Bently Heritage distillery owners earn Preserve Nevada Legacy award

Former U.S. Senator Richard Bryan, chair of Preserve Nevada, speaks at the group's recent meeting and awards ceremony at The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah.

Former U.S. Senator Richard Bryan, chair of Preserve Nevada, speaks at the group's recent meeting and awards ceremony at The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah.

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — The Bently Foundation and leaders Christopher and Camille Bently were named the first Legacy Award recipients at the Preserve Nevada Awards held in Tonopah recently.

Bently preserved and restored the historic Farmers Bank of Minden building, which now houses their offices, as well as repurposing the Flour Mill and Creamery buildings into the Bently Heritage Estate Distillery.

The award was presented by Honor Settelmeyer Jones, a Carson Valley native whose family first came to the area during the 1880s.

Preserve Nevada's board chairman, former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Richard Bryan, made the presentation at a Preserve Nevada meeting in Tonopah.

“We could honor so many people and organizations who have shown a deep commitment to preserving Nevada's past,” Bryan said. “We are proud to have this group receive our first set of awards for their wonderful efforts.”

Each recipient at the Preserve Nevada awards event received a historic railroad lantern with the name and award inscribed, as well as the nickname for the award: “The Bonnie,” in honor of Bonnie Bryan, Nevada's First Lady from 1983-89.

She was an advocate for historic preservation in that position and as a longtime member of the Junior League of Las Vegas who helped that group obtain and restore the Morelli House, and the late wife of Senator Bryan.

The Preserve Nevada awards include four other categories:

1. Individual contributions

Preserve Nevada honored Nancy and Fred Cline, California winemakers who restored The Mizpah Hotel, which opened in 1907 as Tonopah's first luxury hotel.

Its builders included such legendary Nevada figures as former U.S. Senator George Nixon and mining and hotel magnate George Wingfield. The Clines now are restoring the Belvada, originally the state bank and trust building, to serve as a high-end hotel.

Their interest in Tonopah grew from Nancy Cline's ancestry: her great-uncle Harry Ramsey owned several mines there, and her ancestor Emma Bunting was Goldfield's first postal matron. Tonopah resident and preservationist Joni Eastley presented the award to a family representative.

2. Organization contributions

The Nevada Women's History Project has brought attention the role of women in Nevada's history for more than 20 years.

It was involved in choosing Sarah Winnemucca, the Northern Paiute author and activist, as Nevada's second representative in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill.

Its website and publications include more than 175 oral histories, 150 biographies, and 11 videos. Chair Patti Bernard, recording secretary Marcia Cuccaro, corresponding secretary Christiane Hamel, and financial officer and treasurer Jon Hamel accepted their awards.

3. Educator

Ron James spent three decades in charge of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and served on numerous federal and state boards that added buildings to the National Register of Historic Places and the list of National Historic Landmarks.

“But as he did these duties, “ Bryan said, “he was, above all, educating us about historic preservation and our obligations to history.”

In addition to teach history classes for many years, James has published numerous books and articles on Nevada's history and historic preservation, including The Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode, Temples of Justice: County Courthouses of Nevada, and Nevada's Historic Buildings: A Cultural Legacy.

4. Government service

Jim Bertolini has been official historian and National and State Historic Register and Certified Local Government program coordinator for the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office since 2014.

He has worked on the state historic register designation for the La Concha Motel, built on the Las Vegas Strip in 1961, designed by Paul Revere Williams, and now part of the Neon Museum.

He helped obtain national register status for the Harrison House, the West Las Vegas home that served as a boarding house for entertainers and prominent African Americans not allowed to stay on the Strip or downtown in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

Bertolini was present to accept the award and, in keeping with his work, joining his colleague Karyn DuFour in making a presentation to the group about historic preservation. State museum board chair Bob Stoldal presented the award.


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