Saturday, May 07, 2011

Old Carson City

Caroline at the B St B&B
Carolyn Eichin of the B Street B&B is an extraordinary woman. Not only is she a superb cook, preparing the best breakfasts Richard and I have ever eaten, but she's an expert on Nevada history. She and her charming husband Chris told us about a lecture at the Nevada Textiles Archive in Carson City on the morning of Wednesday 3 May. After our exhausting adventure at Bodie it's nice to drive a couple of miles and hear about women's bonnets and men's top hats. I'm not allowed to post any pictures but I get some good ideas for hats to plonk on my characters' heads.

Nevada State Museum
After the lecture we're shown the archives and delight in other period pieces of clothing. Then it's off to the Nevada State Museum, a modern black glass building next to the Carson City Mint. It's a great exhibition with lots of the types of artefacts I love. Some sarsaparilla bottles, a stereoscopic viewer with an 1860s photo of Devil's Gate (on the road to Virginia City) and lots of buttons. I'm especially excited about the hundreds of buttons because in the second Western Mystery we discover that P.K. Pinkerton, my hero, is obsessed with collecting things. Like bugs, bullets and buttons. There is also a Smith & Wesson 7-shooter, P.K.'s gun. (see bottom of this blog for pix)

Orion Clemens house in Carson City
After the museum we take the walking tour of Old Carson City. Chris mentioned it as something worthwhile and is it ever! Especially on a beautiful spring day like today. They give us a map at the museum, but even if you didn't have the walking map you can follow the handy blue line painted onto the sidewalk. I especially wanted to see the house Orion Clemens lived in. He was Mark Twain's older brother, and secretary to Governor Nye in the early 1860s.

horsehead hitching post 
We also see the house from John Wayne's final film, The Shootist, along with houses belonging to characters who might appear in future Western Mysteries. After the challenge of high-altitude Bodie it is a joy to stroll through the leafy Victorian neighborhood of Old Carson City.

Back to Virginia City in time for tea at the B Street B&B. Carolyn gives me an 1974 dissertation on Police, Water and Fire Departments in early Virginia City so I can get to grips with the structure of the town in the early 1860s. There aren't many places in the world where you can eat homemade tropical fruit macaroons and peruse a scholarly article both provided by the same talented lady. The B Street B&B is simply superb.

P.K. is partial to sarsaparilla
Badges weren't known in Virginia City until 1874
P.K. is obsessed with collecting things... like buttons
Stereoscopic viewer with picture of Devil's Gate
A Smith & Wesson 7-shooter just like P.K.'s

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