Whorton ‘unwelds’ history at Nevada State Prison

Miracles are happening at the Nevada State Prison thanks to organizational skills of one individual who knows this prison inside and out, has great people skills, and knows the right people to make miracles happen.

While it is taking plenty of hands — both volunteer and the not-so-volunteer — to bring the prison up to a standard where those attending the historic Carson City Chamber BBQ and Lacy J. Dalton Concert can be comfortable, it probably couldn’t happen without the former Nevada Director of Corrections Glen Whorton directing the “work crews.”

Having started his correctional career at the Nevada State Prison as a prison guard in 1973 and working his way up to the top spot in Nevada’s prison system before retiring, Whorton knows every nook and cranny of Carson’s historic prison and is excited to showcase NSP as Carson City and Nevada’s newest historic museum attraction soon to be open for tours and events.

The non-profit Nevada State Prison Preservation Society, now chaired by Whorton, is assisting the Chamber with the many logistics needed to hold an event inside the prison yard, shuttered since May 2012. It’s a daunting task since all services needed to provide a quality event must be brought in and the property spruced up. Chamber Chair Terrie McNutt states, “Glen and Tom Porada have been invaluable in assisting Chamber Executive Director Ronni Hannaman to assure an amazing first-time event.”

As a partner in the June 29 event, NSPPS’s goal is to provide a truly authentic experience to ticket holders and that’s where Whorton’s incredible knowledge comes to play.

According to Whorton, in the early 1860s, prisoners entered the yard through a “sally port,” on the north side of the prison, long since closed. For those not knowing prison lingo, a sally port is a secure, controlled entryway for the passage of prisoners who must go through a series of gates before entering the prison yard. In more recent times, prisoners were escorted through the front entrances after the main sally port gate was blocked by a steel wall and welded shut. This week, the welds were removed recreating the historic entrance. Even those who toured the prison at the decommissioning will not have seen this historic entryway. Adding to the authenticity, attendees will be escorted through the newly found sally port.

The Chamber is proud to hold the first event within the prison walls since Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Carson City Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill’s AB377 into law on May 24. It was late Assembly District 40 Assemblyman Peter Livermore who championed the prison transformation to museum along with Myron Carpenter and the late Lee Radtke.

For more information on how to be a part of the Chamber’s historic event, go to http://www.carsoncitychamber.com/index.php/spotlight/details/chamber_annual_meeting_70th_birthday_party or call 882-1565.


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