March 2020

Dr. Christine Johnson, Collection Manager, Nevada Historical Society: Nevada State Board on Geographic Names—How Do the Mountains Get their Names?

  • Date: Sunday, March 1, 2020 (first Sunday)
  • Time: 12:30 PM
  • Location: Reno Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street, Reno

Christine JohnsonDid you know that Nevada is considered to be the most mountainous state in the country? With more than 300 named ranges, Nevada's topography contains thousands of peaks, valleys, mounts, buttes, bluffs, cutoffs, mountains, points, and more. The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names has been in place since 1985, working to advise the U.S. Board on new name suggestions, research current names of features, and weigh in on controversies when presented. This talk will provide a history of the board, operational procedures, provide a look at why and how features get named, and highlight a few interesting and noteworthy features on the Nevada landscape.

Dr. Christine Johnson is the Collection Manager at the Nevada Historical Society and adjunct faculty in the departments of Anthropology and Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Jerry Wager: ALSOS — The Hunt for Hitler’s A-Bomb

  • Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (third Wednesday)
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Jerry WagerGerman 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 moved to Reno with his wife seven years ago after living in a small mountain town in western Panama. He retired in 2003 from a 40–year career of managing a variety of environmental programs at the federal, state and territorial levels. In Reno, the Wagers volunteer with a number of organizations and events, are active gardeners and have a small vineyard from which they produce three varieties of wine. Jerry'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.