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Book cover showing a picture of Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes, one of the most intriguing and accomplished Americans of the 20th century, had a profound effect on Las Vegas. His investments in the 1950s, 60s and 70s helped transform the city. But his secretive and reclusive nature has generated innumerable myths that obscure the true story. Geoff Schumacher, author of a new biography of the billionaire, explains how truth is stranger than fiction in the life of Howard Hughes.

Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits & Programs for The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He is the author of Sun, Sin & Suburbia: A History of Modern Las Vegas and Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his master's degree in American history from Arizona State University. He had a twenty-five-year career in journalism, with stops at the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas CityLife, Las Vegas Mercury, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Ames (Iowa) Tribune. He serves as associate editor of the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

Link to recorded program available soon.

Geoff Schumacher
The Valley Road Barn

(Recorded for the Nevada Historical Society Docent Council and Newcomers and Neighbors of Reno-Sparks)
Jack Hursh presents Northern Nevada’s historic barn architecture with his 1995-2005 photographs. This was a period of rapid development in the Reno area, so most of the barns in the images that Jack shows were displaced by new development. The focus of Jack's photography is large timber framed barns dating back to circa 1860s when large ranches in the area were producing goods for the Virginia City market.

Jack Hursh is a fourth-generation Nevadan, an award winning photographer, influenced by the desire to preserve images reflecting the heritage of Nevada.

Nevada Barn Heritage Video

Jack Hursh

(Recorded for the Nevada Historical Society Docent Council)
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 into 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.

Harold's Club Video

Neal Cobb

(Recorded for the Nevada Historical Society Docent Council and Newcomers and Neighbors of Reno-Sparks)
In 1934, a new post office opened at 50 S. Virginia alongside the Truckee River. It opened during the main decade of the divorce era and was an extremely busy "General Delivery" site. It served the town as Reno's Main Post Office until 1975, and continued to serve as a post office box and window counter service until 2012. In August of 2012, ownership of the Reno Downtown Post Office was transferred to 50 South Virginia LLC, which carefully restored the building.

Bernie Carter Managing Member of 50 South Virginia and founder and visionary behind Reno Midtown development, will tell us how the ideas and plans and restoration of 50 S. Virginia took place, leading to a beautifully and faithfully restored downtown building.

Downtown Post Office Video

Bernie Carter

(Recorded for Newcomers and Neighbors of Reno-Sparks)
Learn about the geological history of Nevada and the people who have lived here. Hear about the non-native peoples who have populated the state, mining, the process of statehood, the development of the counties in the state and the towns in Washoe County. Various industries that have supported the state’s economy from early days up until the 1930s are detailed.

Jim Bonar is a retired math teacher, and State Director of the Lincoln Highway Association. In his spare time, Jim creates lectures on a wide variety of historical topics.

Washoe County Video

Jim Bonar
Alice Ramsey and Crew in the Maxwell DA

In 1909, intrepid 22-year-old Alice Ramsey made history as the first female cross-country motorist, driving a Maxwell DA from New York to San Francisco in 59 days. Coming through Reno in August, she stayed overnight in the Riverside Hotel. Hear about her amazing journey in a time before interstate highways and before most women had even considered learning to drive.

Debbie Hinman is a Reno native and UNR graduate. Active with HRPS since 2004, she is a researcher and Editor of HRPS's quarterly FootPrints publication.

Link to recorded program here.

Debbie Hinman
A Picture of the Chism Ice Cream Truck

Come savor a visual history of local food, drink and the industries that surround them! "Edible Traditions" columnist Sharon Honig-Bear has fashioned a presentation based on her past four years of columns in edibleRenoTahoe magazine, with new images never published in the magazine. Discover unknown stories like sugar beet production in Fallon, Chicken Soup Hot Springs in Washoe Valley and the turkey farms near where Park Lane once stood. The presentation is fast-moving and full of surprises about your backyard—the food that was once enjoyed in the area.

Sharon Honig-Bear is a long-time Board member, Past President and tour leader for Historic Reno Preservation Society. She was a restaurant columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal and is now a columnist for edibleRenoTahoe magazine.

Link to recorded program here.

Sharon Honig-Bear
A Picture of an Atomic Bomb Explosion

German scientists split the atom in 1938; by all accounts their nuclear program is 2-3 years ahead of any other country. As war breaks out in Europe, Einstein writes to Roosevelt warning him about the development of a Nazi atomic bomb and imploring the president to begin a similar effort. Even as victories mount, General Eisenhower fears the German will deploy radioactive bombs against advancing Allied troops. In 1943, as part of the Manhattan Project, a clandestine group of scientists and military personnel, ALSOS, are tasked with finding and capturing German nuclear scientists and their labs before Hitler can change the outcome of the war. Unforgettable and unlikely characters, poignant moments, suspense and even comedy characterize this piece of history. And a special twist: the Reno connection?

Jerry Wager's interest in the WWII ALSOS operation stemmed from reading a book about the Hotel Ritz in Paris and it became a minor obsession after discovering the Reno connection to the story.

Link to recorded program here.

Jerry Wager
Cover from the book Westside Slugger

The Westside Slugger is the powerful story of civil rights in Las Vegas and Nevada through the eyes and experience of Joe Neal, a history-making state lawmaker in Nevada. Neal rose from humble beginnings in Mound, Louisiana, during the Great Depression to become the first African American to serve in the Nevada State Senate.

John L. Smith is a longtime journalist and the author of more than a dozen books on some of the most significant characters in Las Vegas history. In three decades as a daily columnist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he garnered many state and national awards for his work. In 2016, Smith was named to the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame and was part of a group of reporters to receive the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics from the University of Oregon, the Society of Professional Journalists award for Ethics, and the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Link to recorded program here.

John L. Smith
Transcontinental Railroad Poster

The introduction of steam technology in general and railroads in particular changed the American West. That change was so pervasive that it dramatically affected the character of America and who we are. We don’t readily see it. This talk will point out the various ways the world changed when the rails joined the country.

Dan Theilen is the director of the Nevada State Railroad Museums, managing the three Railroad Museums in Nevada: Carson City, East Ely Depot, and Boulder City. He holds a M.S. in American Studies with a focus in living history at the RV Jenson Living Historical Farm in Cache Valley, Utah. There he restored and operated a 1905 Case steam traction engine. In his spare time, Dan enjoys turning beautiful lumber into sawdust as he clumsily attempts to make furniture for those who have not asked for it.

Link to recorded program here.

Dan Theilen