it to someone who’s been at the Appeal far longer than my nine months.
“It must be for Holiday Memories,” she said.
“Holiday Memories? What’s that?” I replied.
So I looked at the newspapers from last December and confirmed the oversight.
The reader submissions last year and previous years ran across the bottom of the front page in the two weeks before Christmas, and many of them were very entertaining, heartwarming and full of everything Christmas is supposed to be about.
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With Christmas just a few days off, it’s a little too late now to solicit contributions, of course, so my apologies to those who’ve missed the stories. We’ll bring it back next Christmas.
In the meantime, I offer all of you the warmest wishes in creating new Christmas memories, and I’ll look forward to reading about the best of them next December.
Speaking of holiday traditions, one of the more unusual ones I’ve heard about locally happens on New Year’s Eve at the Genoa Bar, where they turn out all the lights at 10 p.m. and get out the candles and oil lanterns.
The establishment touts itself as “Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor,” but the New Year’s Eve tradition dates back only about five years, said owner Willie Webb.
He got the idea after a major storm knocked out the power to Genoa for four days. Rather than close down after the storm, he decided to keep the bar open, making liberal use of lanterns and candles. He drove his truck up Kingsbury Grade to get a load of snow to keep the beer cold.
“I just noticed how much fun everyone was having at the bar,” he said of his decision to do an intentional blackout every New Year’s Eve.
Webb, who has owned the bar for six years, has a keen interest in learning more about the history of the establishment. He is hoping to generate interest in an archaeological dig in the dirt-floored cellar beneath it.
The items found there may tell a lot about the early history of the area.
I mentioned the Genoa Bar in a column in November, along with some of the famous people who have visited, including Teddy Roosevelt, Raquel Welch and John Wayne.
The mention of the former president caught the eye of Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha, who is a careful caretaker of the state’s history.
As it turns out, the presidential visits were undocumented, and there’s no evidence that Roosevelt or another purported visitor, Ulysses s. Grant, entered the bar.
“Ex-president Grant only visited Nevada once, in 1879, and virtually his every move was noted in the area newspapers,” he wrote. “We know for a fact Grant, his wife and son did not visit Genoa or Walley’s Hot Springs.”
Likewise, Roosevelt visited Nevada once while he was president, in 1903, and there is no mention in any paper or document that he was in Douglas County, Rocha said.
I also asked Guy about an e-mail I’d received from Diane Paradis of Kemp, Texas.
“I have a newspaper that is the Morning Appeal, Nov. 8, 1877. I was wondering how much this paper was in dollar value. It does have a small to medium rip. I would like to know anything you can tell me about this old newspaper.”
The response was as I’d expected.
“I would say an antique dealer might give you a buck for it,” he said. The information on the paper is archived elsewhere on microfilm, but it’s possible someone may still want to frame the page.
Old newspapers are always fascinating to read, but they’re not very rare. Libraries and newspaper offices often have stacks of them. And there are many of them in homes, too. They document births, deaths and other important events.
In going through some of my mother’s belongs a few years ago after she’d moved out of her house, I found the paper that contained my birth announcement. I sat there for a long time reading about what happened on that day in 1964.
Now, I realize that no one would give me even a quarter for that old yellow paper. And that’s OK, because I’d never sell it, even if someone offered a hundred bucks.
• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. Contact him at 881-1221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.