We had days of rain when we connected with our friend Beth here in Reno so we looked for indoor pursuits. We found some interesting places!
On Friday evening we went onto the University of Nevada campus to visit the Fleischmann Planetarium. It has been over five years since Randy and I have been on this campus but that previous visit remains imprinted on our minds – another Friday night in November, 2010 when BSU lost a most heartbreaking football game. Fortunately, this trip to campus was only interesting and not heartbreaking!
We watched a program about the Nevada sky and star constellations. We do not see any of those pictures when we look at the night sky!
We learned about Mercury passing between the Earth and the sun this week – something that only happens 13 times a century. (We were able to view it on Monday as telescopes were set up at the Marina.)
We also saw a presentation called the Dark Side of the Moon, a computer graphics show on the planetarium ceiling coordinated to Pink Floyd music – including the signature piece. Some of the graphics were very cool but 45 minutes of it was about 40 minutes too long.
We enjoyed looking at the Rand McNally “Blue Marble.” This 6 foot 3 inch diameter relief globe is thought to be the most accurate representation of the earth’s surface ever made.
The next day we drove to Carson City and enjoyed a British Pub lunch at Firkin and Fox. Think Fish and Chips, Cottage Pie and Chicken Pot Pie!
We also visited the Nevada State Museum held in the former Carson City Mint building.
The mint was needed because Nevada miners were getting so much gold and silver that it was inefficient to ship the ore to other places for minting. The Carson City Mint had a brief tenure, from 1870 – 1893, but still produced coins valued over $48 million. There is a viewable vault on premises with nearly all the CC marked coins ever produced in the Carson City Mint.
We learned that the United States went back and forth between a silver or gold based monetary system based on which political party was in control. Democrats generally favored a silver standard and Republicans favored gold.
Nevada, The Silver State, produced so much silver in the 1870s that France and Germany withdrew silver from circulation. The Comstock Lode, the mine responsible for much of that silver, gave another gift to the world of mining.
Comstock engineer, Philip Diedesheimer, developed the “square set stope” reinforcement technique in 1860 to keep miners safe and allow for deeper penetration into mountains. This technology is still widely used today.
The USS Nevada was outfitted with a complete silver service courtesy of the state of Nevada. It was the only battleship able to get underway during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Nevada has a sad end, however, when the Navy eventually assigned it to be a target ship in bomb experiments. After being hit by the first atomic bomb it remained afloat but was heavily damaged and radioactive. The Nevada was decommissioned and sunk during naval gunfire practice in 1948.
The state of Nevada was very instrumental in bomb experimentation beginning in January 1951. One hundred and twenty six atmospheric tests were conducted before being discontinued in 1962 – many considered to be social events.
Nevada also had the first female candidate to run for the United States Senate. Reno’s Anne Martin ran in 1918 saying “….Even if I should not win, it will never seem so strange when a woman tries it.” She lost, but garnered a respectable number of votes and paved the way as she intended.
We visited Reno’s National Automobile Museum, considered one of the five best auto museums in the United States. The museum contains 175 autos from the Harrah Collection – of Hotel and Casino fame. When the Holiday Inn chain bought the Harrah hotels, they did not want the auto collection and a separate foundation was formed to own and display the cars. At the time of the donation, 1989, the IRS determined it to be the single most valuable donation ever made in the United States. The collection is considered priceless as many of the cars are irreplaceable. The Museum currently has 225 cars, most from the original collection but others that were donated by celebrities and others.
Many of the cars are one of a kind vehicles including this orange 1937 Airomobile. This prototype was driven 45,000 miles across country at speeds up to 80 mph in an attempt to generate funding for mass production. The vehicle was a success but funding wasn’t forthcoming because of the Great Depression.
The 1938 Phantom Corsair, shown above, was designed and built by Rust Heinz who died shortly thereafter. Even though the family declined to pursue the car into production, the Corsair still wins auto awards as one of the best ever designed.
There are way too many cars to mention more than a few but here is a sampling!
The First Model Cadillac
Beth and I had fun posing in costume in the only car you are allowed to touch, a Ford Model T.
The next few days…no rain in sight. Outside we go!