Ronni Hannaman: Carson City history comes alive on Scavenger Hunt

What distinguishes Carson City from every other city in Nevada is its unique history, and every citizen of this city should become familiar with how our city shaped the history of Nevada that still resonates today.

Yes, for some, history elicits a yawn, but once you get into it, the history of a community can be fascinating and will get you off your couch and perhaps onto your bicycle, for much of our history can be found within the downtown core where bike riding is easy. Don’t own a bike? Well, you can walk to many of the sites.

To celebrate Historic Preservation and Archaeological Awareness Month, the Carson City Historic Commission has prepared a Scavenger Hunt to engage and encourage each of us to get out and explore the city in which we live. You’ll discover areas you may have missed and have fun doing it. You may even take award-winning photos and be the one to win a $50 gift certificate.

The hunt will open your eyes to the unique stone structures built from the sandstone quarried from our historic Nevada State Prison and found all over the downtown. So important was this stone when the downtown was reimagined in 2016, replicas of the stone was formed into sitting areas all along Carson Street.

Many Hollywood films were shot here including the last film made by John Wayne that featured a prominent home still found on the Kit Carson Trail. Your hunt will take you all along this historic trail that our forefathers and many governors called home. Even Mark Twain walked our streets many times and enjoyed a brew or two in local bars — when he lived with his brother Orion Clements who was the Territorial Secretary. No cookie cutter homes here!

Should you be the winner of the hunt, you’ll find yourself dining in one of the most historical structures still operating today as a popular stop for locals and visitors who wish to relax with a fine meal and drink. The Pony Express stopped here to pick up and deliver mail.

Carson City lost many famous buildings due to neglect and almost lost the site where gold and silver coins were minted for the federal government and where collector silver coins are still minted today. Yet, many locals haven’t toured this famous building containing so much of Nevada’s history.

Make the Scavenger Hunt a family outing. Or, assemble teams to create competition and then celebrate and compare notes at one of the many new restaurants in downtown.

I’ve purposely not named any buildings when dropping some clues that might give you an advantage when participating in the hunt. Get out and enjoy the beautiful month of May. Carson City is a special place. You have until May 31 to complete the hunt. For complete details, go to

Ronni is the Executive Director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce and encourages all to learn more about this fabulous city.


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