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Tour the new Kit Carson Trail in Carson City

Memory Lane, Modernized

By Natasha Bourlin

Kit Carson Trail
Kit Carson Trail

Meandering down memory lane has been modernized in Carson City.

Freshly hewn markers were crafted by inmates at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, from sandstone mined from the historic quarry at the Nevada State Prison.

A project orchestrated by a trio of partners Visit Carson City, Silver State Industries and Carson City Public Works, the markers and a new route are fresh ways to commemorate the tremendous history within Nevada’s state capital.

The newly rejuvenated Kit Carson Trail pays homage to the abundant historical structures throughout the west side of Carson City.

When Abraham Curry settled in Eagle Valley in 1858, he had foresight few others had for the area.

Considered the father of Carson City, which he named for frontiersman Kit Carson, he led the building of many structures still standing today from the sandstone mined from the quarry on the site of the Nevada State Prison.

These longstanding monuments include the Carson City Mint and his personal residence.

The newly rejuvenated Kit Carson Trail pays homage to the abundant historical structures throughout the west side of Carson City.

History in the making

Many iterations of the new markers were reviewed before a final design was settled on. Inmates from the Northern Nevada Correctional Center then embedded medallions from the Carson City Mint into sandstone to create the new homage to Carson City’s history.

It was a “labor of love,” says Teri Vance, marketing coordinator for Silver State Industries. Crafters became personally involved in the effort that would survive generations, excited to leave their own mark on the city.

Why commemorate the city’s history with 130-pound stones mined nearby?

Because in the town’s early days, carriage stones were often placed in front of buildings so ladies in long dresses could step daintily from their carriages onto a step. Many of these original stones remain at residence and business entrances today.

Kit Carson Trail
Kit Carson Trail
An homage to city founders

A total of 48 stops are found along the 2.5-mile Kit Carson Trail, which was also rerouted for touring ease in the new guide available for download at Visit Carson City. Printed copies can also be picked up in the Carson City Mint within the Nevada State Museum.

In the guide, visitors can find information on the historical stops they’ll see, a feat accomplished with the help of the Carson City Historical Society and the Historic Resources Commission.

Officials involved in the project, Carson City Marketing Manager Lydia Bruegge and SSI’s Vance, explain that the KCT is one of the region’s biggest draws, because of the historical aspect. The easy-to-follow trail makes history feel accessible.

Notable stops include Abraham Curry’s home; the residence of Orion Clemens, Mark Twain’s brother; and the abode of the Ferris family, inventors of the Ferris Wheel.

While many stops are closed to the public, others welcome visitors into their past with open arms.

Can’t-miss spots include the historic St. Charles-Muller Hotel (where you can refresh yourself at The Fox Brewpub), the Carson City Mint, several churches and The Bank Saloon.

If wandering the trail by foot doesn’t entice you, it’s also easily drivable.

Now history buffs, proud Nevadans and visitors to the Silver State’s capital can get up close and personal with the area’s prominent past, one steeped in legends and instrumental in the founding of the American West.

Find out more about this historical area at Visit Carson City.

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