By Pat Ferraro Klos
Pershing County: 100 Years was born out of a neighborhood in Lovelock, Nevada, where four friends lived — where four generations of their families met, gathered, talked, and told stories based on the history of that part of northern Nevada. Lovelock’s arms embraced these women who all graduated the University of Nevada and returned to the area again and again, never realizing that one day their love of town and country would lead to a book celebrating the county’s 100th birthday on March 12, 2019.
All four authors of this book four-wheeled in the mountains of Pershing—some as children, several as young mothers with children in tow. Deanne Davidson memorialized scenery and history through photographs, Pat Ferraro Klos wrote about old bottles and the detritus of abandoned sites and ghost towns, Lynda Quilici captured the beauty and uniqueness of Pershing in her paintings; and Jane Tors collected stories and shared them willingly. We all gathered tart choke cherries along stream beds and the delectable pine nuts of the piñon pine so revered by the Paiutes, and then, after Thanksgiving, we returned to the hills to cut piñon pine trees for Christmas.
When Deanne’s business, Second Glance (a photography, matting, and framing business), formally introduced us to the scope of Pershing County, an idea was born. And the book Rye Patch Quilts by Deanne and Lynda caught our attention, we knew we had a project. We met in Lower Valley in October 2015, Deanne turned on her computer, and we looked at several thousand images all the while saying, “we should do this; we can do this!”
Longtime families encouraged us with stories and offered photos hidden away in albums for years. We found people anxious to discuss their ethnic heritage, sometimes from humble beginnings to successful businesses. The idea for a section on brands sent new investigative research our way as did visiting Burning Man to experience that drama in the desert in northern Pershing County. Revisiting ghost towns and then digging up their histories took three years to complete, but during those years the dinners, lunches, interviews, and correspondence led to laughter and anecdotes none of us will forget.
We know this book, the first of its kind in Nevada, will add great depth to the body of knowledge of Nevada and especially to its “baby” county, the youngest county in the state.
Pat Ferraro Klos is a third-generation Nevadan with roots in seven northern Nevada counties. She is an historian, writer, educator, and historic preservationist who lived for many years in Lovelock. She currently lives in Reno and is a former board member of Nevada Humanities. Jane Fundis Tors, who wrote this book’s preface, is the current Nevada Humanities board chair. Pershing County: 100 Years will be available for purchase through Baobab Press in September 2018. This book will also be featured as part of a panel discussion at the 2018 Nevada Humanities Literary Crawl on Saturday, September 15 in Reno.
Images courtesy of Pat Klos and Deanne Davidson