July 23, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

The Yerington House 1870 (note the blue line) - Henry Marvin Yerington was an important figure in the development of Carson City and surrounding areas. In 1872 he became the General Superintendent of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad and was also responsible for the Carson & Colorado Railroad that ran from Carson City, down through Wabuska, Hawthorne, Mina and Luning before turning west through Bishop and south to Keeler, California. The town of Pizen Switch changed its name to Yerington in hopes of gaining favor with Henry Yerington and encouraging him to add a connecting railroad track to the town.

The Kit Carson Blue Line Trail

The Kit Carson Blue Line Trail

By Richard Massey

The Historic Coleman House – Illustrates the beautiful detail typical of early Victorian-style houses.

If you have ever watched a John Wayne western, read a Mark Twain novel, or had a ride on a Ferris wheel, you are sure to enjoy your adventure along the Kit Carson Blue Line Trail. This 2.5-mile-long blue line (painted on the sidewalk) directs visitors through Carson City’s historic district on the west side of town.

A walk along the trail takes you past beautiful examples of early Victorian architecture and some of the city’s first government buildings.

Often referred to as The Blue Line Trail or simply The Blue Line, it is the brain child of Candy Duncan and Mary Walker. At the time, Duncan was the Executive Director of the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau while Walker was the City’s Finance Director. They came up with the idea after hearing about the popular Freedom Trail that runs through Boston’s historic district.

Duncan states, “Our trail was painted blue because Nevada’s colors are silver and blue. We named it The Kit Carson Blue Line Trail in honor of the famous scout who first visited this area in 1844. Work on the Blue Line started in 1994 and the first walk took place in May of that year.”

 

 

The Blue Line is an easy walk that takes you down quiet shaded streets, past quaint shops, art galleries, a variety of eateries, and beautiful homes from the mid-1800s and early 1900s. There are benches along the way where you can relax or just do some “people watching”.

You don’t need to walk the entire line to enjoy the experience. With your map in hand, it is easy to divide the Blue Line into sections and cover just the areas that interest you. If you prefer to drive-and-park, there is ample free parking. Bicycling is another popular way to travel the line.

The main attraction is visiting the magnificent old homes associated with the rich-and-famous. This is where John Wayne, Mark Twain and the Ferris wheel become part of our story. See photos and captions.

 

 

 

Krebs-Peterson House (1914) – John Wayne fans will immediately recognize this house because of the roll it played in John Wayne’s last film “The Shootist”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clemens House (1864) – Orion Clemens owned the house and his brother, Samuel (aka Mark Twain) was a frequent visitor. At the time, Mark Twain worked as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise In nearby Virginia City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferris House (1869) – This was the childhood home of George Washington Gale Ferris, inventor of the Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel first appeared in 1893 at the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

Adjacent to the residential area is a section of the trail that extends along Carson Blvd. (the main street through Carson City) and doesn’t have the blue line. Here the line is replaced by brass markers in the sidewalk…each with a distinct picture that represents a famous person or event in Carson City’s history. This part of the trail is where you find museums, government buildings (old and new), plus restaurants and a variety of “watering holes”.

Start Here

Kyle Horvath, the Social Media Manager for the Carson City Visitors Bureau at 716 N, Carson St. suggests, “Before starting your tour, stop by our office. Our staff is up to date on all the latest activities in the area and we have free brochures that include a map of the trail and information about the historic landmarks.”

You may want to plan your walk to include other interesting events. During the summer, on the first Saturday of each month, is the Carson City Wine Walk. Another thing you shouldn’t miss is the Carson City Ghost Walk. Both activities are very popular and take place on sections of the Blue Line.

 

One of the most popular stops along the walk is the historic Brewery Arts Center. The main building was constructed in 1864 as the Carson Brewing Company. This was Carson City’s first brewery and produced Tahoe Beer with the slogan, “As famous as the lake.” Today the Art Center is a focal point for art, culture, and entertainment. The center has two galleries, a theater for the performing arts, a ballroom, artist studios, a photography darkroom, and a cozy coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.

Ghost Walk

Who doesn’t enjoy a good ghost story? Join Mary Bennett on one of her Ghost Walks and you will hear dozens of them. The tour stops at numerous spots along the Blue Line where Bennett shares stories about the bazaar and often humorous events that have taken place.

Bennett adds to the atmosphere by wearing an all-black period costume and playing the role as the ghost of Madam Curry. Her “ghostly” outfit includes a hat with small skeletons dancing around the band. Bring your umbrella because the tour takes place come rain or shine. The walk lasts about ninety minutes and is fun for the entire family.

While research was being done for a potential Kit Carson Blue Line Trail, residents and shop keepers were interviewed about the history and details of their buildings. Time after time, there were reports of strange events and paranormal activity. These stories would later form the foundation for the Carson City Ghost Walk.

Printed on the front door of the Carson City Visitors Center is, “The experience starts here.” So, for a great experience, bring your family and friends to the Kit Carson Blue Line Trail.

 

Getting There

Start your adventure at the Carson City Visitor Center at 716 N. Carson Street (on the corner of Carson Street [Hwy 395 bus] and Washington Street). If you arrive after hours, head to the Brewery Arts Center and follow the blue line on the sidewalk. There are distinct information markers along the way. The fascinating Ghost Walk Tours start at the Firkin and Fox Restaurant located at 310 S. Carson Street.

Before you go:

Carson City Visitors Bureau

Visitor Center & Gift Shop

716 N. Carson Street

Carson City, NV 89701

visitcarsoncity.com

 

Brewery Arts Center

449 W. King Street

Carson City, NV 89703

breweryarts.org

775-720-8011

 

Carson City Downtown Business Association

(This group organizes the Carson City Wine Walk)

downtowncarson.org

 

Carson City Ghost Walk

carsoncityghostwalk.com

775-348-6279

 

This story first appeared in Sierra Heritage magazine and is reproduced here with their permission.

 

 

Richard Massey, photo by Robin Travis

Richard Massey is an international award-winning photojournalist and freelance-writer. He has a passion for film and does much of his photography using vintage film cameras…as seen here. His interest in teaching has led him to start a photography YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChdW0Jjsca47EpKE5N_jtag