ELKO, Nev. – A Chautauqua on former Nevada Governor John Sparks is planned for Saturday, July 13, at the California Trail Interpretive Center. Presented by Dr. Michael Fischer, former director of Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chautauqua will begin at 2 p.m. and is free.
Governor Sparks, a cattleman who ranched in eastern Elko County north of Wells, was elected Nevada’s tenth governor in 1902. He served from 1902 to 1908. He was born in Mississippi in 1843 and as a young man moved to Texas, began ranching and became a cowboy.
In 1881, he and partner, John Tinnin, bought the HD Ranch in the Thousand Springs Valley, eventually running 30,000 cattle. At its peak, Sparks-Tinnin was said to control 6 percent of the land in Nevada. The railroad town of Sparks, Nevada was named for the former Governor in 1904.
Dr. Michael Fischer, from Gardnerville, Nevada, is a retired dentist, lifelong Nevadan and a University of Nevada, Reno graduate. At the end of the performance, Fischer will come out of character to visit with the audience and answer questions.
A Chautauqua is annual educational meeting, originating in Chautauqua Village in upstate New York, providing public lectures, concerts or dramatic performances during the summer months. This program is sponsored by the Nevada Humanities Committee
The California Trail Interpretive Center is located 8 miles west of Elko at exit 292, Hunter. The Center is open Wed. through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 775-738-1849 or visit the Trail Center websites www.blm.gov/cv5c or www.californiatrailcenter.org, or on Facebook at California Trail Interpretive Center Association.