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All Washoe County Libraries are closed until further notice, in response to COVID-19. All in-person library events, including community outreaches, have been suspended until further notice. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email updates for the latest information. Digital library resources remain available at www.washoecountylibrary.us and we are working to add additional virtual events.

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Virtual Nevada Historical Society Artown Monday: Mining Then and Now

Join us for a speaker series from the Nevada Historical Society!

Mining activities in Nevada predated the Comstock by many centuries.  Deposits of obsidian, opalite, chalcedony, agate, jasper, and quartz occur throughout the state and were utilized by the early inhabitants of Nevada to fashion arrowheads, spear points, and various cutting and scraping tools. “Clovis points” found near Tonopah and Beatty and in Washoe Valley are believed to be made 10,000 or more years ago.  Much later, about 300 A.D. to 500 A.D. the Anasazi mined turquoise near Boulder City, and mined salt deposits near St. Thomas, now covered by the waters of Lake Mead in Clark County. 

 In 1850, John Orr was panning in Gold Creek near the present town of Dayton when he found a gold nugget weighing 19.4 grams.  From this find, miners began working their way up Gold Creek to its source at Mt. Davidson.  A few prospectors found some gold, but most cursed the bluish clay that plagued their pans and sluice boxes.  When the bluish clay was assayed and found to be rich in silver the “Rush To Washoe” was on and a new era of mining began.  July 1859 is the date given the discovery of the fabled Comstock Lode that helped create Nevada’s legacy. 

Mining in Nevada has changed greatly in the last 159 years. Gone is the old prospector with his trusty burro scouring the hills looking for his El Dorado.  Open pit mining is the more common avenue for the mines.  The use of cyanide which can extract much more gold and silver that mercury ever could. It is safer to use and has greatly enhanced production.  Operators now use drones to survey, monstrous trucks to haul and T-Rex size power shovels to chomp into the ground.   

Presenter: Sam Macaluso 

As a native Nevadan Sam was born and raised in the Reno/Sparks area.  He has had three careers: a banker, a teacher and a Nevada Air National Guardsman.  Sam earned a degree at UNR in history and science and Nevada history has always been his passion.   Sam Macaluso is a retired teacher with the Washoe County School District having taught from1990 to 2005.  He was an elementary teacher and taught 3rd through 6th grades.  His favorite grade was 4th grade so he could focus on Nevada History and mining in Nevada.  In 1990 he created the persona of “Sagebrush Sam the Oldest Living Miner in Nevada”.  He began by going to classes as the old Nevada storyteller.  Sagebrush Sam has taught students about gold, how to pan gold, and told stories about Nevada. He is a Nevada Historian and has many stories to tell about Nevada.  Sam has presented for OLLI on other occasions. 

Monday, July 13, 2020
10:30am - 11:30am
Zoom - Register to receive link to event
Digital Library

Registration is required. There are 88 seats available.

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