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Paul McFarlane—Fleischmann Planetarium turns 60

Paul McFarlane
  • Date: Sunday, September 10, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

In November, Reno's Gateway to the Stars, the Fleischmann Planetarium, turns 60 years old. Come discover how a scientist and musician, a visionary architect, a top-notch engineer, construction company, and a curator with an imagination that stretched to the very edge of the cosmos created a unique historic institution and idea. Their vision was not only to open a planetarium, but to create something that had never existed before: an Atmospherium, a place which could present the daytime sky as well as the nighttime sky.

Paul McFarlane is the current director of the planetarium. He's taught K-College students for over 30 years, created interdisciplinary space programs and worked as a writer and director of film and media projects. He's trained at the Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center, and U.S. Space and Rocket Center, and has represented Nevada at Honeywell Educators at Space Academy. For several years he and his wife Jenny operated the first Challenger Center in Nevada, taking thousands of students and teachers on NASA-based simulated missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Matthew Makley—Sacred Waters, Secular Waters: A History of the Reclamation Act (1902), Pyramid Lake, and the Truckee River

Matthew Makley
  • Date: Sunday, October 8, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

The sacred centrality of water for Indigenous communities in the American West has not been enough to protect that water in American courts. As the twentieth century unfolded, Native communities had to find secular and legally sound ways to protect sacred waters. Nowhere is this clearer than on the Northern Paiute Reservation at Pyramid Lake. This talk will focus briefly on the Reclamation Act of 1902 which set in motion the "Newlands Project." It will then describe the ways the Tribe fought, using the legal system, to reclaim and protect its sacred waters.

Matthew S. Makley, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the History Department at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is the author of The Small Shall be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe's Washoe Indians (2018), which won an American Library Association award for "Outstanding Academic Titles." Born and raised at Lake Tahoe, Makley has lived in Golden, Colorado since 2007.

Michael Fischer—The History of the Picon Punch

Michael Fisher
  • Date: Sunday, November 12
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

The Picon Punch is a popular adult beverage in northern Nevada bars and Basque restaurants. Find out about its main Ingredient and the building in which it was first served in Nevada. Trace the "Nevada Drink's" main ingredient from North Africa, where it was used as an anti-malarial, to downtown Reno, and across the state. Integral now to the Basque Culture, it wasn't always so. This program dispels some incorrect information and brings new information to the fore!

Michael Fischer, D.D.S., is a former dentist and UNR graduate with years of culture affairs service. Fischer served as Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, on the Western Folklife Center board, the Douglas County Historical Society, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, and the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society. Vice President of the Nevada Agricultural Foundation, he portrays agricultural pioneer H. F. Dangberg, Sr. and Governor John Sparks in Chautauqua performances.

Short Annual Meeting

Karen Burns—How to preserve the costumes and entertainment: When Hollywood Came to Reno!

Karen Burns
  • Date: May 7, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

When the world-famous MGM Hello Hollywood, Hello! show opened in 1978: it was billed as The Biggest Show in the World, on The Biggest Stage in the World appearing in The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno, Nevada — it was a BIG deal! Karen Burns was a professional dancer appearing in many shows, most notably: Hello, Hollywood, Hello! Karen had the unpreceded opportunity to purchase "a piece of history" of over 1,250 of the original spectacular costumes from this show. These costumes help to “Tell the Stories of Art, Culture and Entertainment”, when Reno, Nevada was once one of the Entertainment Capitals of the World!

Karen Burns has been a Nevada resident for over 60 years. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada Reno with a Bachelor of Arts in English, German and Physical Education with Dance Distinction; plus maintaining a current State of Nevada Educational License for teaching school. Karen is currently the producer/director/owner of Karen Burns Productions LLC, an entertainment company. Karen is also a writer, speaker/lecturer, wife and mother.

Midtown merchants: Larry DeVincenzi, Christian and Kasey Christensen, Eric and Monique Baron—Surviving Midtown: A Panel Discussion

A site of contruction on Virginia Street in Midtown
  • Date: April 2, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

The owners of three businesses discuss the challenges of keeping their businesses going during major street construction and redesign on South Virginia Street, followed by the Covid pandemic, which forced business owners to change how they operated facing restrictions, construction barriers and customer health and safety concerns.

Larry DeVincenzi and his family came up with the idea for Rum Sugar Lime during a family vacation in Mexico. The idea was to introduce Reno to an upscale, tropical bar experience.

Christian and Kasey Christensen opened Süp restaurant in Midtown in August 2007. With their combined 40 years of restaurant service and ownership, they focus on healthy homemade recipes made daily from scratch.

Eric and Monique Baron of the Melting Pot World Emporium in Midtown got their start vending fashion and lifestyle items at outdoor West Coast music and arts festivals. They’ve traveled to many countries to source unique products for the shop.

Michael Branch—Raising Wild

Michael Branch
  • Date: March 12, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

Local author and educator Michael Branch gives a lively presentation featuring his books, including Raising Wild: Dispatches from a Home in the Wilderness and On the Trail of the Jackalope.

Michael P. Branch is a professor of literature and environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches creative nonfiction, American literature, environmental studies, and film studies. An award-winning writer and humorist, Michael is a recipient of the Silver Pen award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Anne Simone with ZoAnn Campana—The Life and Works of Frederic J. DeLongchamps

Anne Simone
ZoAnn Campana
  • Date: February 12, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

This video program by Anne Simone and ZoAnn Campana highlights the work of Frederic J. DeLongchamps, who had a long career as an architect in Reno and the surrounding area. He designed seven county courthouses, six of which are still in use.

Ann Simone moved to Reno in 1998 and immediately joined HRPS and became a Walking Tour guide three years later, focusing her research on the architects who designed our historic buildings, including Frederic DeLongchamps, Edward Parsons and Russell Mills.

ZoAnn Campana is a professional architectural historian, and is responsible for the Newlands Historic District being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. She researched more 600 properties in the process.

View Anne's Presentation — The Life and Works of Frederic DeLongchamps: Reno, Sparks and Washoe County

View ZoAnn's Presentation — The Life and Works of Frederic DeLongchamps: Beyond Washoe County

Matthew Makley—Sacred Waters, Secular Waters: A A History of the Reclamation Act (1902), Pyramid Lake, and the Truckee River

Matthew Makley
  • Date: CANCELED
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

With the possibility of more snowy weather, poor parking availability due to snow berms along Center Street and side streets, and with heavy snow and icy roads lingering in many residential areas, we have elected to cancel this Sunday's program by Matthew Makley. We hope to reschedule Matt for next January when he comes back for a visit to Reno from Colorado.

Thank you for understanding. We'll see you in February!

Veronica Fraser—Mrs. Mackay and the Bonanza King: A Chautauqua Presentation

Veronica Fraser
  • Date: Sunday, November 13, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

Born in New York City in 1843, Louise Mackay spoke four languages and became known for her quick wit, generosity and charm, and was a hostess of international fame in Paris and London. But her focus was always on her husband John Mackay, her children and extended family. Louise and John met in 1866 and they were married in Virginia City. John's physical stamina and knowledge of Nevada's Comstock Lode, and his wise choices in partners, paid off when they hit the silver bonanza that made the mining district famous.

Veronica Fraser has been active in community theater for more than 30 years in three states. Shortly before the COVID 19 pandemic began, she enrolled in a class at OLLI called, "Be a Chautauquan." She had just finished reading "The Bonanza King" by Gregory Crouch, and about a hundred years of Nevada history opened for her along with a connection to Louise and John Mackay.

Scott Carey—The Great Truckee River

Scott Carey
  • Date: Sunday, October 9, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

The Truckee River has provided the water needed for life along its banks and has literally shaped our region. Scott will discuss the significance of the river to the Native American people of the Great Basin who have lived along the Truckee River since time immemorial. He will also discuss the historic Truckee River floods of 1955 and 1997 and their impact on the entire region.

Scott Carey grew up in Sparks, attended local public schools and used the Governor Kenny Guinn Memorial Scholarship to graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Scott is a lifetime member and volunteer of the Sparks Heritage Museum, and since 2009 has served on the museum's Board of Trustees.

Debbie Hinman—Exploring the El Reno Apartment Homes

Debbie Hinman
  • Date: Sunday, September 11, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 Noon
  • Location: Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street

The El Reno Apartment Homes are examples of the work of architect Paul Revere Williams. In 1936, Williams built a demonstration house made of steel for the Architects Building Materials exhibition in Los Angeles. A year later, Reno builder Roland Giroux had 15 of the homes shipped to Reno and assembled at 1307 S. Virginia St. Ten years later, the units were sold off individually and moved to other spaces; twelve of the units still exit. Debbie will present an overview of the homes and some history of them and their occupants.

Debbie Hinman is a Reno native and a University of Nevada, Reno graduate. For the past 20 years, she has been involved with Historic Reno Preservation Society as a tour guide, and as a researcher and writer for the HRPS publication FootPrints. She is vice president and interim president of the HRPS Board of Directors, and chairs the City of Reno Historical Resources Commission.

Looking for the videos of our wonderful guest speaker programs? Look no further. Listed below are prior videos recorded while we have not been able to get together in person.

Scroll down to see what is available then click on the link (ends with the word “Video”) to the video. The videos may take some time to load depending on your network bandwidth.

Carol Coleman

It's that time of year when we call members together to hear the annual message from the President, receive program and financial updates, and any other news for the good of the organization.

Following the meeting, we'll join Carol Coleman and author, Jerry Aaron, as they discuss Jerry's aerial tour of Nevada mining sites. In the "High Over Nevada" presentation, you'll visit places such as Hawthorne, Tonopah, Round Mountain, Eureka, Hawthorne, Winnemucca, and more.

2022 Annual Report

High Over Nevada

What is Rodeo? Is it a sport? Is it a performance, a circus, or “wild west show”? Is it a historical re-enactment? Rodeo, in fact, contains elements of all those things, with a bit of Indian Pow Wow and Charreria Mexicana thrown in. Michael Allen will show that rodeo is a North American equestrian folk festival that was commercialized and professionalized during the 20th century. If rodeo is a "sport," it is a highly unusual sport, in which participants re-enact elements of the American past exhibiting historic skills with direct ties to the 19th-century North American “cattle kingdom” and ranching frontiers. 

Dr. Michael Allen is a Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington, Tacoma, Allen’s books include “Western Rivermen, 1763-1861: Ohio and Mississippi Boatmen and the Myth of the Alligator Horse” “Rodeo Cowboys in the North American Imagination,” published by the University of Nevada Press, and the co-authored (with Larry Schweikart) “A Patriot’s History of the United States.” In 1997, he helped found the Ellensburg (Washington) Rodeo Hall of Fame Association and currently helps create museum displays at the Western Culture and Arts Center in Ellensburg.

What is Rodeo Video

Starting in 1844 and through the Gold Rush, emigrant wagons left their marks on the Truckee Meadows. Most of those vestiges now are erased, but some ruts still exist and the routes of the vanished trails are known. Journalist and author Frank X. Mullen knows where those are and will trace the routes in a Zoom presentation. From the Truckee River Canyon in the east, to the Comstock-era ruts near Hidden Valley, to the still-visible pioneer trail above Verdi, he will take participants on a virtual walk along those ghost trails.

Frank X. Mullen is the author of the “Donner Party Chronicles,” a veteran newspaper reporter and the current editor of the Reno News & Review. He is a nationally-known Chautauqua performer and an adjunct journalism instructor. In 2021, he was inducted into the Nevada Journalist Hall of Fame and also named Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer, a program of the Reynolds School of Journalism and Nevada Humanities.

Ghost Trails of the Truckee Meadows Video

John L. Smith

John Smith discusses his new book about the grazing rights battle between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government that resulted in a tense, armed standoff between Bundy's supporters and federal law enforcement officers. It places the Bundy conflict into the larger context of the Sagebrush Rebellion and the long struggle of the use of public lands in the American West. While examining the complex history of federal public land policies, Smith exposes both sides of this story. He shows that there are passionate true believers on opposite sides of the insurrection, along with government agents and politicians in Washington complicit in efforts to control public lands for their wealthy allies and campaign contributors. With the promise of billions of dollars in natural resource profits and vast tracts of environmentally sensitive lands hanging in the balance, the West's latest range war is the most important in the nation's history. This masterful exposé raises serious questions about the fate of America's public lands and the vehement arguments that are framing the debate from all sides.

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.

Saints, Sinners and Sovereign Citizens Video

Dr. Alicia Barber

It would be difficult to identify a building in Reno with greater architectural, historical, and cultural significance than what we know today as the Lear Theater. Completed in 1939 as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the elegant structure has graced the north bank of the Truckee River at 501 Riverside Drive for more than 80 years. Paul Revere Williams, widely recognized as the most important African American architect of the 20th century, designed it. And yet, the building's story has become one of repeatedly dashed hopes for its renovation and revitalization. As ownership of the building transfers from Artown to the City of Reno, this seems an opportune moment to increase community awareness of what makes this building so significant, what protections are in place to preserve it, and what any new plans for it should keep in mind.

Dr. Alicia Barber is a writer, historian, and educator who specializes in the cultural history and landscapes of Nevada and the American West and collaborates statewide on public history projects through her consulting firm, Stories in Place. She is the author of Reno's Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City and an e-newsletter about Reno city development called The Barber Brief.

The Lear Theater Video

Reno's Hebrew Cemetery

This presentation looks at the early days of Jewish presence in Nevada and the need to establish cemeteries for their population. The Comstock brought Jews to Nevada—engineers, storekeepers, traders, doctors, journalists, lawyers and of course, fortune seekers. While the Jewish population didn’t exceed one percent of the population, after the Comstock, the majority of Carson City and Reno dry goods shops were operated by Jews. It was a priority for early Jewish settlers to establish a cemetery. Reno’s Hebrew cemetery was begun in 1875 and follows Jewish customs. It is the only entirely Jewish cemetery in Nevada.

Sharon Honig-Bear is a HRPS Board member, Tour Guide, originator of the HRPS Home Tour, and a Past President of HRPS as well as a past Chair of the City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission.

Hebrew Cemeteries Video

Sharon Honig-Bear
Women drive across Nevada in support of women's suffrage (late 19-teens)
Governer Boyle signing resolution of radification of the 19th Amendment

In 2020, the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office received a federal grant through the National Park Service to create a Historic Context for Women's History in Nevada, with the goal of identifying places and properties associated with women's history and the suffrage movement in our state. Project coordinators ZoAnn Campana and Alicia Barber will discuss how they went about writing the context and how it can be put to use.

Dr. Alicia Barber is a writer and historian who specializes in the cultural history and landscapes of Nevada and the American West and collaborates statewide on public history projects through her consulting firm, Stories in Place.

ZoAnn Campana is an architectural historian and historic preservation consultant with Kautz Environmental Consultants of Reno. She works on cultural resource and architectural history projects throughout Nevada.

Women's Suffrage Video

Dr. Alicia Barber
ZoAnn Campana
Book Cover: The Archaeology of Burning Man

Since 2006, Carolyn L. White has been conducting archaeological research in Black Rock City, the temporary metropolis built each year for Burning Man. Her recent book, The Archaeology of Burning Man, presents the results of over a decade of research. As a city on the threshold of destruction and on the verge of creation, archaeological techniques are particularly appropriate for understanding the created private and public spaces in the city before, during, and after its use. This talk will present some of the ideas behind the study of the city and its residents, presenting findings from archaeological survey, mapping, artifact collection, and analysis to interpret the domestic and public space of Black Rock City.

Dr. Carolyn L. White is the Mamie Kleberg Professor of Anthropology and Historic Preservation at the University of Nevada, Reno where she directs the Museum Studies and Historic Preservation Programs. Her work as an anthropologically focused historical archaeologist spans four centuries, focusing on the materiality of personal appearance, 19th-century ranching in Hawaii, the built environment of Black Rock City, and the relationship between art and archaeology. Her most recent book, The Archaeology of Burning Man, was published by University of New Mexico Press (2020).

Burning Man Video

Dr. Carolyn L. WhiteDr. Carolyn L. White, UNR Professor of Anthropology and Historic Preservation
American Beaver Trappers

Larry speaks on the beaver trappers of the "fur trade era" (1800-1840) and how the American Mountain Men group research and teach the skills and history of these important pathfinders.

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 on 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.

American Mountain Men Video

Larry Walker
A Scene of the Early Truckee Meadows

Early settlers in the Truckee Meadows knew nothing of Reno or Sparks. Instead, they lived in communities like Eastman Mill and Brown's Crossing — villages whose names no longer appear on modern maps. Like much of Nevada, the Truckee Meadows between 1855 - 1868 was dotted with small settlements. Most of these briefly boomed and just as quickly died. Some never boomed at all. Reno and Sparks simply beat the odds. This talk will look at a few of the early communities which today can only be found in historical archives. Pleasant Valley, Galena, Glendale, Huffaker, and Lake's Crossing are among the forgotten places to be discussed.

After a career as a National Weather Service meteorologist, Betsy Morse retired and moved to Reno. She has been a volunteer and docent with the Nevada Historical Society for the last decade, where she works in the research library and gives school tours. She loves learning about the history of the state and sharing what she has learned with others.

Before Reno and Sparks Video

Betsy Morse
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.

Fact, Fiction and Howard Hughes Video

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.

Alice Ramsey's Journey Video

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.

A Taste for History Video

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.

ALSOS: The Hunt for Hitler's A-Bomb Video

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.

The Westside Slugger: Joe Neal's Lifelong Fight for Social Justice Video

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.

The 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad Video

Dan Theilen