The Silver State’s Special Birthday Brought Lasting Changes.

BY ERIC CACHINERO

Sesquicentennial. The impossible word is back. Not in the sense that we’re celebrating Nevada’s 150th birthday all over again, but that reverberations from the yearlong celebration in 2014 are continuing to echo throughout the state. Nevada’s sesquicentennial came and went; swelling pride from the streets of Jarbidge to the Las Vegas Strip and everywhere in-between.

The Nevada 150 Commission—the organization that spearheaded the celebration—approved a seemingly endless supply of sesquicentennial events, education, special projects, and grants, and the momentum hasn’t ceased. The commission helped facilitate several projects following the momentous birthday, some of which are here for the long haul.

Oct. 31, 2014 was certainly a day in Nevada’s history not soon forgotten, and thanks to the hard work of the Nevada 150 Commission and countless dedicated Nevadans, talk of the sesquicentennial will continue as we usher in another 150 years.

HISTORICAL MARKER LEGACY PROJECT

In September, Governor Brian Sandoval announced completion of a project that promotes and preserves Nevada’s history statewide. Thanks to collaboration between the Nevada 150 Commission, sign company YESCO, and other community partners, 116 of the more than 260 state historical markers have been replaced. Many of the markers fall victim to vandalism and disrepair, and some contain outdated wording.

“Our state’s culture and heritage will be remembered for years to come through the renewal of these important historic markers around the great state of Nevada,” Sandoval said, while speaking at an unveiling ceremony in Las Vegas.

Monetary contributions from partners reached approximately $215,000, ($165,000 provided by the Nevada 150 Commission and $50,000 in in-kind contributions from YESCO) allowing the project to be completed in record time. Typically the State Historic Preservation Office budget only allows for one or two markers to be replaced per year. Without these contributions, it may have taken 60-100 years to replace that many markers.

LINCOLN BRONZE

In February, former Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki, along with members of the Nevada Sesquicentennial Commission, presented a bronze relief of President Abraham Lincoln to the Nevada State Senate. The relief is 48 inches in diameter, and hangs in the senate chamber.

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Artist Benjamin Victor, who created the piece as a Sesquicentennial Legacy Project, has previously graced the world with his creations. His Sarah Winnemucca statue resides in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, with a replica piece located in the Neva- da State Capitol in Carson City. The artist has also created a sculpture of Helen J. Stewart, which graces the ground of the Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Las Vegas.

TIME CAPSULES

In May, Gov. Sandoval, Lt. Gov. Krolicki, and members of the Nevada 150 Commission gathered at the Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve Las Vegas to literally preserve history. A time capsule was buried at the location, with plans to be reopened in 50 years, when Nevadans will be celebrating the state’s bicentennial. The capsule is buried on a pathway connecting the Springs Preserve with the Nevada State Museum. Contents include items from the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration, including letters from Gov. Sandoval and Lt. Gov. Krolicki, Nevada 150 commemorative medallions, the sesquicentennial final report, and various Las Vegas-themed tchotchkes. Also included were mementos from the All-Star Sesquicentennial Concert at the Smith Center, Las Vegas’ first Neva- da Day Parade; all eight Nevada Magazine special issues, and more.

“Our goal with the time capsule is to capture the emotions and highlights of this past year, delivering to future Nevadans the opportunity to tangibly discover this part of their rich heritage,” said Lt. Gov. Krolicki, while speaking at the time-capsule burial. There was also a separate time capsule buried on the Nevada State Capitol grounds.

The Capitol capsule contains a commemorative belt buckle; copper medallions; a copy of the official sesquicentennial poem, “Dame Nevada;” and Nevada Magazine special issues, among other various knickknacks.

NEVADA 150 EXHIBIT

Due to be located in the newly renamed “Battle Born Hall” on the second floor of the Capitol building, the Nevada 150 exhibit will soon be here tostay. The collection features a handmade saddle using sesquicentennial silver medallions by J.M. Capriolas in Elko, a diorama titled “Home Means Nevada” using Silver State materials, a replica of the Governor’s Mansion using historical Nevada playing cards, and many other commemorative objects.

Before arriving at its final destination at the Capitol, the exhibit traveled to the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, and the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas.

BOOKS & GRANTS

The Nevada 150 Foundation—an organization responsible for completing the final directions of the Nevada 150 Commission—has also helped education and areas of historical significance through the offering of grants. In April, the foundation awarded

$50,000 in total education grants in Washoe County and to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to support Nevada history in schools. In addition, more than 100 copies of the official sesquicentennial book “Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State” have been donated to public libraries throughout Nevada.

The Nevada Indian Commission also received a grant in the amount of $20,000 to preserve oral history surrounding the Stewart Indian School in Carson City. The grant is being used to hire an oral historian to compile in-depth accounts of personal experiences and reflections related to the historic school. Audio recordings of the interviews are being archived with the Indian Commission, State Library and Archives, and Special Collections at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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