History of Nevada Diversity

Sarah Winnemucca

Sarah Winnemucca (1844-91) was one of the most influential and charismatic American Indian women in American history. Born near the Humboldt River Sink to a legendary family of Paiute leaders, at a time when the Paiutes' homeland and way of life were increasingly threatened by the influx of white settlers, Winnemucca dedicated much of her life to working for her people.

Samuel Platt

Samuel Platt, distinguished lawyer and public servant in early twentieth-century Nevada, was born in Carson City in 1874 of Jewish Prussian-Polish parents. He attended the local public schools, winning honors in oratory and art. Platt taught school in Carson City and Gardnerville before matriculating to Stanford University in 1893 for two years. He passed the Nevada bar exam in 1896 and then proceeded to Columbian (later George Washington University) Law School in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor of letters degree.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr. suffered the pains of racial segregation in Nevada years before he was recognized as one of the greatest all-around performers. Born in Harlem in 1925 to vaudeville dancers, Davis learned to dance from his father and Will Mastin, whom he called his uncle. They formed the Will Mastin Trio, and Davis continued that billing with them long after he became a star. Throughout his career, he amazed critics, fans, and fellow entertainers with his ability to sing, dance, and play numerous instruments.

Rock Art of Nevada

“Rock art” is the collective term for a variety of forms of visual representation made on natural rocky surfaces (boulders, cliff faces, cave walls, etc.) and are found throughout the world. Pictographs and petroglyphs represent the two main techniques used to make rock art. Pictographs are made through an additive process, where they are applied to the rock surface, and include paintings, charcoal drawings, stencils, prints. Petroglyphs are made by a reductive process, in which they are cut into the rock by engraving, pecking, incising or abrasion.

Robert Heizer

Robert Fleming Heizer was one of two towering figures who dominated Great Basin archaeology after World War II. Heizer, of the University of California at Berkeley, focused on understanding the sequences of past periods of occupation. The other, Jesse Jennings of the University of Utah, worked with Great Basin prehistoric sites, developing the notion of the Desert Archaic Lifeway. Heizer excavated at Nevada's Lovelock Cave, Humboldt Cave, and Eastgate Cave, and his students excavated numerous caves throughout Northern Nevada.

Robert G. Schofield

English-born Robert G. Schofield (1838-1915) regularly placed advertisements in the Pioche Record that touted his skills as a watchmaker, jeweler, engraver, housepainter, and signmaker. In addition, there was a constant thread throughout Schofield's life—his love of art, mostly expressed in watercolor paintings that painstakingly recorded vistas and mining camps along the eastern flank of Nevada.

Rise of the Mormon Church

While fur trappers and government scouts were the first Americans to traverse the Great Basin, its early white settlers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons, as they were called, arrived in the late 1840s seeking isolation.

Riepetown

As "company towns" began to expand in White Pine County in the early 1900s, several other communities were developed to provide additional housing and services to area miners. But because they were not subject to the strict laws of company towns, they quickly turned into wild and rowdy communities with economies that revolved around prostitution and liquor. Riepetown's dubious business district managed to outlast those of the others.

Reno's Italian Amerians

For almost 150 years Reno, Nevada, has had an Italian American presence. In the late 1860s, Italian immigrants began migrating to the Truckee Meadows and its surroundings. After arriving in American ports on the West Coast as well as the East Coast, the immigrants who had the means moved to more amenable locations in the interior of the country. They sought out areas of the United States where the climates would be similar to those they had left behind in Europe.

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