Carson City Ghost Walk
September – October 2016
Step through history with a supernatural twist.
BY KEN BEATON
At the 24th annual Carson City Ghost Walk, you can walk, but you can’t hide from the supernatural entertainment and historical folly. This is not your high school history class: Carson City’s rich and intriguing history will be fully explored and theatrically relived.
The Carson City Ghost Walk Tour is a delightfully spooky and enjoyable way to experience Carson City’s rich Victorian Era history. Learn about lingering spirits of the nineteenth century, and hear haunted and paranormal stories. This year’s spirit-led, guided walking tour of the downtown district’s west side historic homes will be held Oct. 22 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Carson City’s most entertaining character, Madame Curry—wife of Carson City founder Abe Curry—leads the ghost walk. The fictionalized portrayal of Madame Curry is the work of Mary Bennett, who has been involved in the ghost walk since it began in 1993. She and her daughter, Baylee Biber, have run the business since 2011.
“The first time I did the ghost walk, many years ago now, I fell in love with the moments of history that were presented, the architecture, and the personalities,” Mary says.
As the producing artistic director at the Bruka Theater in Reno, Mary’s love of the theatrical was a perfect fit, and came to inform how she wanted to entertain and educate people during the ghost walk.
“I wanted to produce it in a way that made people feel like they were going back in time, meeting people, and understanding their experiences in a deeper more meaningful way,” she says. “Each year that we do the walk, we find out a little bit more about our history and these people, we meet special people that share a story or experience, we see all that the people of Carson City do to keep the town beautiful and unique.”
WALKING THROUGH TIME
The Governor’s Mansion is this year’s featured home. For the first 40 years of statehood, Nevada’s governors were responsible for their residence, but then Mrs. T. B. Rickey sold 1.8 acres of land to the state for $10. Legend has it she was upset with her husband’s lengthy business trips, and upon his return, he was unhappy but didn’t want to renege on the deal. The Governor’s Mansion was completed in 1909, and Governor Denver S. Dickerson was the first sitting governor to occupy the residence. His daughter, June, is the only child ever born in the Governor’s Mansion. The mansion is said to be haunted by June and her mother, so watch for books that may fall off shelves.
The tour will also take you to the Krebs-Peterson house built in 1914. John Wayne’s last movie, “The Shootist,” was filmed at the house. Lauren Bacall’s character, Bond Rogers owns a boarding house where Wayne’s character, J. B. Books, rents the right front bedroom. During the tour, if you look carefully, you may just see Books standing before the window.
Other outdoor stops r include the Bliss Mansion, a three-story, 8,500-square-foot home built in 1879 by Duane L. Bliss, and the home of George Ferris, Jr., inventor of the Ferris Wheel.
“We get to remember the people from our past that did so much, from the mid-1800s to today,” Mary explains. “This is the gift of continuing to do the evening walking tours and the annual ghost walk. It’s falling in love with the community again and again, and sharing stories in an illuminating and theatrical way.”
WALK THE WALK
At the ghost walk on Oct. 22, the 90-minute guided walking tour leaves every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Please check-in at least 10 minutes before your walk begins.
Saturday evening tours also happen on Sept. 17 and Sept. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance with an online fee. Tickets at the door are $20. Children under 3 are free and strollers are welcomed. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes.
For more information visit carsoncityghostwalk.com or call 775-348-6279.