A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 56
Sometime around daybreak I awoke suddenly to a sound on the air - music! band music! from somewhere far off. Cold shivers ran through me, and I wept softly, much to Hugh’s puzzlement. Never have I heard music more tremblingly beautiful than the distant strains of the Carson Band on its way uptown from the station in that early morning of July 25, 1904. The day dawned clear and hot. At eight o’clock the celebration started with the detonation of several rounds of powder from the top of Mount Oddie. As early as possible I dragged Hugh downtown, determined not to miss a thing. Many of the events took place on the two main streets, now hung with flags and festooned with colorful bunting. Knowing that we would have a ringside seat, we had invited our little coterie of friends to come to Hugh’s office in the Golden Block and enjoy the sights from the cool vantage point of its wide windows. The day was a welding of the pageantry of the Old West and the New: Indians, cowboys, ranchers, miners, prospectors, soldiers of fortune. Each group had its sprinkling of women and children, all decked out for the holiday; and there was something for everybody. At ten o’clock came the parade with handsome old John Cuddy at its head, mounted on a brown horse, his white hair and flowing mustache making him every inch the Marshall of the Parade. Behind him, in blue and white uniform, marched the Carson Band, followed by Indians in full regalia, eagle- feather headdress, fringed deerskin, and all. In the center of the parade came one of Tasker’s road- grading wagons turned into a float, on which rode four young girls with fluttering white dresses and flowing hair. After them came a tent mounted on a small truck pulled by a couple of young men. Tied to the back of the truck was a little grey burro, and fastened to his harness was a canvas banner that read, ME AND JIM FOUND TONOPAH. A troop of yelling cowboys and stragglers brought up the rear. One of the young ladies from the float, Miss Belle Pepper, was crowned Queen of Railroad Days in a pretty ceremony on the platform erected in the center of the street. This was followed by “ literary exercises" consisting of a stirring speech and closing with a solo by Lenore Sollender. Then we all trooped down to the railroad yard to see the driving of the golden spike. The afternoon, although very hot, was given over to races and contests: pie-eating, where little boys emerged from a tussle with black- berrypie looking as if they had been attacked by swarming bees; ladies’ nail- driving contests, where women of all ages drove nails in to a plank, hitting more fingernails than wire ones; races of every description for all ages, sexes, and nationalities.
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