‘Our town is building up just as fast as lumber can be procured’ | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Our town is building up just as fast as lumber can be procured’

Sue Ballew
For the Appeal
Nevada Appeal file photo Henry Mighels Sr. was the first editor of the Daily Appeal. The paper's first edition hit the streets May 16, 1865. It was a Republican paper founded by E.F. McElwain, J. Barrett and Marshall Robinson. Mighels and Robinson bought out the others in the fall, publishing until 1870. The paper was then sold to a pair of Democrats, who called it the Daily State Register. The New Daily Appeal was founded by Mighels and published in September 1872, when he bought out the Register.

Carson City was growing rapidly in 1860:

Thy march is onward! Be it so–

Thy presence lights our way

And all, prosperity may know,

By yielding to thy sway.

The past may tell us of thy might–

Of wonders thou hast done

And still the onward, magic flight

is scarcely yet begun…

– “Enterprise” by Wm H. Glow, printed in the Territorial Enterprise Jan. 28, 1860

The “Territorial Enterprise” had a brief stay in Carson City, beginning publication Nov. 26, 1859, in Major Ormsby’s building on Carson Street, between Second and Third. A subscription was 25 cents a year. The microfilm copies average two or three copies per month during these years. It seems the editor was unable to get enough paper to print the newspaper, and some editions were printed on brown paper. The Enterprise moved to Virginia City in October 1860.

The Silver Age newspaper began publication Dec. 1, 1860. On the horizon though was another future publisher, Henry Rust Mighels. He had come from Maine to Marysville, Calif., as editor of the Daily Appeal there. According to The Newspapers of Nevada by Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen Rix Gash, “on May 16, 1865, E. F. McElwain, J. Barrett, and Marshall Robinson commenced a Republican paper, the Carson Daily Appeal.” Shortly after, Henry Rust Mighels moved to Carson City to work for Appeal.

In 1860 McBride & Barker surveyors drafted a “Map of Carson City, Carson County, Utah Territory.” It shows the basic structure of Carson City from King Street and streets numbered from Second through Fourteenth. West to east streets are Thompson, Minnesota, Division, Nevada, Ormsby (now Curry), Carson, Plaza, Fall, Stewart, Valley and Anderson. This map is presented here and is on file at the Carson City Recorder’s office. The streets were 66 feet wide.

The stories tell of growth in Carson City. “Our town is building up just as fast as lumber can be procured.” “Dick Stege is expanding his business with 80×17 feet extension while Messrs. Stewart and Milne are building a two story saloon ….”

In January of 1860 Abe Curry returned from a trip east where he visited with family. “He does not particularly like the Puritanic ways of doing things in the older States. He thinks oysters about the greatest institution he met with.”

There weren’t many women in the west and an article says, “Ladies look here – We know of no place where virtuous, intelligent females could find better reward for their services than on the Eastern Slope. There are but very few unmarried ladies here, but there is a great demand for school marms, milliners, seamstresses and cooks …” Another article says, “Found – a daguerreotype of a lady … The owner, if a man, can have it. If the fair original herself comes, she can have it, provided she will take a certain forlorn bachelor about our size with it. We, last night, placed it under our pillow stuffed with straw …”

The West was wild: “On Saturday … as Mr. Barret was driving his team on the road from Carson City to Vansickles … he was accosted by a person with the remark, ‘Your money or your life.'” Barrett, “whipped up his horses, and soon was beyond the highwayman.” The paper prints a cautionary tale about a ” … good plan for travelers and all citizens to be on the lookout, as it is reported authentically that 40 or 50 San Francisco thieves have left for this part of the country.”

Everything that makes a town work had to be done, including the building of roads and other forms of transportation. Here we see a proposed railroad. “We understand that Mr. McBride is now engaged in making a survey for a company who propose to construct a railroad, from Carson River to Silver City; then to Gold Hill and Virginia City, for the purpose of conveying ores found there to the river, for crushing or smelting. They intend to extend their line up American Ravine.”

• Sue Ballew is the daughter of Bill Dolan, who wrote the Past Pages column for the Nevada Appeal from 1947 until his death in 2006. She is president of the Carson City Historical Society.

Be a part of the celebration

Do you have historic photos of Carson City? If you’d like to share them with the community, stop by the Appeal at 580 Mallory Way or call 881-1221. Copies can also be e-mailed to editor@nevada

appeal.com. If your group is planning a sesquicentennial-related event or would like to volunteer to help with the city’s celebration planned for Aug. 16, contact Lynette Cameron at 881-1245 or by e-mail at lcameron@sierranevadamedia.com.


The Carson City Historical Society is celebrating Hank Monk’s 182nd birthday today at 2 p.m. at the historic Olcovich-Meyers house. If you’d like to attend and hear about Monk’s adventures as a stagecoach driver, call Sue at 882-5694. Hank Monk will be portrayed by Fred Stanio.