Our state song has a northern Nevada bias, which is not difficult to understand when it’s considered that most activity in the state took place in the state’s northern region, and the composer/lyricist of the song was from the north.
This did not set well in later postwar years with Las Vegas, hearing the song performed with its obvious northern Nevada references. Somewhere along the line someone wrote a third verse, with an obvious southern Nevada bias. Which is a good thing.
I learned of the third verse about a decade ago, and sent the lyrics to a counterpart of mine, a drive-by columnist in Las Vegas. He ran a story of the song and published the lyrics in his column. And it was offered to Las Vegas radio stations – the plea was, “who wrote this?” No one ever came forward.
It’s well-written. As our state approaches its 151st birthday on Saturday, I publish here the third verse, again, in the hopes that the lyricist who added the verse to Bertha Raffetto’s state song, may come forward or be revealed. In the meantime, I hope all northern Nevadans will refresh their memory of the original verses. Here’s the entire song:
Way out in the land of the setting sun, where the wind blows wild and free,
There’s a lovely spot, just the only one, that means home sweet home to me.
If you follow the old Kit Carson trail, until desert meets the hills,
Oh you certainly, will agree with me, it’s the place of a thousand thrills.
Whenever the sun at the close of day, colors all the western sky,
Oh my heart returns to the desert grey and the mountains tow’ring high.
Where the moon beams play in shadowed glen with the spotted fawn and doe,
All the live long night until morning light, is the loveliest place I know.
AND HERE, IS THE MYSTERIOUS THIRD VERSE:
You may follow the modern freeway roads or the old Alejo trail.
at the Joshua tree where the sagebrush ends, to where men with a dream prevail;
From the mining sites to the neon lights turning desert night to day,
Where the Bighorn sheep graze the mountain steep, is the place where I long to stay.
Home means Nevada, home means the hills,
Home means the sage and the pine.
Out by the Truckee’s silvery rills, out where the sun always shines,
Here is the land which I love the best, fairer than all I can see.
Deep in the heart of the golden west, Home Means Nevada to me.
Words and Music of the first and second verses
and the chorus by Bertha Raffetto, 1932
The photo is of Nevada’s first governor James W. Nye, seen here boarding the V&T in front of the Great Basin Brewery in Sparks, Nevada, on October 30, 1864 following his speech to the assembled students, parents and teachers of Elizabeth Lenz Elementary School in Reno on the day that Nevada was admitted to the Union, (sort of…)
Home Means Nevada © State of Nevada (donated by Bertha Raffetto); WordPress column © K F Breckenridge/Jas. W. Nye