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Exploring the Back Roads of Nevada: Genoa

Updated on December 29, 2013
The Valley where Gardnerville, Minden, and Genoa Nevada are Nestled.
The Valley where Gardnerville, Minden, and Genoa Nevada are Nestled. | Source

A Small Town Boy: Gardnerville Nevada

I was raised in Gardnerville, a small town located in Douglas County Nevada, that sleeps quietly under the shade of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Near the foothills of the mountains is a small town called Genoa Nevada. When you drive through Genoa you can see the history in the buildings as you glance around from the towns one stop sign.

You can stop in at the local bar that has served drinks since the days of "The Wild West." The mirror behind the bar still has visible gold dust that was built into it back during the Comstock Lode.

To me Genoa is where I had one of my first jobs, at a ranch a short drive out of town. I also have memories of running around during "The Candy Dance" or trying to sneak into Walley's Hot Springs with my friends for a dip.

Genoa may be small but it is rich in history and is located in an incredible valley that will take your breath away with every glance.

The Entrance into Genoa.
The Entrance into Genoa. | Source
Historic Downtown Genoa
Historic Downtown Genoa | Source

Genoa: One of Nevada's Oldest

Prior to 1851 the area that is Genoa now had only been seen by a few explorers and trappers of "The Wild West."

In 1851 John Reese built a trading post in Genoa. Upon completion of the post settlers began to stop in Genoa for supplies. Since John Reese was Mormon the settlement was called "Mormom Station."

Reese brought his family from New York City and they added a Blacksmith and a Corral for livestock. Genoa was located directly in the path of the Overland Emigrant Trail, which became the towns main street.

Due to it's location Mormon Station provided Reese with a large amount of money. So large, that when the Mormon's were called back to Salt Lake City in 1857, Reese refused and stayed.

Yet, in 1859, the town saw a decline in travellers and Reese left and took his family to Salt Lake City.

Orson Hyde, a Mormon Elder from Salt Lake City, heard about Mormon Station from Reese and decided to go there himself. He arrived and renamed Mormon Station as Genoa after his hero Columbus's birthplace.

Hyde was the first Judge to live in the area and helped to determine the land that was to become the "Utah Territory" and eventually Nevada. He helped Douglas County become a commercial center during the territorial days of "The Wild West."

He also began the deswamping of the valley and helped to built the area into the Agricultural center that it is today.

On June 28th 1910 a fire destroyed most of Genoa and the remaining historical landmarks were moved to the foothills outside Gardnerville Nevada, where it is today.

Genoa Nevada

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Golf Course at Genoa
Golf Course at Genoa | Source

Genoa Lakes Golf Club

My brother's first job was as a caddy at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club. He would get up early and begin his day with an incredible view of Gardnerville and the valley.

Genoa Lakes Golf Club is a pair of championship golf courses that are two miles apart from each other. This leads to a unique golfing experience with plenty of lakes and wildlife.

The course is fun yet challenging and built in a gorgeuos link style layout with incredible views of the Carson Valley.

Wally's Hot Springs
Wally's Hot Springs | Source
Wally's Hot Springs Resort
Wally's Hot Springs Resort | Source

Walley's Hot Springs

Walley's Hot Springs are located a few miles North of Genoa and 18 miles East of Lake Tahoe. It is a year round resort that offers a variety of services with incredible hot springs.

The resort has an outdoor pool, six natural hot springs, steam rooms, dry sauna's, fitness rooms, laundry facilities, and a business center.

There is also a Billiards room, a playground, restaurant, deil/cafe, and a variety of wedding services. My best friend from High School had his wedding ceremony at Walley's along with the reception and it was a beautiful and memorable moment.

The resort also offers one to two bedroom suites with full kitchens, fireplaces, and balconies. From your room you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee looking out over the scenic Carson Valley.

The Candy Dance

In 1919 Genoa needed to raise funds for street lights. Lillian Virgin Finnegan suggested a dance where the local candy makers could serve candy to the participants during the festivities.

Along with a midnight supper at the Raycraft Hotel, the Candy Dance brought in enough money to build the street lights with left over funds remaining.

Genoa still had problems covering their electricity costs and decided to make The Candy Dance a yearly event to help pay for this cost. The event brings in hundreds of people every year.

Sept 28th through the 29th from 9am to 5pm The Mormon Station Historic State Monument Grounds brings to the attendees of The Candy Dance: candy, local arts and crafts, and a variety of local live music.

I have been attending this event every year since I was in Elementary School and have never been dissappointed.

Genoa Cowboy Poetry Festival

The Genoa Cowboy Poetry Festival began in 2010 and is going strong.

From May 2nd to May 4th a large variety of Cowboy Poets and Country Musicians perform in Genoa at the Monument Grounds for three days of dancing and "The Wild West."

Here is a list of some of the performer's from last year:

Riders in the Sky

Waddie Mitchell

Hot Club of Cowtown

Saddle Cats

and many more...

I hope you visit Genoa and find it as peaceful and relaxing as I do. Happy travels and I will see you with the next installment of "Exploring the Back Roads..."


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    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Fiery Angel Arts. Jamie

    • Fiery Angel Arts profile image

      Jinet Marte 4 years ago from Providence, RI

      Wow what an incredible description and imagery of your hometown! It makes me wanna pack up and go for a visit. Great hub. Well written and supported... Thanks for sharing a piece of your life and history.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Astra Nomik and AUPADHYAY. Jamie

    • AUPADHYAY profile image


      A very thoughtfully explored and well knitted info hub. Appreciated your work and voted it up too.

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 4 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      Wow, what a great and informative tour of Genoa and Nevada. I enjoyed this so much. Rated up and I recommend this to everyone.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Jo, if you are ever on this side of the world stop on by! Jamie

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Jamie, this is a wonderful virtual trip to Genoa Nevada, I'm fast becoming an intrepid traveller through the window of my laptop, thank you for the interesting tour.

      Great job.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Theresa, it is good to hear from you. I hope that your Holidays are going well, everything is fine on our end. Jamie

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Jaimie -

      I have been out of the loop so long, I didn't even know about your new series. I like it. Interesting, informative, beautifully descriptive. Definitely makes one long for a road trip with some good friends. I hope you December is going well. Blessings! Theresa

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Faith, Jodah, and old albion for stopping by to read and leave comments on my new hub. I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season. Jamie

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jamie. A rare treat here, a first class tour of Nevada. A name which brings to mind visions of Cowboys and Stetsons. Tip Top.


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very informative and interesting trip to Genoa, Jamie. I felt like I was actually on a tour of the place, a testament to your easy going writing style. Well done.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Thanks for taking us along to Genoa! Very interesting and beautiful photos. Now, how awesome is that ... a cowboy poetry festival!!!

      Up and more and sharing

      Great hub dear Jamie!

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you annart and valleypoet for the encouraging words and I can't wait to read the next installments. Jamie

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      Jamie...your hubs in this series are so good. I love the pictures, and the historical information is both informative and interesting. Great work. Thank you for the link, I will of course do the same:-))

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      What a varied place this is. You've managed to give us a geography trip and a history lesson all in one go and it's fascinating.

      I'll link this to my 'Exploring the back roads..' hubs, straight away!

      Great hub! Ann