Artown History Lectures – Tuesdays and Fridays – July 2021

The Nevada Historical Society (NHS) has actively participated in Artown since 2014, with NHS Docents offering gallery tours and history presentations during July.

Given the year we have had with COVID, we decided to offer virtual presentations again this year to keep everyone safe.

These NHS history presentations will take place virtually every Tuesday afternoon at 3pm and Friday morning at 10:30 am for the month of July.

We hope to whet your appetite for Nevada History with these eight great lectures!

NHS July Artown Press Release for Artown Lecture series…


Date: Tuesday, July 6, at 3:00 p.m.
Topic: Nevada Barn Heritage with Jack Hursh

A documentation of northern Nevada historic barn architecture by the photography of Jack Hursh in the time period of approximately 1995-2005. This was a period of rapid development in the Reno area. Most of the subjects in the images that Jack will show have been displaced by new development. The focus of Jack’s photography was the documentation of large timber framed barns dating back to circa 1860s when large ranches in the area were producing goods for the Virginia City market. Small outbuildings are also featured in this presentation, including the effort led by Jack to rescue and relocate the several historical ranch outbuildings that are now located at Bartley Ranch Park–a project that is called Truckee Meadows Remembered.

Jack Hursh is a fourth-generation Nevadan, an award winning photographer, influenced by the desire to preserve images reflecting the heritage of Nevada. Jack is a retired cartographic technician for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and geology at UNR. Jack began photographing local historical barns in the 1990s when Reno’s rapid development was transforming (tearing down) many of the historical ranch sites.

Date: Tuesday, July 13 at 3:00 p.m.
Topic: Harolds Club with Neal Cobb

Harold’s Club emerged from a hole in the wall operation at 236 North Virginia Street in 1935 to become the largest casino in the world. The Smith family, Pappy and sons Harold and Raymond, lived by Pappy’s carnival-worker philosophy of treating customers with a smile and a fair hand. Run an honest game, the father said, let players win something, and they’ll return. So under Pappy’s leadership and innovations, Harolds Club and Reno became world-famed tourist attractions.

Neal Cobb is a Reno native, and was involved in his family’s business, Modern Photo. Neal fell heir to fourteen large boxes of old Reno and Northern Nevada photos and printable film after his parents died in the 1980s and subsequently authored two books, Reno Now and Then, Books I and II. He has worked closely representing the Nevada Historical Society, having presented over 500 programs in Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada since 1988.

Date: Tuesday, July 20, 3:00 p.m.
Topic: American Mountain Men with Larry Walker

Larry Walker first became interested in shooting sports in the late 1980s. That led to muzzleloader competitions and cowboy action shooting. These sports led him to an interest in the history of the western fur trade era, what we sometimes call Mountain Men. In 2000, he connected with the American Mountain Men who, as an organization, study in earnest the lifestyles and equipment of the fur trappers, with an emphasis on authenticity. Larry’s main focus of research has been of the firearms used in the late 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. He currently builds recreations of the JJ Henry trade rifles that were the most commonly used by the mountaineers.

Larry Walker will speak on the beaver trappers of the “fur trade era” (1800-1840) and how the American Mountain Men research and teach the skills and history of these important pathfinders.

Date: Tuesday, July 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Topic: Nevada Military Women with Ret. Lt. Col. Anne Davis

Anne Davis is a native of Michigan, graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1982 earning a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. She has served on active duty in the Army for 29 years in various locations and leadership positions. She commanded the Hawthorne Army Depot from 2000—2002, a government-owned, contractor-operated (GPCO) ammunition depot located in Hawthorne, Nevada.

Anne earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991 and her Ph.D. in Business from The City University of New York in 2005. She served as a member of the adjunct faculty at Walden University from 2012 to 2017 where she taught in the Doctor of Business Administration Program.
Since her retirement from the Army as a Lt. Col., Anne has been involved in Veterans issues. Anne was appointed by the Nevada Governor to serve on the Women Veterans Advisory Committee and has served as the chair of that committee since its inception in 2014. Additionally, she served on Nevada’s Veterans Services Commission. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Adopt a Vet Dental, a non-profit providing dental care to low-income veterans in Northern Nevada. Anne is a lifetime member of Disable American Veterans and the Women’s Veterans Alliance.



Date: Friday July 9 at 10:30 a.m.
Topic: The Humboldt: A River by Any Other Name, the naming of Humboldt River
Presenter: Pam Walker

In 1845, John C. Fremont christened this river the Humboldt River in honor of the acclaimed naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt. But, did you ever wonder what this river may have been called previous to that? What did the first trappers and explorers of the Great Basin call this river? In this presentation, you will hear a few stories about those trappers and explorers, the names they gave to the river, and even a little controversy surrounding the Humboldt.

Date: Friday, July 16, 10:30 a.m.
Topic: The Psychedelic, Sex and Blue Jean Machine: Northern Nevada’s contributions
to popular culture
Presenter: Catherine Magee

Northern Nevada was the birthplace and inspiration for many inventions that influence our lives. Global pop culture owes much to Nevada’s innovative spirit including blue jeans and the San Francisco sound of the 1960s. Catherine Magee, Director of the Nevada Historical Society, will take you on a trip to explore some intriguing aspects of Nevada’s history in the presentation The Psychedelic, Sex and Blue Jean Machine: Northern Nevada’s contributions to popular culture.

Date: Friday, July 23, 10:30 a.m.
Topic: Firsts and Lasts in Nevada, the Notorious
Presenter: Sam Macaluso

Hear stories about some of Nevada’s bad men and women and their outcomes — things like the first train robbery, first woman hung in Nevada, last vigilante hanging in Nevada and the firsts and lasts of an episode in Jarbidge, Nevada, are some of the stories you will hear. Sam Macaluso is a retired elementary teacher with the Washoe County School District. He had done extensive mineral education in his classroom. Sam is a docent with the Nevada Historical Society.

Date: Friday, July 30 at 10:30 a.m.
Topic: Early Settlers in Northern Nevada
Presenter: Sandy Vickers-White

Nevada was once part of the Utah Territory, an incorporated territory that existed from 1850 to 1896. Learn how Congress separated the territory into individual states during that time. Hear about Kit Carson and John Fremont, the Gadsden Purchase, and the Mormon trading posts in the Carson Valley. Photos and stories describe events and life in the towns of Genoa, Dayton, Carson City and Virginia City during the decade of the 1850s.