Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Nevada State Museum in Carson City - Nevada's Interesting History

In downtown Carson City is the Nevada State Museum, which focuses on the fascinating history of Nevada all the way back to eons in the past. This shot shows Orinda with a 14" naval gun shell from the battleship Nevada. Interestingly, these shells (and many other munitions) are stored in the United States Arsenal located in Hawthorne, NV. 

 One of the first displays focused on the history of slot machines, which is certainly not a surprise in Nevada! We learned that many of the slot machines were developed by Mr. Charles Fey. Fey invented the first machine that could actually pay out coins and to use spinning reels. The machines shown here were built in the late 1800's.

 Gambling has played an important role in Nevada, but before slot machines, mining was the big ticket. Carson City was particularly important since Virginia City provided literally tons of silver. 

One of the big problems with mining in the Virginia City area was that the soil was not stable and cave-ins were frequentPhilip Deidesheimer was a mining engineer who came up with the idea of the "square set" timber structure, seen above. This allowed mines to be dug deeper - down to thousands of feet. 

One of the very cool features of the State Museum is that the mining section of the museum is set up just like a real mine. Rick was very impressed with this and enjoyed exploring the "mine". Orinda did not like the closed area and decided to meet Rick a bit later. 

The exit for the "mine" came out in an antique firearms display. Rick is leaning on a Gatling gun from the late 1800's. There was quite a variety of arms from the early days of Nevada including a number of small, concealed guns used by gamblers of the period. 

Since the Comstock Lode was producing tons of silver and gold, the United States decided it would be great idea to build a mint in Carson City to mint coins from the preciousness metal. The mint operated from 1869 to 1899 and pressed both gold and silver coins. Today, the State Museum is housed in the old Mint building and this was the first press used by the mint.

Silver was used for many purposes, including this spectacular silver service used on the battleship Nevada -- which served in both WW I and WW II. In fact, the Nevada was the only ship at both Pearl Harbor and the D-Day invasion of Europe. Orinda thought this would look great in the motorhome!

 Long before Nevada was a state, the area was home to a wide range of animals, including this fossil of a huge fish, as Nevada was covered by a large inland sea.

The fossil was recreated above and is a very fearsome fish indeed. I would hate to see this guy at the end of my line!

We enjoyed the Nevada State Museum and learned quite a bit about the state and the area. This was a worthwhile stop. 

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