Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
February 20, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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February 20, 1997

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16 Thursday, February 20, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Gazette on the street... What do you think of the airline situation the strike and the fare cuts ? P00rump Pahrump I wantc was surprised the strike." much money i i " fl I ii i Reno, Carson City and Virginia City make quite a splash in the literature of our history. Steamboat Springs, on the other hand, some twelve miles down Highway 395 between Reno and Carson City, just rusticates away, ig- nored and unknown. Officials of the U.S. Geological Survey estimate that the geothermal activity in the area Night date back some 3,000,000 years and anthropologists have found evidence of human occupation of several thousand years duration. Located on a branch of the Overland Trail, Steamboat Springs was named by a chronicler in May 1850 who, ap- proaching the area, took the pillars of vapor and the gur- gling and hissing of the hot pools to be a steamer running up the Sacramento river. When he arrived, he found the springs rather than a river conveyance, but the name stuck. When the Comstock Lode boomed in the early 1860s, Steamboat Springs became a resort. In January 1860, J.W. Cameron and five of his friends established a ranch on the site. Cameron initially built a shed for steam baths and followed up with a small hotel that summer. Dr. James Ellis had located there earlier in the spring, building a bath house which would accommodate thirty-six patients. He was dispossessed by Charles W. Cullins, a successor to Cameron, in a title suit in 1867. Cullins patented the land and built a depot when the Virginia & Truckee Railroad was constructed to that point in November 1871. Two years later, June 1873, Cullins fell into a hot pool and was scalded to death. John and Matt Rapp of Virginia City took over in September 1874 and were soon taking in $3,000 a day. Comstock mining entrepreneurs made Steamboat their headquarters from time to time, and the Rapp broth- ers began advertising the marvelous curative powers of the waters for those suffering from blood disorders, rheumatic afflictions and "nervous imbalances." The V&T connec- tion also added to the popularity of their enterprise, draw- ing Renoites out for picnics and holiday celebrations. The decline of the mines in the 1880s, however, and the ensu- ing economic hard times shut the resort down in 1895. Five III iiiiiiiiii I iiiii I I ii ii i Nevada- then and now The Saga of Steamboat Springs By Phillip I. Earl Nevada Historical Society years later, December 1, 1900, an earthquake shifted the un- derground plates and the springs dried up. In April 1901, a fire burned the hotel and the bath houses to the ground. / Dr Edna Carver, owner of Steamboat Springs, 1918-1954 The resort went through a number of owners over the next decade, but was never the same. In 1909, a Denver os- teopath, Dr. Edna J. Carver, bought the springs, but title prob- lems and legal wrangling with previous owners kept her from taking possession until 1918. She brought in drillers who reached the thermal belt at 165 feet initially and 180 feet later. She also rebuilt the hotel and baths and made the facility a health center. Dr. Carver never allowed casino gambling at Steam- boat, nor did she encourage drinking. In 1924, she con- tracted with a boxing promoter to allow her facility to be sued for training purposes. A Basque heavyweight, Paolino Uzcudun, trained at Steamboat for a 1931 fight with Mas Baer, and King Levinski, a Chicago heavyweight, was there in 1932. Other fighters who have called Steam- boat home for a time have included Lloyd Marshall, a vet- eran middleweight, Tony Olivera, once American bantam- weight champion, and Ray Impelliterre. Steamboat Springs has been plagued with fires over the years. On May 8 1925, a brush fire nearby destroyed a large bath house and damaged the main building and other bathing facilities. Two years later, Dr. Carver had the bath house rebuilt, installing mineralized cabinets, hydro-min- eral tanks and mineralized mud baths. The main hotel burned on June 17, 1937 and Was rebuilt-later in the year, only to bum again in April 1942. In the spring of 1950, Dr. Carver organized the "Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce" to promote her enterprise. On May 31, she put out the "Steamboat Whistle:' a promotional publication. Edited by Mrs. Mary Bain and carrying a masthead depicting an old paddlewheel steamer designed by Craig Sheppard, University of Ne- vada art professor, the paper was written entirely by hand and copied on stencils for mimeographing, perhaps Nevada's last handwritten newspaper. As to future issues, Dr. Carver said that they would he printed and distributed on a "regular irregular basis" or "whenever we feel the necessity." There was never another issue. Dr. Carver died at Steamboat on June 20, 1954. Her son, Dural E. Towne of Portland, and a grandson, William J. Towne, inherited the resort and a daughter-in-law, Dor- othy Towne, operated the facility for many years. A drug rehabilitation organization was headquartered there in the 1970s and a religious group, International Community of Christ, currently runs the resort. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOROTHY TOWNE 0