Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 | 1:18 a.m.
Day 3, Nevada Heartland trip, end-of-day update
As I write this, I’m sitting at the bar in the Belmont Inn & Saloon, drinking a Coke and taking in the atmosphere. There’s a vintage cash register behind the bar, crowned with a set of bullhorns, a mirror is framed by a great wooden bar back that dates back nearly 100 years and the original walls of the building, which dates to 1866, are stone.
Owner Rick Main knows Nevada history well, and since buying the inn in February, he has labored to restore the building. He took Mike and I on a tour, saving the saloon for last – it was the office of the Belmont Courier in the late 1800s. He points to the front door; it’s wider than any other exterior door. He asked if we knew why and said that no one had yet answered that correctly, though he holds out hope for us because of our profession. I knew – it was to pull the presses out – a feature Nevada newspapers in the 1800s certainly needed.
A 1940 guide to Nevada noted that the famous Territorial Enterprise, which employed Mark Twain, “was also first of the many presses that moved from center to center, shifting with the population when mining excitement developed in a new zone.”
Belmont was once the center of mining excitement. It was the first seat of Nye County. Tasker Oddie, who would become a governor and U.S. senator, lived here. The remains of his house are just up the hill. Then the mining boom bust, and Belmont became a near ghost town. But it is fairly well preserved, thanks to people who have over the years lived here and essentially served as caretakers.
Mike and I plan to spend more time exploring Belmont in the morning. It’s a beautiful spot. I’m wrapping up so late because we had a great night – dinner with Rick and two men who are helping him restore the inn. We talked about Nevada and what makes it special. Then, we retreated to the saloon – a great room with a high wooden ceiling – to talk more. I hope to tell you a few more stories about Belmont and the inn on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as some other things we’re finding along the way.
If you have a Nevada story and/or photos you’d like to share, please do so. Also, please let us know what else we should consider seeing and doing over the next year. You can do so by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.